By the time you read this, the election will be over but the trouble in this nation won't be. You'll notice that up until now, I have evaded the subject of politics and elections... and for a lot of good reasons. First among them is that I don't believe my political views are any more valid than yours so it would seem to be a misuse of time and space if I did anything other than voting in private with those views of mine.
In the good old days I was a very political person because the world was a kinder place and I could be. As the person who wrote editorials I had to walk a very fine line. Newspapering taught me to be very careful and considered. The toughest news assignments I ever had were those which involved editorial opinions. Why? If you want your editorial to matter... it has to be backed up with facts, performance records and a significant amount of opinion gathered from folks who are both for and against candidates or measures.
Only after all these things are in place and considered, can any kind of opinion be reached. That's when you write it down and hope you got it right. That's how it was with me. I would like to believe that it is still the same. It would be a sad day for all of us if newspapers and other news mediums stopped making editorial comments on the issues that affect our lives.
In truth, I can understand how that could happen. During my lifetime I've been advised several times that my job would be in jeopardy if I took a certain stand, that my newspaper would be boycotted and killed and at least in one case, that my life would be threatened. I cared, but not enough to change the course I had chosen. Truth is... most of us are that way. We've held our beliefs for a long time because we grew up with them... or against them... but we've stood strong.
For this long year I have kept pretty restrained in comments on Facebook postings. I sort the mailings, and other published vitriol that come each day. I have controlled televised exposure to politics. I have stopped answering the phone.
As all of this has escalated, I can only feel sadness. Regardless of your opinions... many of you are my friends. I was taught to respect all opinions but I have to say that I don't understand the fierceness of the anger some of you feel. Where did it come from? Did you inherit your anger from your Grandpa or Gramma? Which side of the family did this come from? Back then... what were they angry about? We can go back to the Civil War to find roots of some anger... but not all of it. That excuse has lost its power.
In the most comfortable country on the planet how did we become so angry at the status quot? Most of us have clean drinking water, food, shelter and sanitary facilities. We have the opportunity for education, home ownership and health care. It may not be perfect but it's better than any other country I can think of.
People... we've got it good. If you don't think so, take a break in Uganda or spend a month in Afghanistan with one of our soldiers. During this month we honor our Veterans and begin celebrating the holiday season. We also honor the American way by voting. This simple act is the ultimate gift our country gives us.
If you've caught yourself getting up in the morning to spend the day cursing other people and their ideas you ought to think back to your Grandparents. Mine were gentle people who worked hard, raised their kids as best they could and taught them the same set of values they learned as children. They didn't believe in hate and were seldom angry. Foul words were rarely used but we all knew they weren't for kids. Break that rule and you were greeted with a lecture and the appropriate punishment. Soap... right in that potty-mouth. A nice Life Buoy or Fels Naphtha made a pretty good foam.
Yup, good old American clean smelling, foul tasting bar soap. It seems that right now it would be a pretty good solution to a lot of the anger and hatred being shouted out there in our world. Geezers, we are armed with a solution for the problems of our society. All we need to do is remember the old ways and bring them back... we might be the last hope with that bar of soap.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.