We are less than two months away from our next presidential election. The airwaves, newsprint and cyber stories are full of news of the candidates each day; full of their latest quotes and misquotes; full of their claims both true and false; and full of fact checks after every major speech. And I for one have had it up to here. (Can you see where my hand is? It’s right up there where my hairline used to be when I was 19.)
When making speeches or doing interviews, the candidates and all those who speak for them have no interest in simply addressing the facts. They all want to beat, berate and belittle the other side. They all want to slip in their suggested ‘talking points’ of the day. They all want to sidestep what they might have said a month or three years ago and put a new twist on an old subject that just might get them a foothold in Ohio, Virginia or Florida. They all want the big prize at any cost.
Well, here is what I want. I want a statesman instead of a politician. I want someone who will stick to his beliefs no matter what part of the country he happens to be in that day. I want someone who believes today what he said he believed yesterday unless he has had a revelation of wisdom and learning and then I want him to honestly face the camera and tell me he has changed his mind and then tell me why. I want someone who cares more about our country and your and my grandchildren than he does about his personal comfort for the next four years. I want someone who speaks from his heart. Am I asking too much?
Eleven years ago today, we all forgot our partisan politics for a week or so. We forgot how to make light of the other side; how to twist the facts and tenets of those we disagreed with; and how to slight and slander someone because they were of a different political persuasion. For a few (too few) days we were all simply Americans, brought together by a terrible and common enemy. We stood in shock together. We stood in candlelight church services together. We draped ourselves in one flag and in our sadness we found a strength we have not been able to recapture. Nor will we ever until something unimaginable besets us again.
Let’s pray that will never happen. And let’s pray our leaders will find it in themselves to speak and act out of passion and honesty and not out of selfish ambition.
9/11/12 – Don Reid
Friday night, June 29, at about 8:45 p.m., a strange and never-before thing happened to us here in the Shenandoah Valley. We were quickly and with total surprise visited by what we think was a derecho. (I’d never heard of one either but if you want the simple, country version of the word – it is one heck of a strong and destructive wind.)
Derecho took out trees and lawn furniture and just about everything that wasn’t nailed down but most importantly it cut a path through our electrical service that has yet to totally heal. Our house was without power for 68 hours. That is almost three days by anyone’s count, and the worst part was the 98- degree temperature that raged on night and day.
Now I grew up here in Virginia with no AC in the house so I figured we could handle it. Not necessarily the case. That was a few years ago and maybe I’m not as tough as I was as a kid. And then there is that thing of getting dark by 9 p.m. each night. Debbie sat in the den and read a book by flashlight one night while Lucy (our dog) and I sat in the yard looking for a breeze.
No radio. No TV. No computer. Only cellphones and no way to recharge them. The refrigerator and the freezers full of food were wasting away by the minute. (We finally lost every morsel of food and had to restock the fridge as if we were just starting housekeeping.) As we walked through the house, trying hard to be normal, we found ourselves constantly flicking on the light switches out of habit. I discovered even in the bright light of day that there is not enough light in a bathroom to shave with complete confidence that you’ve done an adequate job. I even got the brilliant idea at one point that my IPad was lying on my desk and that it would take the place of my computer. Not to be. No electricity – no wireless.
We have always felt protected here amidst and ‘tween the mountains but this time the wind got through and did its damage. So with the third night coming down on us fast and hot, we decided to give up and go to a hotel about two miles from the house. Even the dog was happy we’d made this decision. We stayed there until word came to us the power was back.
I share all this with you with not a hint of whining or complaining. Many of our friends are still without, so we feel blessed. And through all this, we still read of the horrible news in Colorado and the homes that were going up in flames. So we have nothing to mourn. All is well and today is the Fourth of July and we have so many things for which to be thankful
Hope your 4th is happy and peaceful. As for me and my house, we’re sitting inside with the air cranked as low as it will go – just counting our blessings.
7/4/12 - DSR