I had hoped to write this column for last Wednesday before Thanksgiving, but circumstances beyond my control took over my life. So please forgive me as I give thanks for many things – a week after this truly American holiday.
No one likes to hear criticism, which is defined as “the act of expressing disapproval and of noting the problems or faults of a person or thing” by Merriam-Webster dictionary. I get that. I don’t like being criticized.
However, I’ve never been one to shy away from constructive criticism, which dictionary.com defines as “criticism or advice that is useful and intended to help or improve something, often with an offer of possible solutions.”
Unfortunately, though, I’ve observed throughout the years that all too often people view constructive criticism as just criticism and refuse to acknowledge that ideas or suggestions for improvement have any merit.
I need someone to please explain to me how certain self-proclaimed Tea Party Republicans can face the American people and say they were correct in shutting down the government and taking our country to the brink of financial disaster.
I realize I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I knew that in the seventh grade when my IQ score fell just shy of being high enough to place me in the special kids classroom whose scores deemed them the “smart ones.”
But what I lacked in academic learning, I feel I’ve made up through a strong dose of common sense – at least more than many politicians I know.
So I’m confused – and I’m serious about this. It’s not a laughing matter. The party of Abraham Lincoln, who I feel would be embarrassed by the antics of the Tea Party faction, caused a painful shutdown, put almost one million people out of work, and took our country to the very brink of financial collapse.
Thanks to a recent rather snide Facebook post by a friend of mine who is as red a Republican as they come (which he has since removed so don’t bother looking), I was able to finally pinpoint what has made me so ill about the last five years of partisan fighting.
The actions of today’s politicians and many of their supporters on both sides of the aisle go against a principle my Daddy instilled in me and that has become a creed of mine as a journalist throughout the years.
Daddy told me, “You don’t have to respect or like the people who hold public office. Respect is not something you give to another simply because they were elected. They have to earn it. But at the same time, you must always respect the office that they hold. That does command your respect. It’s finding that thin line to walk in those situations that is difficult.”
Tuesday, Sept. 24, was National Voter Registration Day, a nationwide effort to make sure Americans are registered to cast ballots in the upcoming 2014 and beyond elections.
According to the events website: In 2008, six million Americans didnt vote because they missed a registration deadline or didnt know how to register. In 2013, we want to make sure no one is left out.
On its Partners page, several hundred organizations, businesses, secondary schools, colleges, universities, senior living facilities and voters rights organizations are sponsors. No one is listed as a lead organizer, which is probably how it should be.
The day is a single day of coordinated volunteer, technology and media efforts to create widespread awareness of voter registration opportunities.
Given the state of affairs in Washington, and that next year, Wilson County voters will be faced with the largest ballot since 2006, it is crucial that every effort be made to get people registered to vote.
A non-partisan effort, the purpose of this day is generate awareness of the importance of voting, while registering tens of thousands of voters in person, as well as online
But more importantly, and I quote the website: National Voter Registration Day will be an opportunity to put our differences aside and celebrate the rights that unite us as Americans.
What a message to send to Congress and the president, while our national leaders continue to tear each other apart by advancing their own political agendas instead of doing the peoples business.
The day and date for this national event were chosen deliberately by organizers to fall on a Tuesday, because thats day of the week most people associate with elections, and to be far enough in advance of any election so as to ensure the most number of individuals possible could be registered before any primary is held.
If I were in Congress, Id pay attention. Its time we remind our elected officials that as President Abraham Lincoln said in The Gettysburg Address, our country is a government of the people, by the people, for the people
Somewhere along the way, our national leaders have forgotten that the people are the ones who give them their jobs through our votes at the ballot box; that the people pay their salaries through our tax dollars; and that the people let them stay employed as public officials or not.
But all this is just rhetoric and empty words if they are not backed by actions in the voters booth. Unless you register to vote and then turn out and cast your ballot, nothing will ever change.
Some may cry, It doesnt matter if I vote or not. Theyre going to do what they want regardless. This may be true in the short run. But in the long run, the American people have showed many a politician the door through the casting of their votes.
While Tuesday may have been the official day to register voters, its not too late. Anyone at the Wilson County Election Commission will be happy to help you register. Contact them at (615) 444-0216; via email at email@example.com; visit their website at www.wilsonelections.com; or drop by the office at 203 East Main St., Lebanon, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Remember, registering to vote is the only way you have the power to decide who will and will not represent you in public office. Thanks to the millions of men and women who have fought and died throughout our countrys history, we, as citizens of the United States of America, are able to vote without coercion or fear.
Dont take it for granted. Register today.
By AMELIA MORRISON HIPPS
Some things never seem to change in local government, specifically the annual struggle to strike a balance between the county commission and the Wilson County school system when it comes to adequate funding levels.
The new director of schools, Dr. Tim Setterlund, has publicly stated he hopes to improve things in this area by building trust through open communications with the commission and the public. I applaud him for taking this position and for recognizing that trust between the two parties is critical going forward.
One of the reasons I wanted to become a journalist is because it affords me the opportunity to learn something new every day. This was driven home recently while doing research for my column in the September/October issue of Wilson Living Magazine, which by the way will be out this Friday, Aug. 30, so be sure and pick up a copy.
While compiling a list of offices up for election next year in Macon, Smith, Wilson and Trousdale counties, I learned something new and I have to admit somewhat troubling.
Did you know that any in-county election may become a partisan race subject to a primary election if called for by either the Democratic or Republican Party? This was definitely news to me, because I thought all countywide constitutional offices were non-partisan races. Not so.
According to the State Election Commission, 52 of Tennessees 95 counties held a May primary in 2010. Of those 52 counties, both Republicans and Democrats held primaries in 31 of the counties, while only Democrats called for them in 13 and only Republicans called for them in eight.
By AMELIA MORRISON HIPPS
Welcome to Down Home Politics premier column in The Wilson Post. You can find it here every other Wednesday, and I hope youll agree that the title is pretty much what it says it is politics from a down home, common sense perspective.
Im an average citizen, just like you in many ways, I would guess. I love my God, and Im not ashamed to say it. Im grateful everyday for the blessings He has sent my way and how He meets our needs, because lets face it, I fret about paying the bills far more than I would like, just like you do probably.
I have a husband whom I love and adore and who is my best friend. Together, we worry about his sons happiness and wellbeing, just as we fuss over our four, four-legged children, that we both love as much as we would if they were the two-legged kind. Ive lost my Daddy, so as an only child, its now my job to look after Mom.And last, but certainly not least, my life is filled with a loving, though far-flung family, and a closer-to-home circle of friends who are the sort of folks you can count on no matter what.
So, as you see, Im just an average woman with a bit of a twist. I just happen to have a passionfor politics, or perhaps more accurately, for the governance ofmy city, county, state and country. I realize not everyone shares my passion, and thats perfectly OK. I just dont want folks to wake up one day and realize they have slowly let our governmental bodies have a stake in virtually everything we do or say.
I started Down Home Politics which is a blog by the same name on the Internet (www.downhomepolitics.com), and a blog and column for Wilson Living Magazine because I believe apathy has no place in politics.
Having said that let me make something very clear. Personally, I despise party politics when it comes time to govern. Mind you I didnt say I despise politics, just the political party aspect of it, and heres why.
All too often, many elected officials allow their political parties ideology to divide, not unify, our leaders. As a result, these politicians put the money of lobbyists ahead of doing whats right for the people. They forget who put them into office and who provides the tax dollars that pay their salaries. And they claim their partys way is the only correct way, treating the concept of compromise as if it were a four-letter word uttered from the mouth of the devil himself.
George Washington, our countrys first president, warned of the dangers of partisan politics in his farewell speech. Washington wrote and spoke the following words:
Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally. the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection.
Sound all too familiar to todays political landscape?
These words are my north star for this column, which will not be a space where you will read a ranting for or against a particular party, but rather an explanation as to why you need to take heed of a political bodys actions.
Throughout my newspaper career, numerous people have said to me, I just dont care about politics, and that is their right. However, I take umbrage when these same people do nothing to change the political landscape they say they despise and then complain that politicians seem to have forgotten that they are accountable to the people who elected them.
Saying, I just dont care about politics, is the equivalent of saying, I dont care about the welfare of my children, my spouse, my parents, my siblings, my business, my job, my health, my friends, my house, etc. While that may sound harsh, it is true. By not caring about politics, we are basically relinquishing to the government our choice of how we can and cannot live their lives.
Like it or not, politics permeates virtually every aspect of our lives, and for that reason alone, we should all care.
So with each column, my goal will be to try and ignite a spark in those who are currently ambivalent; fan the embers of those who care, but think it doesnt matter anymore; and feed the fires of those actively trying to make a difference, so that maybe, just maybe, I can, in the words of Washington again:
Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.
Amelia Morrison Hipps is a freelance political writer, columnist and consultant. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By ANNE DONNELL
Will you explain why an infinitive shouldnt be split? Or should it? Why the fuss?
-Split A Few in My Day
C. Edward Good covers this in A Grammar Book for You and I OOPS, Me! He notes the split/non split is one of the biggest controversies in grammar. He says that experts on English language point out two split infinitives in Chaucer.
[ATA (according to Anne) (1340?-1400) Poet, author of The Canterbury Tales. Thats a collection of stories, written in Middle English, some in verse, others in prose, told by men and women making a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral to the shrine of Thomas Becket. The tales arise from a story-telling contest as the group travels from Southwark. The prize for this contest is a free meal at the Tabard Inn at Southwark on their return. Becket? The man whose murder is recounted in T.S. Eliots Murder in the Cathedral, a drama in verse. (Thomas Stearns Eliot, 1888-1965. American-born English poet, dramatist, and critic.) The story of the friendship and, finally, deadly falling out of Becket (1117-1170) and Henry II (1154-1189) has enthralled many. Henry appointed his then bosom buddy Becket as Archbishop of Canterbury, believing Becket would support fully royal encroachments on church power. Wrong. Becket grew into the job, transforming into a strict, hairshirt-wearing opponent of the king. When Henry cried out something to the effect of Will no one rid me of this man? loyal knights rode to Canterbury and killed Becket where he stood in the cathedral, refusing to hide. A rose is laid daily to mark the spot. Henrys penance: he walked to Canterbury Cathedral in sack cloth and ashes and allowed himself to be flogged by the monks there. The Cathedral became a roaring success as a pilgrimage site. When it became a roaring fire in 1174, the trinkets sold to pilgrims paid for much of the rebuilding costs. As for what happened to Henry, father of several including Richard the Lion Heart and Bad King John, both acquainted with Robin Hood, if he existed, go rent The Lion in Winter.]
BACK TO INFINITIVES. First, this split business concerns only infinitives with to. Yes, there are infinitives without to. EXAMPLES OF INFINITIVES WITHOUT TO. Let go! Her mom made her clean her room.
Splitting an infinitive means you have put adverbial modifiers between the to and the verb form of the infinitive. EXAMPLE OF SPLIT INFINITIVE. Its important to fully cook the meat.
UNSPLITTING? Its important to cook the meat fully.
You could put the modifier before the infinitive.
So does it matter? C. Edward Good says that it looks as if the tendency is to use split infinitives reluctantly. Good writers definitely use them, but infrequently. Sometimes the split infinitive is the better way, less awkward, clearer.
NOW SOME DIVERSION (mostly for me). Grammarly.com posted this: I. LIKE. THE. WAY. THE . LITTLE. VOICE. IN. YOUR. HEAD. TAKES. PAUSES. WHEN. YOU. READ. THIS.
So, being haughty and naughty, judgmental, and confrontational on paper and sometimes in real life at least at home except with the dog (anyone would be with the cat) Id like to add this one: WHY! DO! SOME! OF! YOU! PEOPLE! OVERUSE! THE! EXCLAMATION! MARK!!!!!?????
And heres a real killer: SOME OF US WANT THE DEATH PENALTY FOR ENGLISH WRITING PEOPLE WHO CANT USE AN APOSTROPHE CORRECTLY ; (wait, those people would use a comma, not a semicolon), ITS SOOOOO DISTURBING.
You know I should have misspelled most of that and tucked in an incorrect laying for the correct lying somewhere.
ONLINE DEPARTMENT Received from a Golfer Friend (Thanks, A.W.) One day I accidentally overturned my golf cart. Elizabeth, a very attractive golfer who lived in a condo on the golf course heard the noise and called out, Are you okay, what's your name?" "Its Bob, and Im okay, thanks," I replied. "Bob, forget your troubles. Come to my condo, rest a while, and I'll help you get the cart up later." "That's mighty nice of you," I answered, but I don't think my wife would like it." "Oh, come on," Elizabeth insisted. She was very pretty and persuasive. I was weak. "Well okay," I finally agreed, and added again, "but my wife won't like it." After a restorative brandy, and some creative putting lessons, I thanked my hostess. "I feel a lot better now, but I know my wife is going to be really upset." "Don't be silly! Elizabeth said with a smile, She won't know anything. By the way, where is she?" "Under the cart!" I said.
NEED A MNEUMONIC? If you want to remember Henry VIIIs 6 wives (Kate & Anne & Jane & Anne & Kate again and again) the initials of their surnames (well, two of them are ofs) are featured in this: All Boys Should Come Home, Please. (of Aragon, Boleyn, Seymour, of Cleves, Howard, Parr). (from i before e (except after c) by Judy Parkinson ) Did the 2 Henrys wear you out today? Well that Parkinson book didnt have anything on Henry Cavill. NOTE TO INFORM REALLY OLD AND OUT OF IT FOLKS: Hes the new movie Superman and his current sweetie (in real life) is Kaley Cuoco. Shes not Lois Lane; shes Penny in The Big Bang Theory. Knock, knock, Penny; knock, knock, Penny; knock, knock, Penny. Thats the one.
By GEORGE ROBERTSON, M.D.
We lost a mission superstar with the passing of Grace Farrar Friday, Jan. 11, 2013.
She has been a celebrity in the mission community for many years and spent much of her life in Nigeria supporting her husband's work at the Nigerian Christian Hospital. Besides caring for the family, which was a job-and-a-half itself, she spoke out for women's rights and championed the women's movement in the Church both at home and abroad.
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