Paul Rawlings says goodbye in his farewell column for The Sun-Times
Thank you Mr. Jackson and The Sun Times for publishing “Musings On Matters of Interest and Antagonists.” Thank you who said you enjoyed reading my columns. Special thanks to Kathryn, Tom, Patti and John for reading my drafts and making suggestions.
Hopefully the many hours spent on research and the time spent reading hundreds of pages of material were reflected in the columns.
While at Camp Chaffee during the Korean conflict it was my good fortune to meet and work with James G. Caster who became my lifetime friend. Jim was from Oklahoma, had just graduated from law school, dearly loved the Big Red football team and was active in the Young Democrats organization.
In 1955 Jim called me and invited me to attend the National Young Democrats Convention meeting in Oklahoma, City. Shortly after my arrival Jim introduced me to his friend Bill Chastain, an aide to Senator Robert Kerr. During our visit with Chastain Jim asked: “Bill how in the world did a poor boy like you get this plum political position with Senator Kerr?” Chastain replied: “ when growing up in rural Oklahoma I was very poor-- my only possession was one old hound dog. One winter there was barely enough food for me and nothing for my old hound dog. Even though I was not feeding my hound dog he remained fat. Watching the old hound I discovered he was going to my neighbors and being nice to them and they were giving him food. I reasoned I was as smart as a hound dog and started being nice to people.”
Most folks agree we live in a bitterly divided world—a world where people are not nice to each other. The media is filled with daily bombings and killings all around the globe.
In America we have read the parable of the Good Samaritan but few of us can say our lives are filled with compassion and mercy for those who have been robbed and beaten along the road of life.
We the people seem to choose leaders who are unable or unwilling to solve the many problems we face in our daily lives. Or is it our leaders spend so much time saying unkind, and untrue things about their opponent and raising money for the next campaign that there is no time remaining to solve problems?
Apparently we have forgotten the high cost which this nation paid for the bitter division that led to a civil war—620,000 American soldiers died and the many years of economic pain that followed the war.
Lee Atwater political consultant to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W Bush was known as the “happy hatchet man” and the “Darth Vader” of the Republican Party as a result of his unethical, dirty tricks successful campaigns. When Atwater realized he was dying from a brain cancer he issued a number of public statements and wrote letters to those he had wronged during his career. In one he said ‘my illness has taught me something about the nature of humanity, love brotherhood and in relationships that I never understood.” In a February 1991 article in Life Magazine Atwater wrote: “My illness helped me to see what was missing in society, is what was missing in me: a little heart, a lot of brotherhood. It took a deadly illness to put me eye to eye, with that truth.”
“If we trusted each other, we could work together to make something happen that was bigger than our individual capabilities.” David Novak CEO of YUM Brands
“I love Bill Clinton.” Barbara Bush wife of George H. W Bush the man Bill Clinton defeated for President of the United States in 1992.
If people of all faiths, all races and all nations are to live together in peace we must have:
The forgiveness of a Barbra Bush and be able to sincerely say to our political opponents –I love you.
The willingness of a David Novak to trust each other and work together.
A little heart and a lot of the brotherhood which Lee Atwater experienced on his deathbed.
In plain language we must be as smart as a hound dog and—BE NICE TO EACH OTHER.
May God bless you with a long and happy life.
(Paul Rawlings of Heber Springs contributed his “progressive” viewpoint each week to the The Sun-Times. He writes a blog at www.pauls-musings.blogspot.com)