The warnings were strong. “Staring at the solar eclipse could damage your eyes.”
We heard it from our parents, our teachers, and the news.
It was February 1979 and the eclipse was such a BIG deal that I just used all-caps.
I was in Grade 5, addicted to Star Wars, KISS and Guy Lafleur and totally fascinated by this eclipse stuff.
Under innocence and curiosity, I had every intention of having a peek.
But as the moon blocked the sun that Monday morning, our teacher pulled the blinds down so no one could look at what was happening above, even though our location had little chance of really seeing anything.
I think she brought in a TV to watch news coverage of the eclipse, but the BIG deal turned out to be not much of anything. Fast-forward to August 2017. There’s an eclipse happening today that’s so HUGE the radio announcer just called it the “Biggest photo-op in world history.”
I’ve heard some buzz about it in the past few weeks, but nothing like 1979, nothing that would capture the imagination of a 10-year-old kid and help build a life-long interest in science and learning.
Seems all the attention is elsewhere today, that this year’s eclipse and many other important things have been eclipsed ... by Donald Trump.
I watched last week’s events in Charlottesville with disgust, and then, as the Donald responded, with bewilderment and worry.
Never in my life did I expect to see such regression in the United States, the most powerful nation in the world.
Instead of moving his country forward, Trump is pushing it backward.
His words are doing obvious and untold damage in the U.S. and beyond.
The diversion of attention away from other news and events is part of the collateral damage.
For example, last week, it was reported a Canadian aid program for African famine generated one of the smallest amounts of money since it was introduced in 1984.
One group suggested it was because Canadians were distracted by Trump.
I don’t doubt it for a second. I believe foreign aid and lots of things are being overshadowed by Trump’s actions and words.
But it’s hard, if not impossible, to avoid being distracted by such an unpredictable president.
So, it’s time for another warning, like the one heard before the 1979 eclipse: staring at the total eclipse of the Trump will hurt your eyes.
Steve Bartlett is an editor with Saltwire Network. He dove into the Deep End to escape reality, but he just couldn’t escape Trump. Reach him at email@example.com.