Published 3:13 pm Thursday, January 17, 2013

It was French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, who made the observation that:

“In politics, absurdity is not a handicap.” Of course, I doubt that Napoleon ever envisioned falling over a “fiscal cliff,” but he certainly had problems of his own. Many of his problems were of his own making but he certainly was receiving a lot of bad information, counsel, and guidance from his counselors and the politicians.

With all of the challenges we now face, it seems that it might be time for our politicians to take a reality check – stop all the bickering, posturing, and chest thumping – and get down to the business of doing what they were elected to do.

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With all of the horrible things going on in our country today we all need to try to think of things that work for the greater good. With the mass murders in our schools, movie theaters, and places of work, it is time to get serious about bringing our country back from the brink.

Today, millions of people are unemployed or underemployed; our National debt has, or will, reached unsustainable levels; our educational system has slipped to a point where we may not be able to compete in a global economy; terrorism, both domestic and international, looms large. Iran, the chief sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East, is working to become a nuclear power and Korea already has nuclear capability and is testing more missiles every day.

We have experienced a decline in respect for some of the institutions that we have always depended on – our educational system, our churches, the media, Wall Street, and our government. We see too much self-serving going on. And, I think, we have lost respect for ourselves which leads to some of the despicable things going on.

I still believe in the old saying that “America is great because America is good.” And, fundamentally, we are a good people. When I look at my own heritage, I see many different backgrounds – Scottish, Irish, German, English – and I think we all are the best of those parts that came to be known as an American. As Puritan leader, John Winthrop said, “For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us.” He was right. The world has watched to see how America was born, struggled for her independence, thrived and grew into this nation that we call home. And the world is watching to see how we will handle some of the challenges that we now face.

Pride of country is part of the American character. As one who has lived and traveled overseas for many years, I found that many people are confused by our “flag waving and pride.” And, I am not ashamed to say that I am a real flag waver; that I cry when I hear the Star Spangled Banner and watch the passing of the flag. I am proud to stand and place my hand over my heart when I say the Pledge of Allegiance.

Patriotism means “love for country” and comes from the Latin “pater” or father. In America patriotism was founded in a set of ideals – freedom of thought and speech, equality before the law; the right to worship God as we please; the dignity of each individual. These ideals are the glue that holds our society together, that makes us “one nation, under God, indivisible”.

It is my sincerest hope that our leaders – spiritual, political, government, education – will remind themselves of what it means to be a patriot – an American – and get back to doing the work “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

In 1904, Mary Stewart wrote “A Collect for Club Women”. Those of us who are members of any of the women's clubs are very familiar with it:

“Keep us, O God, from pettiness; let us be large in thought, in word, in deed. Let us be done with fault-finding and leave off self-seeking. May we put away all pretense and meet each other face to face, without self-pity and without prejudice. May we never be hasty in judgment and always generous. Let us take time for all things; make us to grow calm, serene, gentle. Teach us to put into action our better impulses, straightforward and unafraid. Grant that we may realize it is the little things that create differences, that in the big things of life we are at one. And may we strive to touch and to know the great common human heart of us all, and, O Lord God, let us forget not to be kind.”

Friends And Neighbors

I hope that everyone had a very Merry Christmas and best wishes to you all for a very happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.

Many in our community have been felled by the terrible flu that is going around. I hope that each of you, including Marie Fowler and Madeline Slaydon, is feeling better and back on the road to a full recovery. I also hope that everyone can avoid getting sick if possible.

On Tuesday, Jan. 2, the Woman's Club of Farmville, GFWC, had as a guest speaker, Harlan Horton, who gave a very interesting and informative program on “Estate Planning.”

On Jan. 8, the Cardinal Quilt Guild of Prince Edward met in the home of Marilyn Philbrook. The Quilt Guild meets at 10 a.m., the first Tuesday of the month at the Douglas Presbyterian Church. Guests and new members are always welcome. You do not have to be a master quilter to enjoy this group.

On Jan. 15, the Abilene Homemakers Club met at the Abilene Community Center. The Homemakers Club meets at 1 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month at the Community Center. Guests and new members are always welcome.

On Jan 15, the Farmville-Prince Edward Historical Society met at the Farmville Train Station. The program was “Show and Tell.” Folks brought in family treasures, rare finds, and miscellaneous odds and ends. This program is always a great opportunity to find out what some of these things are.

A REMINDER: Monday, Jan. 21, is a holiday commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King.

If you have any news or announcements that you would like to share, please call me at 223-2271 or email me at kz5ro@kinex.net.