A few general comments on some recent topics and emails:
First, the idea that we might have gotten involved in Somalia is not preposterous. We did it under two previous Presidents. For all that we can complain about the Bush/Cheney team getting us involved in Iraq and Afghanistan, the left-wing liberals have been screaming for just as long for us to 'do something' about the Horn of Africa. Many, many Hollywood celebrities have been begging for America to intervene in Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Somalia for a decade or more. They have a lot of sway with the Democratic Party. In addition, during the fictional Buckman/McCain era military losses were kept at a very low level. There is every reason to believe that an administration with very little military experience would believe it was a cake walk, history notwithstanding, especially if they believe that UN interference is what caused the problems before.
Second, Carl Buckman has spent the last two decades up to his ear in politics. If you thought that after he retired he was going to get out of politics, you are naïve! If you have managed to get through the first 175 chapters of the story, roughly 75 of which are political, don't be surprised when he gets into politics in the Epilogue!
Third, as I have mentioned before, I am neither a flaming radical left-wing Communist nor a founding member of the Tea Party. If I seem like I am bad-mouthing Hillary, how is that any different than in earlier chapters where I did the same to Bush 43? Personally I think Mercutio had it right - "A plague on both your houses!" If you don't like it, stop reading!
A final note on Baltimore County - several people have written me asking whether Carl lives in Hereford or Upperco. This is one of the curious items about Baltimore County. There are no incorporated municipalities inside Baltimore County, which means there are no formal borders to towns. Towns and cities don't have boundaries and tend to flow together. It is not at all impossible for two neighbors to think they live in different towns. So, how do you know where you live? Maybe by zip code, maybe by school district, maybe by the volunteer fire company that puts your fire out! In Carl's case, he and Marilyn moved to the area as adults, and his business, the local high school, and his polling place are in Hereford. His kids, on the other hand, started school at Fifth District Elementary, the Upperco feeder school to Hereford, and they think they live in Upperco!
It gets even stranger. Carl is old enough to remember when your telephone number was assigned based on the local exchange, which was given a name. Carl's childhood address in Lutherville was in the Dulaney Valley exchange, and all the phone numbers were 82x-xxxx, for VAlley. Ads at the time might say "Call Valley x-xxxx for…" My grandmother, who lived in Highlandtown, had a phone number that started with 44, for the HIghlandtown exchange. Many people figured out what town they were in based on their phone number.
Is everybody confused now?