Guest Editorial: The winter of our discontent

By Richard H. Nilsen 

In Shakespeare’s Richard III, Gloucester, makes the statement:

Now is the winter of our discontent

Made glorious summer by this son of York;

And all the clouds that low’r’d upon our house

In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.


The first two lines of the quote seem to outline the current Democratic versus Republican views of the current White House scene. For many Democrats, this “is the winter of our discontent.” For many Republicans, it is “made glorious summer by this son of (New) York”-Donald J. Trump.

The clouds of the Russian investigation, possible money laundering, possible obstruction of justice and even collusion with an avowed enemy of the U.S.-Russia-are all being “in the deep bosom of the ocean buried” with accusations against the F.B.I., Department of Justice and old recriminations against Hillary Clinton. 

Dismissing Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, F.B.I Director James Comey and attempting to dismiss Special Counsel Robert Mueller along with admitted guilty pleas from the likes of National Security Director Michael Flynn and Foreign Policy Advisor George Papadopoulos as well as the indictment of Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort (currently under house arrest) all seem to pile on to the case against Trump. But Republicans, who once seemed to want to nominate anyone but Trump, seem to have hitched their wagons to his star-power. (Remember Trump’s statement, “I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

Watching FOXNews on TV versus MSNBC (or actually any other TV station or newspaper) will seem to display completely different scenarios. It can cause whiplash of conflicting news stories. Trying to remain neutral, caring and empathetic to both sides of the political climate seems more than just difficult. 

With both right and left leaning citizens watching the news through their red or blue lenses, opposite stories appear to unfold. Siphoning out the middle ground of actual news and making a concerned and mature response seems to bring on battle fatigue.

Is there a middle ground everyone can agree on? How about infrastructure, the opioid crisis, reducing national debt and effective responses to weather related crises like fires, floods, hurricanes and mud slides? Or will we continue to be enthralled by the reality show host and the response? 

This is all history in the making. We are all part of it. It is either the winter of our discontent or the glorious summer by this son of York, depending on your point of view.

But remember one thing. Richard III ends as a tragedy. We all need to be vigilant and not let our ship of state sink amid the hubbub. 


Richard H. Nilsen is Municipal Historian for the Town of Caroga, author of five books and a photographer whose photos appear at times in the pages of The Leader-Herald.