2016-11-09 / Columns


The United States is close to popping
Ledger Publisher

Have you ever said or done anything you’d rather not be made public?

Most of you probably have.

I know I have.

Many times.

During the past few months of this election cycle, specifically the presidential campaign, we have seen how words spoken and deeds done — even if years ago — can be used to discredit the utterer or the doer.

Is it any wonder, then, that so few qualified people choose to seek public office? Who in their right mind would expose themselves and their families to such contempt and derision?

As I write this, I have no idea who won any of the elections, but what I do know is that I am glad it’s over (I hope!).

It seems as time goes by, our country is becoming more and more divided and more and more hostile toward one another.

I attribute much of that to social media in general and Facebook in particular. I like to use that tool to communicate with friends and family about things that we have in common. Pictures, messages and notices about things — happy, sad and mundane. Pictures of my family and me at a Carolina ballgame, my grandchildren dressed for trick-or-treating, flowers in my yard or friends and loved ones who have passed away.

Or goofy stuff like a video of a cat sleeping with a dog and someone scared by a snake.

What I don’t like about Facebook are posts that intrude on my page telling me what a jerk Donald Trump is or how nasty Hillary is.

That’s why I had to block posts from some of my ‘friends and family’ from showing up on my timeline.

Like most everyone I talk to, I am sick and tired of it all.

That’s why I don’t accept every ‘friend request’ I receive.

The words and actions of some of my friends have created much angst for me. I am 99 percent certain many of you have strained relationships because of what has been said or done during the past year.

Same goes for my attitude about entertainers or others in the public eye.

Singers and movie stars I used to really like have ruined their music and films for me because of things they have said and done. Stick to singing and acting, please.

Same for the national news media. I cannot bear to watch the network news and I used to look forward to it. Can’t they remain unbiased?

Even folks like Rick Steves, the travel guru. When I first began traveling, his books and videos were my ‘go to’ sources. Then I began to notice subtle comments meant to sway opinions on things like global warming. More recently, his words have turned from subtle to ‘in your face.’

I was watching some kids on the YMCA playground yesterday, having fun, laughing and shouting joyfully. They appeared to be a very diverse group with one common goal: have fun!

Last Saturday afternoon, I attended the USC Missouri football game. Again a diverse group. All but a couple of hundred of the thousands in attendance had a common goal: cheer for a Carolina win.

When a tragedy strikes in the U.S., our nation’s people — as diverse as you will find anywhere — come together for a common goal: help those affected.

I believe most of us aligned with one side or the other in yesterday’s election also have a common goal: ensuring the safety and prosperity of our country.

The issues arise when trying to determine how to do that. For one reason or another, the search for the ways and means to ensure the safety and prosperity of our country tends to create more animosity than cooperation.

This friction between factions has been there all along, but slowly growing over the years like a balloon being filled with air.

Given enough air, the balloon will eventually burst. However, if the air supply is eliminated, the balloon will slowly deflate and can be useful again and again.

The United States is close to popping. I hope and pray whoever is elected our next president can let some of the air out and make us useful again.

I don’t hold much hope for that outcome, but prayer can overcome a multitude of obstacles.

“Prayer may just be the most powerful tool mankind has. — Ted Dekker —————————

Cody Sossamon (cody@gaffneyledger.com) is publisher of The Gaffney Ledger.

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