Weatherford Democrat

Viewpoints

July 16, 2012

COLUMN: "Straying the course"

— “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” — Yogi Berra

Old Yogi was quite famous or, if you prefer, infamous for his left-handed quotes, but they all make perfect sense unless you stop to think about them. When he made the one above, it seems to me he had to be thinking about our American culture — not a pretty sight in recent years.

Several things recently started me thinking about what I perceive as a loss of focus within our nation. Too many of the things that I feel made us into the richest and most powerful nation in the world seem to be missing in today’s society. Julie Killion, the Democrat Publisher, made a powerful statement in last Sunday’s editorial when she reiterated the standards of civility that would be followed by contributors to the paper’s content. For the past few years, letters to the editor and guest columns have become more and more polarized and vitriolic in content. In actuality it may mirror our society much more than we’d like to admit.

Not long before he left the Democrat, former publisher Steve Boggs emailed me a “head’s up” about a letter to the editor that he had received. It contained a couple of cheap shots taken at me in regard to a column I had written. Thankfully, by being forewarned, I was able to let the salvo go unanswered. Although the right thing to do, it’s sometimes difficult to turn the proverbial cheek.

Almost without exception, the controversial newspaper articles that have become increasingly ugly have focused on political ideology — liberal vs. conservative.

Adjacent to Julie’s editorial last week was another interesting letter by Pastor Patrick Hurd. He commented about a number of Baby Boomers who have left the political party of their parents and are dismayed at their parent’s loyalty to the party that has philosophically left them. I’m a pre-Boomer, but I would share this dismay as well if my parents were still alive. My wife Helen told me that her grandfather was the Travis County Democratic chairman for many years. A dyed in the wool Yellow Dog Democrat, he lived long enough to see the party’s gradual transition toward what we now see. During his later years, rather than vote for a dreaded Republican, he’d vote a split ticket and abstain from voting for any Democrat he didn’t like.

I like Julie’s idea about taking our philosophical differences to the Iron Skillet and discussing them over a cup of coffee. Again, she is absolutely correct in that we would find that in actuality we conservatives or liberals aren’t as far apart as it might seem on the surface. Many, although not all, of our goals and values are identical with the main difference being in the methodology to attain them.

On both the national and local level, as long as we continue to stray radically to the left or right of course, unyielding in our resolve to never compromise, our stature will continue to diminish. There’s a word to describe governance without dissent or compromise — totalitarianism.

Larry M. Jones is a retired Navy Commander and aviator who raises cattle and hay in the Brock/Lazy Bend part of Parker County. Comments may be directed to nowhearthis@pwhome.com.

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