Jackson County Opinions...

NOVEMBER 27, 2002



Column
By Mark Beardsley
The Commerce News
November 27, 2002

Always Something For Which To
Be Thankful
What are you thankful for?
That's a question we're all likely to encounter this week, and anyone who is caught with nothing to say should be sent to Cuba for the holiday.
"For my family, my country, my health, the freedom we enjoy ..." goes the typical answer. In fact, we can all rattle off a zillion things for which we are grateful if we just try.
But are we really a grateful people, we Americans?
I believe I am. I give thanks to God every day for whatever blessings that happen to be on my mind at the time. Somehow, some way, I got into the habit of looking for little blessings that crop up in the day's routine, heretofore unnoticed.
Today, it might include the first cup of coffee, though I drink four cups every day. It might also include a brightly-colored tree with fall leaves that I hadn't noticed before and it certainly includes the strains of Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 8 playing on my computer as I write this.
Tomorrow, though I will drink coffee, pass that same tree and maybe even put on Dvorak, odds are that some other little delight will appeal to me. It could be a phone call from somebody thanking me for something I wrote – or the absence of a call pointing out a mistake. Tomorrow's little blessings will be revealed only tomorrow. But they will be there because I'll be looking for them, and you tend to find what you seek.
I don't sense that recognition of blessings in the general public. What I see is a frazzled population more quick to anger than it's ever been. The anger manifests itself in diverse ways, from road rage over traffic, extremely ugly political discourse and random acts of anger reported in this newspaper's police blotter or on the national news, to ugliness at sporting events and commentary on talk radio. Americans are venting their anger like never before.
It may be a need to take out the frustrations of life on someone else, or at least to blame someone else for the unhappiness of the day or moment. Certainly there is an abundance of things that can trip the fuse on hair-trigger tempers, from computer crashes (the bane of Windows and my personal anger producer) to traffic snarls. My theory is that the technology that makes life so easy when it works is a leading cause of our frustrations when it fails us. Whatever the root causes are, there’s a lot of hostility out there waiting for a chance to break forth.
A recognition of life’s big and small blessings will not eliminate anger, but one isn’t likely to give another motorist the finger after having contemplated the beauty of a pastoral scene or of a waving toddler in a previous vehicle. A recognition of the good things of life provides a healthy perspective when the ugly ones appear. Too many of us accept the good as “normal,” and don’t see it as a blessing until it is endangered or gone, but we very clearly recognize and get angered by the negative.
It isn’t necessary to search out the bad things; they have a way of making themselves known. But in these frustrating times, it is helpful to be on the lookout for life’s blessings, big or small. There is always much for which to be thankful.


Editorials
The Jackson Herald
November 27, 2002

Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863
Abraham Lincoln
“It is the duty of nations as well as of men to swear their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in holy scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord.
“We know that by his divine law, nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world. May we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?
“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown.
“But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.
“It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore, invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”
Signed: A. Lincoln
October 3, 1863

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Column
By Mike Buffington
The Jackson Herald
November 27, 2002

A little humor for the holidays:
• Did you catch the funny remark in last week’s newspaper story made by Jackson County commissioner Sammy Thomason? During a debate over a proposed animal control department for the county, Thomason insisted that the county buy a used truck rather than a new truck for its animal control vehicle.
Why is that funny? It came from the same lips which defend spending $3-$5 million to build new roads to make the remote Darnell Road accessible for a proposed new courthouse.
Seems being fiscally conservative applies only when the spending isn’t Thomason’s own pet issue being discussed.

• There’s a huge debate taking place in Harvard Law School over a proposed “speech code” which would regulate politically incorrect speech in those hallowed halls. Professors and students have become polarized over the idea of a speech code. Some have suggested that students take “sensitivity training” in addition to the school’s adopting a speech code.
But here’s my question: Since when did anyone, anywhere, find a way to control the speech of a lawyer?

• Email jokes are a dime a dozen and most get my “delete” key without even being opened. But a couple recent emails circulating bear passing on.

Georgia jokes:
How do you know when you’re staying in a Georgia hotel? When you call the front desk and say, “I’ve got a leak in my sink,” and the person at the front says, “Go ahead.”
A Georgia State trooper pulls over a pickup truck on I-85 and says to the driver, “Got any ID?” The driver replies, “About what?”
Why do folks in Georgia go to R-rated moves in groups of 18 or more? Because they heard 17 and under aren’t admitted.
What do a divorce in Georgia, a tornado in Kansas and a hurricane in Florida have in common? No matter what, somebody’s fixin’ to lose a trailer.

Hymns for every profession:
Dentists’ Hymn — “Crown Him With Many Crowns”
Weatherman’s Hymn — “There Shall Be Showers of Blessings”
Contractor’s Hymn — The Church’s One Foundation”
Golfer’s Hymn — “There’s a Green Hill Far Away”
Politician’s Hymn — “Standing on the Promises”
Realtor’s Hymn — “I’ve Got a Mansion, Just Over The Hilltop”
Gossip’s Hymn — “Pass It On”
Shopper’s Hymn — “Sweet By and By”
Jackson County Board of Commissioners — “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks I Stand”
Mike Buffington is editor of The Jackson Herald.


Editorial
The Commerce News
November 27, 2002

It Couldn’t Have Come
At A Better Time
The nation pauses this week to consider its blessings at a time when it is politically divided, the economy is struggling, the nation is getting on a war footing for a possible invasion of Iraq and the threat of terrorism hangs over everything. There could not be a better time for Americans to take stock of all the good things that, given the times, may be overlooked.
In spite of all the problems we see before us, there is not a better, safer place to live in the world. The economy lags, but America remains the richest nation in the world. War and more terrorist attacks seem certain, but no country offers a safer environment or more protection and insulation against attack than this one. We may be politically divided, yet the citizens of the USA are virtually unanimously in support of our form of government and in the basic principles that set America apart from other nations.
None of us can predict what the upcoming weeks and months will bring, so on Thanksgiving 2002 we should give thanks for the way things are now. Cherish the peace and prosperity of the moment; embrace the rights and freedoms that empower us; hold on to the relationships with family and friends with whom we celebrate, which are more important than anything. And pray that at Thanksgiving 2003 we will have those same things for which to be thankful.


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