In case you’re a fan of nationally syndicated Orlando Sentinel columnist Charley Reese and you didn’t know this, he is set to retire from the paper next month.
Reese, who is syndicated in 157 papers nationwide, will clean out his desk at the Sentinel July 27, according to the paper. Also, he is thinking about writing novels instead of political columns after his syndication contract expires next February.
Love him or hate him (I fall in the former category, by the way), Charley has, for years, provided some of the most direct, to-the-point, no-nonsense and, yes, decidedly conservative punditry since 1972.
That kind of style is admirable and appreciable, regardless of which side of the political tracks you inhabit. Would that many of our politicians be so direct and less spin-minded.
Here are just a few of the latest and greatest provocateurs from Charley:
“Most of the political problems in this country won’t be settled until more folks realize the South was right.”
“One of the things that gets lost when you adopt the politically correct oversimplification that the War Between the States was a Civil War all about slavery is a whole treasure load of American political history. … It was not a civil war. A civil war is when two or more factions contend for control of one government. At no time did the South intend or attempt to overthrow the government of the United States. The Southern states simply withdrew from what they correctly viewed as a voluntary union. They formed their own union and adopted their own constitution.”
“It is quite true that people who wish to claim it as an authority for their various political or social schemes abuse science. There are even some published quotes from individuals in the environmental area admitting that they lie and exaggerate in order to influence public opinion. This merely reflects the age-old elitist scorn of common people. They can’t be trusted with the truth, the elitists believe; they have to be manipulated for their own good. … What a load of horse apples.”
“Thomas Jefferson once said federal courts represented the greatest threat to American liberty, and, by golly, he was right. They have screwed up the country something awful. … Take police departments. Most police departments had height and weight requirements. The purpose was to hire men who could handle belligerent drunks without having to resort to lethal force. Then came the feminists. … A sensible approach would have been to say that any woman who met the height and weight requirements could be a policeman. No, that’s far too sensible. The courts ruled that height and weight requirements were ‘discrimination.’ Take ’em out.”
“Back in the 1960s, some blockhead federal judge came up with the one-man, one-vote scheme for states. It was unconstitutional, but, what the hey? Few people today pay any attention to the Constitution. …”
There is more – much more – but these few journalistic gems far and away make the point that Charley Reese, as one of the first and last plain-spoken editorialists, simply cannot – and won’t be – replaced. You may not have always liked what he said – he was admittedly blunt and reveled in his bluntness – but you damned sure knew how he felt and where he stood.
In a time when doublespeak, spin, verbal jousting and the linguistic artful dodge technique are all employed by journalists, pundits and politicians alike to avoid the simple and straight answer, Reese is one of the few writers who has the uncanny ability to slash through the “horse apples” and get at the real meat of the truth.
Charley, your writings have encouraged me and your ability to tell it like it is has inspired me. I, for one, will truly miss you. But I wish you well, nonetheless.
Thank you for articulating my own feelings about so many issues, so many times over the course of your career.