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The Tentacle


November 6, 2007

“I’m mad as Hell….”

Farrell Keough

Of late, I have gotten responses to my columns that fall into two camps; some have told me they were a nice, condensed view of facts surrounding issues and others have said I need to lighten up and write to a lower level of education. While I appreciate receiving input, (good or bad) it is this latter perspective I would like to tackle.

Keep in mind, I am not upset with any response, per se. What is bothersome is the acceptance of the perspective that our nation needs to be spoon fed information at some lower level of education.

It is commonly accepted that the American public requires information to be presented at an eighth grade level. Our media has consistently told us this falsehood and we have accepted it as truth. A truth that does not apply to ourselves as individuals, but one that must be true nonetheless as we have heard it stated so often.

I do not accept this premise. The American public is an intelligent group of people willing to study and find the truth. We yearn to know the facts and make our own decisions. We are not a foolish people easily led around by the rantings of what is presented to us.

Take the newspaper industry for example. Readership is waning. This is not proven to be a result of a public not interested in reading or gaining knowledge, yet it is often portrayed in this fashion.

When one considers the increase in Internet news and searches for information, it is easy to see that the American public has rejected newspapers as a means to gain information. They have not gotten lazy and are not reading; just the opposite. We have determined that we do not trust the old sources of news and prefer to learn on our own.

This is not a dumbing down of the public; just the opposite. We have moved away from simply accepting what is given to us as truth into the realm of finding out information for ourselves. This is a good movement and one we need to recognize and promote.

We should never accept mediocrity as a standard. It is our moral obligation to constantly improve and better ourselves. A friend of mine, a fellow writer here at TheTentacle gave me the insight as to our moral obligation.

Being a legal immigrant, this man escaped a Communist regime as a young man. He knows the value of our English language as he has made it his primary language. He knows the value of writing and speaking well, as he has spent his life and career pursuing this goal. He knows the value of moral obligation as he has seen in his homeland the loss of morals under a repressive government structure.

When I was first presented with this thought, “it is our moral obligation to write and understand English well,” I was a bit taken aback. It sounded like a nice platitude, but as I had been getting to know this man, I knew he did not speak in empty statements. To that end, I determined to think about this perspective and determine what it meant.

It is really very simple. We are the recipients of more freedoms, more wealth, and more capacity for improvement than any group in history. To that end, if we waste these gifts, we are wasting what those who came before us worked to achieve.

We do not get a choice as to where we are born. None of us asked for our parents. God is in charge of that decision. But, we do get choices as to how we use this life we are given. And to that end, when one is given much, much is expected. We are given residency in a nation that has the best ever offered, and we are expected to use that gift. Anything less is immoral.

When we waste our lives simply watching TV or satiating our own desires and we do not strive for more learning, we thumb our noses at those who have given their lives for us to enjoy this nation and what is has to offer.

When we recognize all the possibilities given to us to learn and expand our minds and influence, we give credence and honor to those who have bestowed upon us the gifts of living in America. We must continuously aspire to learn, write well, and articulate our positions on the issues that affect us every day.

Not all of us are made the same, but all of us have the capability to become more than we are today. Some will aspire to volunteer, run for office, send letters, etc... Others will simply be able to articulate to their friends and families what various issues truly mean. We can never stop learning and bettering ourselves. It is our moral obligation.

So, next time you hear that the public can only accept information at an eighth grade level, stand up and declare how false that canard truly is.

We as a public must continuously learn and articulate our perspectives. We have seen the influences we can achieve; if you will remember the recent Illegal Immigrant Amnesty Bill that did not pass Congress. We have seen in action that we can learn and comprehend what is supposed to be beyond our reach.

We will leave this nation to our children and if we do not continuously stay on top of the direction our society is moving, we will leave our progeny with a contemptible society.

We cannot quit learning and bettering ourselves once we are out of school. We must stay vigilant to learn and communicate well. We must work at understanding what we truly believe and why we believe it. As my friend has seen, the alternative is totalitarianism. This is not an option we can tolerate. We must learn and stay vigilant to keep the Rights which we enjoy in this nation.

So, while I do realize that readership may increase with easier to understand articles, glib humor, and simple statements, it is not the direction I will pursue. All of us need a bit of fun in our lives, but to be constantly spoon fed will create a dependency I’m not interested in engendering.

* * * * * * * * * *

A final bit of catch up. Sheriff “Chuck” Jenkins has received a setback in working with ICE. This agency is dragging its feet with respect to the program Sheriff Jenkins has marshaled under federal authority. I encourage all of to contact our representatives, write letters to the editor, and even contact Sheriff Jenkins to encourage the progression of this program.

fkeough@hotmail.com



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