Looking On The  Bright Side

The comments of Terry O’Neill, former Lake Geneva Alderperson:

Jeremiah 23-36 reads: “every man’s words shall be his burden.” How true that was in the last presidential election when Trump’s comments about women and Hillary’s comments about Benghazi and emails came back to haunt them. All words spoken or written matter because every word makes the world a better place to live in, or a worse one. The truth is most important, but lies, cover ups and deception also matter, because of the damage that they do. They blind some people, destroy trust in others, and turn people against each other. Believing a lie misleads and distorts one’s views and alters one’s actions. Freedom of speech has a responsibility and that awesome responsibility is to bear the burden and consequences of our own words. Whether speaking the truth, saying a lie or remaining silent, there will be consequences. In politics or public life our personal or private life becomes a target and anything said or done may be exposed or used at any time and it has been used to control people, to silence them and to destroy their reputation.

Because of this and other reasons, in Lake Geneva very few people are willing to run for local office, which is also probably representative of our nation. Furthermore, about 2/3 of the people who do run are unopposed, and 80% of those who run for re-election are re-elected. This effectively limits our choices and diminishes the value of voting. It also adds to the growing number who don’t vote, or who say ‘what difference does it make anyway?’ In our representative public, people have the right (directly or indirectly) to elect their leaders. But as fewer and fewer good people run for an elected office, and we re-elect the same people over and over, the “Liberty Bell is silently ringing the Sound of Good-Bye.”

Although people use different terms for a class struggle, nationality or race; the wealthy versus the poor, the 1%ers versus the 99%ers,” or the “haves and the have not’s”, the real difference in our government is between those who benefit more from the government than they contribute to it, and those who contribute more to the government than they benefit from it. Today the majority of our elected officials represent those who benefit from the government rather than those who are supporting it. That controlling majority is a combination of a select group of wealthy and non-wealthy individuals who benefit from the government’s legislation and spending. Both political parties have their own select group of wealthy and non-wealthy who benefit from the government’s spending and legislation. That “benefiting me” thinking has infiltrated the minds of our voters, and is contrary to JFK’s famous saying “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.” Our nation has become a nation of “What can the government do for me, with a disregard or deaf ear to those on whom it has a negative impact.” When those in charge no longer hear those whom they are harming, empathy is ending and the Liberty Bell is being silenced, and it rings with the “Silence of Good-Bye”. Yet, there are signs of hope that we are not as divided as political parties and local issues may make us feel.

After the Cubs won the World Series there were cheering crowds in joyous celebration with every Cub fan around and they did not care whether the fan next to them was black, white, blue, rich, poor, young or old, because they were all Cub Fans, and for the moment, the differences did not matter. That is the spirit that is needed to unite this nation and the world: “We are one, we are all people,” and our differences are not important compared to our common humanity. Even in the joy of winning there is also empathy for the Cleveland Indian fans, because no fans understand the feelings of losing better than Cub fans.

May the same be said of Trump and Clinton fan’s.

Cartoon by Terry O’Neill

Cartoon by Terry O'Neill Lake Geneva

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