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A Thought From the Other Side

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I am pretty sure it is my military training as an analyst that makes me regard change with a great deal of skepticism. I do remember that I was carefree before that time, just going with the flow, as my generation used to say.

Well, the flow isn’t all that bad, until you tumble over the falls onto the rocks below. At that point, you might become a skeptic as well.

Political speeches aside, we Americans are much too eager to accept a radical solution to a problem that needs careful consideration. The opposite has also been true; too much talk and too little action.

In today’s world we only trust our own judgement, no matter how badly it has abused us in the past. A short-term solution seems more positive than a long-term one, of course. Americans are usually great at putting the cart before the horse. That’s an old time expression but it still holds true today.

“Make all firearms illegal!” “Tax the rich 90 percent!” “My feelings count, yours don’t!” and the dumbest one I’ve heard in a while, “Make free speech illegal!” The last one comes from the immature brain of an overly bright college student who wants to scream the epitaph in your face in public, not realizing that killing free speech would mean they have to shut up first!

All of those exclaimated bits may have some truth in them, but our rush to correct obvious injustices doom us all to a future with no freedoms. We become the ultimate result of our demands, and that future looks pretty bleak from where I sit.

In the newspaper business, freedom of speech and information are the most vital resources available to us. We try to separate fact from emotion, which is not always easy, and our attempts to remain impartial in any argument are often failures of the first order.

The other side is like a good debate between opposing thoughts and experiences. It starts early on when a person decides that either: all people are inherently good, or all people are inherently bad. The side you choose says a lot about you and your expectations of life in general.

Being good does not mean being naïve, no more than being bad means you should be in jail. Good and bad are just relative terms we like to throw around. Religion may have inadvertently set us on this track but it is human nature that wants to fully define the terms, according to our own personal wants and desires. Good is an extension of what I believe and bad is everything else, or so we would like to think.

This extends even into other situations. I cringe when I see or hear, “(Fill in the blank lives matter” or “Again with the filler Pride,” indicating that only one ethnic or career background is important and that only one group of people deserves Pride. What nonsense. All of our lives matter and everyone should have a certain amount of pride. But here’s where it get touchy.

How much of your life really matters and how much pride should you have? Simply being is not enough in either case. In both cases, a person must do something to make their life worthwhile to society, and then they are able to express pride in what they have done. It is a double-edged sword at best.

It was a pleasure to attend the Grand Opening of the Catherine A. Miller Elementary School in Churchrock on Jan. 5. As I wrote in the article on that event, the school has about 60 years of memories for me since I first went into my mother’s classroom in 1956. And memories never really die. I find it impossible to visit Churchrock without thinking of mom, and dad too, who did a lot of work in maintaining the classroom the way she wanted it to be for her students.

Games were cancelled statewide last week, leaving schools a little short of the maximum number of games they are allowed to play in a season. Replacement games may be found but probably with little notice, so keep your ears open for ones you might want to watch and perhaps I’ll see you in the bleachers!

By Tom Hartsock

Sun Correspondent