Archived Story

Tragedies remind us of priorities

Published 10:04am Friday, April 19, 2013

There are no Democrats or Republicans — when terrorists attack Americans.

I grew up on a family farm where we all worked together to grow our crops every day in the summer season from sunup to sunset. It was a good life.

The nearest town to us was Rogers, Ohio, with a population of 400, one gas station/grocery, one barber and three churches. It was Mayberry with fewer people.

In Rogers everyone knew everyone else and, mostly, everyone else’s business. As a teenager when I got a fill-up of gas, which was pumped by Bill Cowan the owner, Bill might well say to me that I was on my second tank that week and where did I think I needed to go with so much gas.

If I did something wrong, like getting a ticket for speeding, it was news in Rogers and people would tease me about my “lead foot” on the gas pedal.

And that worked to monitor my behavior because I knew I was responsible for everything I did or did not do, and others would make sure I took the blame when I needed to do just that.

I also knew that my family’s reputation was impacted by what I did. At that time families were known by their occupation, so while there were several folks with our last name in the community, we were the “Berry Farmers” and you introduced yourself that way.

Now if some member of your family had disgraced themselves in the past, even the remote past, it was remembered and added by folks to the family identification.

For example, the Smiths might be the tractor family who sold farm equipment but had that aunt that ran around on her husband and got divorced. That would hang on the family name for a very long time.

It might sound unfair, but the truth was it made us all, individually and together, responsible to each other and to the community.

Over my lifetime many communities have gotten too big to have that kind of social structure, but, on occasion, we do still have moments when Americans are responsible to themselves and to each other not out of necessity, but out of desire and conviction.

When 9/11 occurred we all remember that some many people ran towards the disaster rather than away from it. And many first responders not only risked their own lives, some paid with the loss of their life or with health complications from the particles in the air that day.

Likewise, in Boston this week the most amazing thing about the horrific events and the video of it was the immediate rushing into danger by so many people. Not just law enforcement, but regular people, injured people, people bleeding but ignoring their own injury to help someone else.

Americans still run towards each other when the smart thing would be to run away. It is part of the character of our people.

And while Republicans and Democrats have made the nation virtually ungovernable with their petty disputes in congress, there were no Republicans or Democrats on the street in Boston this week, just Americans rushing to help one another.

Sometimes the people remind us, the everyday people that it is in our nature to do the right thing with no other purpose than that.

No single act will or can move congress from its submission to special interests and its willful ignoring of the wishes of the people. But they should take the lesson of Boston and move to help, not hurt, the nation.

Enough is enough. Live up to the virtues of the people you serve.


Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.


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  • mikehaney

    “Like heterosexual persons, they may not marry members of the same sex.” In fact, Jones wrote, “A homosexual man may marry anyone a heterosexual man may marry, and a homosexual woman may marry anyone a heterosexual woman may marry.” In other words, this isn’t about discrimination or equal protection. “Homosexuals have not historically been denied the right to vote, the right to serve on juries, or the right to own property,” he pointed out. “The protection of the traditional institution of marriage, which is a conceivable basis for the distinction in this case, is a legitimate state interest,” he said, adding that if the state recognized same-sex couples’ marriages, heterosexuals might “cease to value the civil institution as highly as they previously had and hence enter into it less frequently… because they no longer wish to be associated with the civil institution as redefined.”– Judge Robert Jones

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  • mickakers

    deist; The determination or interpretation of marriage is not a state or homosexual issue. Who gives the state or the homosexual community the right to declare the meaning of marriage? This is beyond they’re competency and right. I find your arguments lacking in depth and understanding.

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  • mickakers

    I found this comment from the former Pope’s master of ceremonies, Archbishop Piero Marini, interesting. “It is necessary to recognize the union of persons of the same sex, because there are many couples that suffer because their civil rights aren’t recognized. What can’t be recognized is that this union is equivalent to marriage. The words of Archbishop Piero Marini echo the ones expressed two months ago by the President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, who, while reaffirming the “no” to anything that treats other unions as equivalent to marriage and to the adoption of children by homosexual couples, opened to the possibility of the recognition of certain rights. I find these two opinions, reasonable.

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  • mikehaney

    Gay Marriege Turns a Moral Wrong into a Civil Right

    Homosexual activists argue that same-sex “marriage” is a civil rights issue similar to the struggle for racial equality in the 1960s.

    This is false.

    First of all, sexual behavior and race are essentially different realities. A man and a woman wanting to marry may be different in their characteristics: one may be black, the other white; one rich, the other poor; or one tall, the other short. None of these differences are insurmountable obstacles to marriage. The two individuals are still man and woman, and thus the requirements of nature are respected.

    Same-sex “marriage” opposes nature. Two individuals of the same sex, regardless of their race, wealth, stature, erudition or fame, will never be able to marry because of an insurmountable biological impossibility.

    Secondly, inherited and unchangeable racial traits cannot be compared with non-genetic and changeable behavior. There is simply no analogy between the interracial marriage of a man and a woman and the “marriage” between two individuals of the same sex.

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  • deist

    Marriage is a State issue until discrimination occurs. And the racist laws against interracial marriage and Gay marriage absolutely should be compared. It is not insulting . Gay marriage will be an issue in States until the SCOTUS hears a case , like Loving v. Virginia, that will make Gay Marriage legal in our country based on the 14th amendment, as was done in Loving. Equal Protection means just that, equal protection.

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  • mikehaney

    Keta–Comparing Racism and gay marriage in the same breath is insulting to all.
    “A free people ought to be armed.” —George Washington

    “To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” —George Mason

    “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.” —Richard Henry Lee

    “Arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The balance of power is the scale of peace.” —Thomas Paine

    “Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence…the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.” —George Washington

    “Those who hammer their guns into plowshares will plow for those who do not.” —Thomas Jefferson

    “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in almost every country in Europe.” —Noah Webster

    “What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms.” —Thomas Jefferson

    “Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined… The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun.” —Patrick Henry

    “The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” — Thomas Jefferson

    “The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.” — Joseph Story

    And now a quote from a more recent American politician:

    “The right of the citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against the tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible.” —Hubert H. Humphrey (D), Vice President under Lyndon Johnson

    And finally, a quote from the other side of the debate:

    “This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!” —Adolph Hitler

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  • mickakers

    As an interesting side note, Interracial Marriage was never banned by the Constitution or Federal Law. Individual State Laws were the crux of the problem.

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  • keta

    I couldn’t agree more that most of our representatives aren’t worthy of their offices. They don’t even pretend to represent us anymore. 90% of us want new gun control legislation? Too bad. We expect very little of our leaders, and they oblige us. During the gay marriage debate, did anyone think to remind Justice Clarence Thomas that his own marriage to his very white wife would have been illegal 40 years ago? Nah. What’s the point?

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  • mikehaney

    Well said Jim Crawford.

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  • mickakers

    Jim Crawford; I enjoyed the bit of auto-biography. Thanks for sharing. Rogers, Ohio (I never heard of it) sounds like Ironton of fifty years ago only a lot smaller. Ironton’s population at that time was in the neighborhood of sixteen thousand, but the values and small town mentality were the same. There seems to be something lacking today. Our society is infected with the disease of Relativism.

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