A time for introspection
That’s My Opinion
By Bob Robinson
Dec. 17, 2010
In Wednesday’s Advocate, I wrote about some of my fondest memories of Christmas seasons of the past. I made the point that I hoped today’s kids will have the same opportunities to look back on their seasons with fondness a half century from now.
I believe they will, although those memories will undoubtedly be a world apart from mine.
On Tuesday I posted a suggested Christmas gift list of ten books: “Townhall... 10 life changing books for Christmas.” In that list was a book I’d read while in college, Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged.”
There were a number of things that changed my life. That book was one of them. I was surprised, and delighted, it’s still being read… and recommended to new readers.
I was a screwed up kid, caught in the middle of a revolution that I didn’t understand.
On one side was family, the Texas Aggie Brotherhood, responsibility, duty to country and trying to maintain (often unsuccessfully) the values upon which I had been raised. On the other side was “Make Love not War,” mushroom clouds, the emergence of the drug culture, a disrespect for the establishment and trying to make sense of the world we’d inherited.
I love folk music, even took a brief sojourn into it with a number of ultimately failed folk groups. The folk era was decidedly on “the other side” of the establishment, but often gave me pause to think and wonder.
“Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose…” Janis Joplin, “Me and Bobby McGee.”
“Eve of Destruction,” angry words from Barry McGuire.
“Gone with the Wind” from Peter, Paul & Mary.
“He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” from Neil Diamond.
Any of those artists ring a bell?
The phrase that comes back most often – probably because I play the song a lot – is “Kathy I’m lost… I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why,” from “America” by Simon & Garfunkel.
I never went the drug route, but I admit to a youthful overindulgence in its legal counterpart, alcohol. Except I was underage most of that time. I’ve since grown up… well at least I’ve gotten older. I like a few beers when I get home, but haven’t touched the hard stuff in over 40 years.
Both sides of the social spectrum had a tremendous impact on who I am and what I believe.
I have compassion for those who, through no fault of their own, have to struggle through life with little hope of improving it. I have nothing but disdain for those who look to others to “fix” their problems or needs.
Often that translates to compassion for children and disdain for their parents.
I judge our leaders by two standards: What they accomplish while in office, and their respect for the status of that office.
My most admired president of all time is Lincoln. He saved our Union and freed the slaves. A close second is Reagan, who turned our economy around and gave our nation hope in a time of need. Both, I believe, were honorable men who respected the position they held.
I will always respect the “Office.” That doesn’t mean I will respect the person sitting in it. I believe three presidents in my lifetime desecrated it: Kennedy, Nixon and Clinton. Positives could be said about their administrations but I don’t believe that gave them the freedom to make a moral or legal mockery of the nation’s highest office.
The biggest difference between the two sides of the aisle is that the left thinks government has all the answers and that the “rich” have a responsibility to provide the wherewithal for Big Brother to make life better for the poor.
The right believes the Constitution provides for the opportunity to make our lives the best they can be… the rest is up to us.
Society used to take its responsibility seriously for those less fortunate, now society expects Big Brother to do it. And for some reason, we refuse to learn the lesson that Big Brother can’t do it.
We’ve created a class of dependency unheard of in our history. Government has failed in its intrusion into the education of our young… our children are less educated than they were 100 years ago, or 50 years ago for that matter. Our institutions – marriage, values and faith in our God – are dying.
We now perceive that it is government’s responsibility to take care of us, not ours to keep it in check.
The Christmas holiday season is a time for retrospection… memories of things past. Good or bad. But it is also a time for introspection… the examination of who and what we are.
Enjoy the season to its fullest, but pause a moment to think about where our nation is, where it is headed and, especially, your role in that process.
Then look to God and, through Him, seek your answers. They won’t come from Big Brother.
That’s my opinion. What’s yours?
Bob Robinson is the retired editor of The Daily Advocate, Greenville, Ohio. If you wish to receive a daily notification of his comments, opinions and reports, send your email address to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to express your views.