Nebraskans will make a historic decision Nov. 8 when asked to weigh in on the issue of capital punishment, and based on a number of convincing factors it seems time that life in prison is now a better option than maintaining a death sentence that ultimately can’t be used. Nebraska lawmakers voted to abolish the death penalty in May of 2015, later overriding Gov. Pete Ricketts’ veto. Death penalty supporters had no trouble getting enough signatures to put this question up to a statewide vote, and in the end that seems appropriate. This vote represents a significant life and death issue, and should be decided by all Nebraskans.
It seems us elders look back and want to relate to the good ol’ days. That was the case this past week. Nike announced a self-tightening sneaker will arrive in time for the holidays. While the theory of a self-tightening shoe may be exciting for the youth, the announcement caused questions in my mind just what skills today’s youth may have. For those of us who have sons, or grandsons, we recall the days of yore when we taught the young’uns to tie a neck-tie hoping they would retain our teachings of knot tying by the next homecoming, formal or other occasions as they moved through the early stages of becoming an adult. I must admit our boys learned quickly of a left-handed tied knot despite the fact I was left-handed and only one of the three sons was left-handed.
It isn’t too hard to believe our country is in a mess when we judge shootings, court decisions and other negatives happenings. And yes, our upcoming national elections don’t add much to build our positive outlook for the future. However, I still believe we live in a country ranked as one of the best in the world with great opportunities for its citizens. The freedoms we enjoy outweigh any other place on earth. We sometimes get frustrated with the freedom of expression when a person’s viewpoint differs from our own. Still, we are free to express our viewpoints. We have the opportunity to get an education. We have free choice when it comes to worship. Our living standards exceed those in other countries and most “stumbling blocks” we face have resolutions. We live in a democracy.
It’s still not over. The fact that Republican nominee Donald Trump is still standing after Friday’s unveiling of a nasty 2005 video confirms that this presidential election is going down to the wire. With less than 30 days to go until Election Day, this race could go either way. Who would have thought that two days after the shocking debut of a well-timed video, which Trump dismissed as “locker room talk.” Any other candidate, in any other election, would have been unelectable toast. But this is the new era of presidential politics, with civility long forgotten, fireworks overshadowing facts, and both candidates sporting potentially fatal flaws in their campaigns. In any other election, this race would be over, but not in 2016.
Where do you look for local information that impacts your life? The answer to that question will likely have something to do with your age, though I think that line is blurring more and more these days. Are you a social media guru, using all the apps and feeds and digital tools on the market to bring you a personalized menu of news and information? Are you more of a traditionalist who likes to scan the newspaper with a cup of coffee in your most comfortable chair? Or, perhaps, are you a little bit of both? Regardless, what you’ll find in many parts of the country and certainly here in Hamilton County is that for local news there is no better source than the hometown newspaper.
I’ve come to the conclusion that even at my age I am still growing. I am not making reference to a waistline that has grown over the years, but to my legs. My legs must be getting longer although I have not noticed a significant change in my height. What I have noticed now is that I have found it difficult to reach my feet when trying to put on my socks. In my earlier years I was able to stand on one foot, bend over and put on my socks. Now I need to sit down before being able to reach my toes with socks. This problem just has to be caused by my present longer leg length and not old age. Speaking of socks, I have another problem. I am accustom to the old school of thinking where plain colored socks should be worn with suits and dress pants. Today it appears the “stylish male” makes his fashion statement by displaying brightly colored striped socks to compliment his dress clothes. In my day of being fashion conscious I thought argyle socks were pretty radical.
It’s a welcome, mesmerizing sight driving down highways and county roads these days, watching the annual harvest ritual begin. It’s time to bring in the bounty, and by all accounts there is a lot of bounty to bring in this year. As the combines start rolling, we are reminded as well that this is one of the most dangerous seasons of the year in farm country. It’s stressful, though satisfying, for producers to reap the rewards of another crop year, a visually enthralling process to watch from beginning to end. It’s also potentially very dangerous for producers as well as all who share the roadways. All that combines to mean we need to be on high alert for the next several weeks. I found myself breaking Harvest Safety Rule No. 1 this week, gazing out into the field where a combine was slowly cutting a swath of No. 2 yellow corn. The first time I see that each fall it still gets me, even as a city kid.
As parents we all can recall when the first-born expanded our family and most of us had the vision of a perfect family. A few years later, we added another and in a few more years another son came along. We wouldn’t trade those family growing years for anything. Today, as retirees and even with sons who are now middle age, we are thankful for our blessings. But, we can’t help and look back to how naive we were as we struggled to meet the goal of a perfect family. Our “perfect family vision” had no blemishes and everything was supposed to be a smooth operation just like in the storybooks. I was relieved the other day when reading where a family counselor said, “There are no perfect families.” He continued, “We families are all just spinning in orbit; making mistakes; and trying to clean up after ourselves.” Now we can look and laugh at some past crisis we felt was significant and today realize it was just a live and learn experience.
I don’t know about you, but I am anxiously waiting for the conclusion of the national campaign for U.S. president to be over. Only seven weeks to go and that means I only have a short time to campaign for my candidate. And just who is my presidential hopeful? Well, he comes from Cormorant, Minn. He has been re-elected for his second term as mayor of that community and I feel he is more qualified than our two national candidates. He has caused no controversies prior to his re-election. He has not spoken a harsh word about his opponent, although he may at times have thrown a little innocent dirt and dug himself into a hole a few times. If you have not guessed who I am backing in this year’s election it is a dog who has already served Cormorant for one term in the mayor’s office and now begins his second term.
When Colin Kaepernick took a knee last month during the pre-game playing of the national anthem, the NFL star held up a mirror to America. What we saw as individuals, and still see a month later in a growing wave of protest, depends entirely on your perspective. Some people sensed unbelievable disrespect from a man whom they say shouldn’t turn such a symbolic tradition into a political statement. That was my initial reaction, to be honest, but I’ve never been a big Kaepernick fan, or for that matter one who thinks pro athletes and movie stars always use their fame in appropriate ways. Others saw it as a bold show of conviction, reflecting growing unrest on the issues of racial oppression and police brutality. There have been a number of racially divisive and police-related incidents in recent months across our nation, fueling a fire that burns brightly for some, especially in the inner cities. Fortunately, that’s not a reality here in Hamilton County.