I Once Was Lost but Now am Found

This visit with you today is a sort of follow up message to my last two columns on Firehouse.com. In one I spoke of the problems I encountered when my faith in an individual was misplaced. In the other I spoke of the problems caused by the interaction...

Many fine programs came into being and many formerly persecuted people were brought under the protection of our government. As a child of the 1950's I became accustomed to a certain amount of certainty in life. Like many of my age, I have fond memories of the seeming security of the Eisenhower Years. Perhaps that is in itself another invention our own personal experiences. Who can say for sure?

Having lived through the calamities of the 1960's, I have sure seen my share of life's changes. There year is 2011 and I am now at an age and station where I ask more serious, probing questions of the world around me. I know that I no longer have any desire to suffer fools gladly. Maybe I once did, but this new attitude of mine is something that the living of life taught me. I now challenge the norm rather than passively submit to it. I guess that is why I have gotten into so much trouble over the years. I could not let certain things go on without asking a simple question. Why?

It seems as though the scales have now been tilted in the opposite direction. Self interest seems to have trumped the public good. Self-seeking people have pried the levers of government from the hands of the public spirited folks I remember from my youth. Sadly it seems as though the selfish, and not the meek, have inherited our earth.

People at all levels of government have lost sight of a really simple concept which has made our nation the world's beacon for freedom and success. What is that concept you might well ask? It is the concept of the common good, or perhaps the greatest good for the greatest number. Think about it.

When was the last time you saw a person rise to the top of the political totem pole on a platform of conciliation and compromise? Heck, in the last round of elections for the House of Representatives and the Senate, how many people lost their seats because them were accused of being weak and compromising with the other side (the enemy so to speak). This is no way to run a railroad.

The time has come to make a stand. We need to look to history for support. I suggest that a study of the life of Henry Clay be brought forward to help us understand the need for cooperation and conciliation in the operation of the machinery of government. He served in a number of influential positions within the federal government including service as Speaker of the House on three separate occasions. He served in both the House and Senate, as well as being the Ninth Secretary of State.

He was a primary member of a group of political figures who repeatedly displayed the ability to reach compromise on the serious issues of his day. He achieved a great deal, but this is not to say that he was without detractors. No one who stands up for controversial positions is ever universally lauded by all of the people. However, in 1957 he was selected as one of the five greatest Senators in the history of the United States to that point.

Imagine how saddened would be this "Great Compromiser" with the current state of affairs in our national government. He was a man willing to stand up for his principles. However, he was also a man possessed of sufficient wisdom to know that sometimes things had to be accomplished which served the common good of the nation.

My friends, I am suggesting that this spirit of compromise must be created within the halls of government and adopted by those who have been selected by us to served and lead us. It is up to us to ride herd on the people we elect. Whether is your town council, your county commissioners, your state government, or our friends in Washington, you need to make yourself known.

Each of us has an opinion on how our government is being run. Each of us has our complaints, our gripes and our suggestions for possible solutions. We need to understand that before we can offer advice to others we must take control of our own lives. How can we help others if we cannot help ourselves?

The key here is to recognize that you can only control the actions of one person on the face of this earth: yourself. I could cry about how I am being treated, but unless I take steps to alter the manner in which I am being treated I have no leg to stand on. This is what is happening in my life right now. I have been battered about the head and shoulders by people I have trusted. The time to act is now.