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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Sharen Jergenson: "The Good Old Days"

  • The notion that other states don’t hold a candle to the moral beliefs of Arkansans only derives from the redundant pen of an unenlightened spirit willing to stone the crows.
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  • Each generation has used a figure of speech to convey rhetoric in a transformed text to suit their goals. Their world was the one surely “going to hell in a handbasket.” A cliche which could yet today stir contentious argument, and unlike debate, allow for no common ground. The polarity of today’s Yin and Yang express the dualist nature in each of us. For many, it induces a wistfulness to return to “the good old days.” American columnist, Franklin P.Adams stated, “Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.” Seems the “Grand Old Party” has failed to nourish their brain cells. Founded by anti-slavery activists in 1854, they dominated politics nationally for more than 70 years. Abraham Lincoln, their first President, must be restless in his grave due to the current dysfunction of his party. Many republicans are slowly drying up. They’ve failed to support or nurture the progress of true and traditional conservative values. Bad memories and ignoble fear have caused them to step over the threshold into metamorphosis. They cower to Tea Party challengers. A big piece of Boehner’s caucus consists of Tea Party ideologues. At their bidding, he found accepting sequestration to be in his best interest. Notions of how the economy works has turned many into economic simpletons who don’t give a flying rat’s tail about the well being of struggling Americans. After all, congressional salaries are exempt from sequestration. Tea Party Republicans are crowing over their first winning steps to eviscerate government as we know it. The GOP is converting to an Ayn Rand idealism. Drifting further to the extreme right, they’ll slowly fade into the sunset of political history unless struck by an “aha” moment. 
         Radiating high-spirited delight over our state now being controlled by Republicans, there is a show of odious glee by some Arkansans. Deviation from respect for our Governor by exercising unnecessary constitutional prerogatives places the lieutenant governor in a dark place. His bully pulpit conspicuously provides attention to his future ambitions while his only accomplishment is looking like a cocky schoolboy. States either lack understanding the validity of Supreme Court decisions or believe they are excempt from Roe v. Wade. The notion that other states don’t hold a candle to the moral beliefs of Arkansans only derives from the redundant pen of an unenlightened spirit willing to stone the crows. Under those words a finger points. It shows distortions occurring in their flow of time happily moving them backwards to get stuck in the poor memory muck of “the good old days.” Why not just sit out those days in a time capsule waiting on discovery of the future?  Unearthed years later by an archeological find, dirt brushed from the door of the capsule would expose the inscription: “Republicans from The Good Old Days.”  Scholars of the future would be baffled at the profound research question, “What is a Republican?” If that makes many scratch their heads today, how could a scholar of the future ever make a thesis statement?  They would be puzzled to learn of attacks on women’s rights. Bills outlawing most abortions and access to health care when politicians stepped in and interferred with a woman’s ability to make her own health care decisions. Scholars would ponder lack of social equality and ask, "shouldn’t zippers have been removed from men’s trousers or male  chastity belts enforced? After all, weren’t men 50% responsible for abortions?"  Questions would continue: "Why would four Republicans have voted against  “The Violence Against Women Act?”  "Why wasn’t sex education mandatory for children?"  "If 4000 abortions of unwanted  children were prevented, who then takes on the responsibility for those unwanted children?" Arkansas is anti-abortion but believes in lethal injections requiring a sterile needle?  Exceptions for the sixth commandment, huh? Sitting in church listening to a sermon about “thou shalt not kill,” with assault weapons in the pews seems an archaic contradiction. Could it be nostalgia for the Wild West? The future scholars and scientists would note a study placing Arkansas at the bottom of a list of happiest states in the U.S. They’d ask, "why?"   So many churches in the South, so many opportunities for redemption at every mile. While the Constitution guarantees Americans the right to pursue happiness, it can’t guarantee it will be found. The 2012 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index confirmed that life in highly religious states doesn’t add up to happiness. Can it be they just can’t decide whether they want sunshine or the smell of gun smoke from “the good old days?” . . . . .And that’s my opinion.
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    (Sharen Jergenson of Heber Springs writes her “And that’s my opinion column... “ for The Sun-Times monthly)

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