Bob Mitchell: God save the United States of America

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Independence Day will be upon us before the next column is published. Therefore, it would be a good idea to encourage referring to United States of America Independence Day, instead of the usual July 4th to which we have become accustomed.

Without going through what our forefathers accomplished and then suffered 241 years ago, we would do well to acknowledge the sacrifices some made to make this country a freedom loving and, mostly, law abiding civilization that it is today.

I don’t think it’s asking too much for Americans to fully realize what we have in this country, despite all that might be going on within our borders today.

Recent movie thought

One of my favorite movies of recent years, “Hunt for Red October,” — a Navy oriented flick — had a scene that was surely written by someone who loved the freedoms of this country.

As a couple of Russian officers were discussing defecting with their new boat coming to America. One of them was certain he wanted to live in Arizona (no reason given) and own a pickup truck. He wondered if he would be permitted to move from place to place to see the country and was told that, in contrast with Russia, he would be permitted to do so. How many of us have ever think of this liberty that we are granted in this country — one of the least significant choices we can make? There are places in the world this is not possible without permission from the government.

American readiness

Generations in the past have constantly been ready, willing and able to defend our way of life against any aggression or attack. However, there have been discussions in recent weeks, even locally, if this attitude would exist throughout the country or our community today if such an emergency existed.

There have been instances in this area where desires of a majority have been usurped by a stronger and more aggressive minority seeking to put their way in place. I’m of the opinion that these actions will result in a payback one of these days, either on this earth or elsewhere.

No dark democracy

Recently, when I was asked to make remarks following my induction in the Regional Media Hall of Fame by Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, a couple of thoughts about journalists still ring in my ears.

The first, was the fact that no real honest to goodness journalist would ever participate in fake news!

Secondly, there is no possibility that Democracy can exist in darkness!

Now, it’s not sure at this point if these two statements will ever be taken seriously again — either in government or the everyday life of Americans. It is my honest belief that the continued independence of this nation will lean heavily on a free press.

The irony of our present-day attitudes to let situations grow, simply to permit groups or individuals assume their will on groups or individuals, could hasten the day when Americans wishing to travel might need an authority’s permission to make the trip.

A long gone example

Few people will remember the days in Barry County when absentee votes were important in the selection of officials to carry on the business of the public. Both political parties were involved in beating the bushes and illegally marking the ballots of senior citizens — many who were not aware of what was happening for the most part.

There were actually instances where candidates would be successful at the regular polls, but go down to defeat when the absentees were thrown into the mix. There were also instances when a bipartisan group charged with counting these ballots would separate when dominated by veteran representatives of the majority party.

This instance was one that occurred more than once during the days before changes were initiated.

Bipartisan teams work

As an example that parties can work together, teams today conduct the out-of-office casting of those absentee ballots and apparently do a good job in their charged duties.

It is a wonder this cooperative acts to ensure security of the ballot hasn’t been extended on through other functions of government. Acting together in the best interest of the people doesn’t seem to exist today.

Independence Day

These are some thoughts for Independence Day that might go well, instead of thinking about other activities. Think of it this way: It’s less expensive than fireworks.

A possible prayer, might be these few words: God save the United States of America!

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat, and a 2017 inductee into Missouri Southern State University’s Regional Media Hall of Fame.

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