Our Upside-Down Nation & the Wisdom of Andy Rooney

Do you remember Andy Rooney? Between 1978 and 2011 he was a mainstay of CBS’s 60 Minutes.  His homespun commentary at the end of every 60 Minutes broadcast was always filled with irony and prickly wit.

Here are just a few examples:

  • “I had one typewriter for 50 years, but I have bought seven computers in six years. I suppose that’s why Bill Gates is rich, and Underwood is out of business.”
  • “People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe”
  • “Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.”
  • “I’ve learned that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.”

I had the privilege to meet Andy Rooney a few years before his death in 2011. I was the Dean of the College of Media at the University of Illinois and we were giving Mike Wallace of CBS a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as a journalist. Rooney and I were seated at the same table during the award ceremony in New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Andy Rooney

After talking with Rooney that evening, I was convinced the college committee that selected recipients for the Lifetime Achievement Award should give him one too.

Rooney had a stellar career as a reporter before he became a 60 Minutes commentator. He was a correspondent during World War II and was the first journalist to reach the Ludendorff Bridge after the 9th Armored Division captured it on March 9, 1945. Capturing that bridge is considered one of most important triumphs against Nazi Germany.

“It was a reporter’s dream,” he told me. “One of the great stories of the war had fallen into my lap.”

Rooney was awarded a Bronze Star and the Air Medal for his service as a war correspondent in combat zones during the war. He was one of the first American journalists to visit Nazi concentration camps in 1945 and one of the first to write about them.

Having said all of that about Andy Rooney, I couldn’t help thinking about him when I received a note from a friend that was filled with the kind of pithy examples of irony and hypocrisy that Andy would have loved to comment on if he were still with us. I suspect he would have relished the opportunity to tackle the political and social hypocrisy we see in America today.


Here is the note, entitled “Things to Think About” I received. I suspect I have “buried the lead” here by waiting so long to get to it, but the pithy and spot-on comments reminded me of Rooney’s insightful wit. Please read on:

Things to Think About

Recently I have come to realize that America is in transition away from the traditions, principles, and mores that distinguished our country from the rest of the planet’s nations and civilizations. Something evil has invaded our country and our lives are never going to be the same. Sometimes I think that I have entered the Twilight Zone.

We are ruled by a profane alliance of public figures, politicians, news and social media that has redefined logic and distorted facts and truth. I can only conclude that their goal is to destroy our once great nation by making us once again energy dependent, increasing our unsustainable debt, destroying small businesses with onerous regulations, emasculating our military, and kowtowing to enemies such as China, Iran, Russia, and North Korea.

 Don’t believe me? Then, how do you reconcile the following examples of doublethink:

  •  Somehow it’s un-American for the census to count how many Americans are in America.
  •  Russians influencing our elections are bad, but illegals voting in our elections are good.
  •  If a guy pretends to be a woman, you are required to pretend with him—or suffer the wrath of the self-anointed despots of cancel culture.

  •  It was okay for Joe Biden to “blackmail” the President of Ukraine by withholding billions of dollars in aid, but it’s an impeachable offense if Donald Trump enquires about it.
  •  Twenty is too young to drink a beer, but eighteen is old enough to vote and join the military.
  •  It is fine for teachers in our elementary, middle and high schools to teach fallacious subjects such as Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project which demean our nation and an entire race of people, but forget about teaching children such basics as math, history, English, and literature because those bedrock disciplines represent “white privilege.”
  •  People who have never owned slaves should pay reparations to people who have never been slaves.
  •  People who have never been to college should pay the debts of college students who took out huge loans for their degrees.
  • Illegal immigrants with tuberculosis, polio, and the China virus are welcome, but you’d better make sure your dog is vaccinated.
  •  Irish doctors, German engineers, and other highly skilled people who want to immigrate to the US must go through a rigorous vetting process, but illiterate gang-bangers who jump the southern fence and enter illegally are welcome.
  •  $5 billion for border security is too expensive, but $1.5 trillion for “free” health care is not.
  •  If you cheat to get into college you go to prison, but if you cheat to get into the country you go to college for free.
  •  People who say there is no such thing as male or female genders are demanding a female President.
  •  We see socialist countries collapsing everywhere, but for some insane reason leftists say socialism is exactly what the United States needs.

  •  Some people are held responsible for things that happened before they were born, while other people are not held responsible for what they are doing right now.
  • Traditional values, morals, and civility are not important in America, but looting, rioting, rape, and other forms of mayhem are okay if done in the name of “peaceful protest,” Black Lives Matter, and ANTIFA.
  • People are dying of a virus that originated in China, but it’s racist to refer to it as the China Virus.
  •  We are living in an upside-down world, but pointing out all this hypocrisy and insanity somehow makes people who do expose it “racists?”

Titanic America, the once unsinkable ship, has collided with an iceberg known as the Socialist Democrats, is taking on water, and is sinking fast.

 Should all of us abandon ship? Or can we still save our nation by reigning in the power of the single-minded socialists who occupy Congress and the White House?

 Wake up and speak up or get the lifeboats ready!

About Ronald E. Yates

Ronald E. Yates is an award-winning author of historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and highly-acclaimed Finding Billy Battles trilogy. Read More About Ron Here