I majored in journalism when I got my B.A. at Valparaiso University. I learned a great deal about writing and reporting in my journalism classes, but also in many other classes; I learned that if I might not get a job as a chemist, for instance, I could at least learn to write sensibly about chemistry.
Two of my favorite classes were political science classes taught by Dr. Richard Balkema. He taught me well about national politics and, in a second class, state and local politics, and it has all come in handy in my life as a citizen as well as my life as an editor and writer.
But it’s days like yesterday and today that make me wish I were back in his class now. Serious events — by the standards of those calmer times — would lead Dr. Balkema to talk about his favorite movie, ‘The Candidate” (starring Robert Redford, made in 1972). The candidate, Bill McKay (Redford), is a creature of his advisors as he runs for the Senate and, unexpectedly, wins. In the last scene, McKay pulls his advisor away from the media throng and into a quiet room. He has only one question — and Dr. Balkema called it “the most important question in politics:”
“What do we do now?”
I’ve heard Robert Redford’s voice saying that every time I’ve spent more than two minutes on news stories over the past day.
It is truly the most important question in politics, the most important question for the country.
Filed under: Expressions