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home : insight & opinion : guest columns
May 19, 2019

8/13/2018 2:01:00 PM
Reminder: There's more to life than politics
For the Daily News

Summer is winding down and I'm going to miss it. Actually, I miss it already, which is sort of destructive of the full enjoyment of something.

When I practiced law I had that same problem with convincing engaged couples of the practical need for a prenuptial agreement in the event of a divorce. Even though more marriages end in divorce than not, they wanted to pretend it wouldn't be them. I was sympathetic and wished them luck, even though the odds were against them.

The thing I miss the most about early August past is that there was once a time when politics did not dominate the news during late summer. After Labor Day usually the campaigns heated up, but what with 24-hour news and the Internet it's nearly constant now that someone feels the need to say something positive or negative about someone in office or out of office or who has mentioned that they might like to be.

Get a grip, folks, there is more to life than political affiliation. (There had better be or some of my zealous friends are going to be severely disappointed if their favorite party isn't the one in charge when they get to the Pearly Gates).

Of course, real Christians recognize God loves us all and is very forgiving, and any number of humorous renditions of that idea have found their way into good-natured telling. The same may be true of other faiths; I couldn't say, despite what we may hear from the hate mail that seems to be bombarding us from every side. Regardless, we can't seem to help but focus on the negative even when the tide is in with good news.

The economy is doing well right now, so I see no need for anyone to get the blame for when it did otherwise, or for that matter to take credit for the current state of affairs. As a nation we are hard-working and productive. The division of the fruits of our labors is a policy issue as I see it, and even though Amazon is a billion-dollar enterprise and paid no income tax last year doesn't mean I have to hate them.

It doesn't seem exactly fair that I still have to pay if they don't, but someone has to do it, and I don't begrudge the helped the help they need or resent their station in life as much as I care that the lowest of them may not foster a better world and happier country to live in.

Human nature is more the problem here than nature itself, which continues to do a wonderful job of dazzling me with beauty and inspiration wherever I go. People will work this out; they are just a bit slow at grasping the problem and a bit quick on blaming one another when it won't help. You and I know that if people are involved with anything there will be mistakes made.

My friend Nolan Wilson and I were once employed here at the pottery. We were told to come in at 3 a.m. one day to unload a boxcar of powdery silica for making slip, the liquid clay they filled the molds with. We had scoop shovels and a wheel barrow and no masks or ventilation other than being outside a moment or two between the railroad car and the hopper inside where we emptied each load.

It was nasty work, and I didn't understand for a long time why we had to do it at such an early hour. I finally figured out that it was not because the railroad car had just arrived, or because there was a sudden need for more of the material, but more likely it was so that no authorities would see two kids being made to breathe such crap for $5 an hour.

I see that as a mistake now, actually several, and took steps soon after to work elsewhere and do what I could to see to it that others didn't have to tolerate such conditions no matter where they worked. Its not a matter of "over-regulation," as some would label it, rather one of human decency. People don't need for their work to kill them so they can provide for their loved ones.

We survived it, and all of the other things we've had to do to raise our families that were required of us. We all do that. It's not necessary for me to hate people or worry that they might hate me for what they think or what I do, but it is part of the deal that I do my part when required and I try to do that in as many ways as possible.

Women are speaking up now about being harassed, and our culture will change in recognition of their feelings about it. Flattery that was once well-intended and meant to be complementary is now suspect, which is a shame, but protecting victims requires it to be re-examined, so we will adjust.

Heading north last week up the Porterville blacktop I was struck by the wonder of the sunrise and thanks to the blessings of technology and cell phones I was able to capture an image of it. They happen every day so far as I've noticed, and I am ever grateful to see another so beautiful, even if it does remind me that I will someday see my last.

That takes me back to where this began; should I stay in bed late and keep my blinds pulled and complain? Or should I carry on as best I can and do as much good as possible every day? You don't need to answer that, it was a rhetorical question. If you were reminded of the answer by something I said, then you can remind yourself what a good thing it is to read the Daily News and I don't need to mention that for a small fee you can have it delivered to your door to be enjoyed every day - just like the sunrise, only you don't have to get up so early.

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