Opinion Columns & Blogs

These things I believe

wmarshall@macon.com

Let me confess, up front, that I stole the idea for this column from my friend, Billy Chism, editor/publisher of the White County News. In fact, I am using Billy’s column name. But, I have not read a word of Billy’s column. I will read his after I finish mine.

These things I believe:

Our Founding Fathers were geniuses: They gave us the Constitution of the United States. This document establishes the form of our national government and defines the rights and liberties of the American people.

George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and the 35 others were signers. William Few and Abraham Baldwin from Georgia signed the Constitution.

We, Americans, have drifted away from some of the Constitution’s principles. We can lose our democracy and country if we don’t adhere to the Constitution, the supreme law of our land.

Churches hold our country together: The church, by whatever name called, mosque, temple, house of worship, etc., and what is taught and practiced there is what holds our society together.

If we lose our religious rituals, we lose our codes of conduct, and then we lose our country. Perhaps even our world. Our churches need our support, because we need our churches.

Friends and family: The most important thing is family. The American family has eroded rapidly in the past 50 years. Divorce is rampant. Many, many families, immediate and more extended, are scattered across the face of the earth. The mores of society, as taught to me at the University of Georgia in 1960, don’t work with scattered families like they did with the mostly close families at an earlier time.

Next to family are friends. Friends accept us like we are. Friends listen to our problems. Friends don’t judge. Friends tell us their innermost secrets, including their aspirations, goals, worries and fears. Friends keep our secrets. Friends are there when you most need them. Live a long life and you will conclude that friends and family are the most important.

Lots of good in the worst. Lots of bad in the best: No one is perfect. No one is without hope. Maybe they just need a good friend, or the church, or God. The best make mistakes. The best lose control of their tempers. Sometimes the best become the worst. Sometimes the worst become the best. Don’t give up on anyone. Don’t put anyone on a pedestal.

We’ve lived in the best of times: Most of us are cool in summer, warm in winter, seldom hungry, do not do without things we need, including medicine, vehicles, food, some discretionary money to spend, entertainment, time off, a good job, a fine family, friends, a good bed, clean water to drink, a hot shower, a chocolate milk shake when we want one, and several televisions with lots of channels. Alexander the Great, Henry Ford, King David and George Washington didn’t have it as good as we do.

Dogs are smarter than i thought they were: As I’ve gotten older, and they’ve gotten older, I’ve watched them more closely.

Hershey is 12, maybe 14 years old. Like her master, she’s hard of hearing. Unlike her master, she’s feeble. Some would say, “you should put her down.” I don’t think so. She guards (lays nearby and watches) as Janice works in the yard. She still likes to go to the back side of the place, so we help her into and out of the four wheeler, and sometimes I pick her up, put her in the back of the four wheeler, and pick her up and put her on the ground when we get back.

Chloe, our “put-out dog” still likes to fish, but seldom catches fish like she used to. But when the feeder goes off, she’s there trying to catch a fish. She’s a little crippled in one leg as a result of an accident, but she still runs in front of the four wheeler when we go to the back side of our place, which is about a mile. Then she walks back. She refuses to ride with us.

These two dogs watch us closely and love us very much. We love them very much. They are polite, to us and to each other. They eat out of the same bowl and at the same time.

Our two dogs could teach our two presidential candidates a few things about politeness and manners, and the importance of family and friends. Indeed, our dogs are like family and are our friends. We’ll miss them when they’re gone, or, if we go first, I know they’ll miss us.

These are a few of the things I believe. Now I’ll read Billy Chism’s column.

Larry Walker is a practicing attorney in Perry. He served 32 years in the Georgia General Assembly and presently serves on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. Email: lwalker@whgmlaw.com.

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