Historical Solar Eclipse is Astronomers' Dream, While Another Eclipse is America's Nightmare

Historical Solar Eclipse is Astronomers' Dream, While Another Eclipse is America's Nightmare
image: CBS News

It's called, the "Great American Total Solar Eclipse" and it will occur on August 21, 2017. It will be the first total solar eclipse visible in the U.S. in 99 years and sky chasers will be watching it move across a path from Oregon to South Carolina.

For enthusiasts willing to travel, the best viewing spot in the country will be in the Illinois college town of Carbondale, some 350 miles south of Chicago. Bring a tent, because hotel rooms are already sold out.

According to scientists, the totality (obscuration) of the eclipse in Carbondale will last a breath taking two minutes and 38 seconds. To sky geeks, that will seem like a Star Wars marathon.

It's been said that the time when only the outer flares of the sun (corona) are visible around the the shadow of the moon is emotional on a level that must be experienced.

If you miss this one, another will be along in 2024. The totality of that one will last four minutes and 28 seconds, if you're in the Mexican town of Nazas, about 100 miles north of Durango City.

For more information about this year's eclipse, click HERE.

There's another eclipse moving across America, one that could block out light for generations to come. Its effects have already been felt in just about every walk of life, in our body politic and in the deep tissue of our culture.

The heart and soul of what we call America are embodied in the first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights. It is not by accident that the very first of those amendments guarantees the press freedom to do its job:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

We call the press the Fourth Estate, a term that goes back to the late 1700's and seems to have been coined by a Brit named Edmund Burke.

Burke referred to the British press as the Fourth Estate, elevating them in importance to the three estates of what was then the British Parliament; Lords Spiritual, Lords Temporal and Commons.

Burke saw the press as essential to democracy by providing independent oversight.

Burke wrote those words in 1787, two years before the writing of the 1st Amendment. It is apparent that those who cherished freedom recognized the importance of a free and independent press and its ability to act as a quasi-governmental watchdog.

The purpose of enshrining freedom of the press in the 1st Amendment was to protect our freedoms from being usurped and obliterated by ambitious and tyrannical leaders.

Allowing crazy people like Alex Jones to spew outrageous, fictitious conspiracy theories is a byproduct of that freedom.

Calling the press the enemy of the state is an attack on the Constitution and every living American.

To be fair, Donald J. Trump is not the first to attack the press, he's not that clever. He is, however the first president to declare that the sole task of American journalism is to to make up stories to discredit him.

He thinks that because his reality show made money for NBC, that network should only say nice things about him.  Like Sean Hannity.

The men and women who work in broadcast and print media are professionals who go to great lengths and risks to bring stories, otherwise hidden in darkness to light.

Donnie Jr. only released his emails about meeting with a Russian spy after being told that the New York Times was going to release them.

The greater, more insidious attack from this president is upon truth, itself. Other than to coerce or intimidate, words have no meaning to Donald J. Trump. Truth and lies are just two sides of the same coin and a toss in the air seems to determine which will be the most expedient to him at the moment.

While we are bound to disagree in our beliefs and even our values, without a common belief in the truth, we have fractured our bond of commonality.

Since the Dark Ages, mankind has moved continually forward and upward, shedding ever more light on ourselves and the world around us. Donald J. Trump's relentless assault on demonstrable truth casts a shadow over all of us, sowing doubt, division and deception.

Fifteen U.S. Marines and one sailor were killed in a training exercise in Mississippi this week. More than a million Americans have died serving their country during wartime. They lost their lives in defense of American values; freedom, truth and justice.

No Trump has ever served this country, yet they attack on our values and they aid and abet our enemies in pursuit of personal riches. This is not a political issue, it is an American issue.

Patriotism is defined as "devotion to one's country."  We know what the Trumps are devoted to and that can't possibly make America anything but weak, isolated and divided.

The question is whether or not America can avoid being cast into a darkness from which there is no return.

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