Archive for December, 2013

162 “The Plot Thickens”

Friday, December 27th, 2013


By Hetty Gray

# 162

“The Plot Thickens…”

September 24, 2013

Once upon a time, movies inspired us to be better people.  Movies extolled the — yes, I say it — “exceptionalism” of America.  Film exported the ideals that represent the inherent goodness of this country.  Oh, for the days when the movie moguls had come as immigrants, learned English, founded businesses, worked long hours, and made it an aim to tell America’s story in ways that anyone could understand.

Granted, many of the films rooted in American literature, but still others came from short stories.  Most poignant were those centered on the personal life stories of truly great Americans, whether in government “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (1939) or sports “Pride of the Yankees” (1942).

Journalism surfaced in “Citizen Kane” (1941) a movie based on the life of William Randolph Hearst.  In 1962, Hollywood brought us “How The West Was Won” that vividly portrayed the epic struggles of men and women who pressed westward — true survivors.

You can find these films today and watch them with the younger set — that is, if you can pry them away from their handheld devices.  Ah, yes, some are in black and white, but like the works of Ansel Adams, it doesn’t take color to make a strong statement.

Just watching the trailers for upcoming movies makes you long for the days when strong male heroes influenced generations of young men to strive to be strong fathers, good workers, and patriotic citizens.  Church and faith often anchored a plot, and scenes within churches in those early movies were as common as street scenes in films today.

Gratuitous violence rules, much to the chagrin of the older set and the detriment of our children.  I watched a Ph.D. in psychology the other night — a black doctor by the way — who said that all that violence, be it in video games or movies, does rub off on kids.  Some act out harmlessly, but others absorb the action to a degree that erupts in crime.  As those tickets fly through the dispensers at theaters across the nation, one remembers the old saying, “You get what you pay for.”

There is little we older folks can do about this, but we do see the dangers in such empty entertainment.  As each movie fails to be “violent enough”, the sequels or new releases try to out do the earlier versions.

Desensitization is the process.  Crime and moral decay are the results.  Think about it.

173 “Wrapping”

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

By Hetty Gray

# 173

December 24, 2013


Scenes replicate nationwide and all around the world. Families large and small, old and young, poor and well off delight the trimmings of Christmas.
Paper, ribbons, bells and glitter adorn gifts. Some decorate their own homes with lights. Others enjoy the lights of others in their towns and cities. It is, truly, a joyous time.

Gifts are fine, but it’s the thought that counts, though. We need to remember that we are more fortunate than many. To those who struggle year round, Christmas may be a sad time. We pray for them and donate, as we are able, to ease their circumstances. Christmas is sharing after all.

Aside from the customary gift-wrapping, we need to know that it is not healthy for us to be too wrapped up in our daily lives. That is easier said than done, however. Just taking time to rest our minds and bodies is rare enough. The chore of setting the world aside to reflect is much harder.

Would that we could wrap ourselves in the love of the Lord. His is the Love that never ends… that always forgives… that inspires and consoles….

His ultimate gift of love came into the world many years ago this night and we must never forget that the gift of Christ Jesus is the most important one of all.

To each of you, a Merry Christmas! May the Lord bless you all!

172 – “Sir-Ender”

Friday, December 13th, 2013

By Hetty Gray

# 172

December 11, 2013


I am weary of seeing advertisements featuring women and children and no man. Oh, I know there is more and more of that. Some single mothers actually choose to be and adopt children sans husband. Divorced women aside, there has to be some way to extol the traditional family.

It’s as if there is a concerted effort of advertising firms to degrade a man’s position in a family. This is not to say that I do not respect women who excel at their jobs and dismiss their efforts in a cavalier fashion. Far from it….

I just want to know why there is a pervasive campaign to extol single parent homes. Not only do some ads put forth a slanted view of family, but ads that feature men are often demeaning and embarrassing. There is a difference between humor and good taste, but evidently PR firms have no handle on that aspect of their work.

There seems to be no respect for marriage. Living together is a choice, but when small children are involved, the persons involved should consider what kind of an example they set. The bar is lower than it has ever been. Oh, I know that many will cite the fact that they are “fine with it,” but the element of commitment cannot be ignored.

What value do you place on someone if you are not willing to legalize your relationship? Of course, many will disagree with me. I accepted that part of op-ed writing decades ago. However, my premise dates back centuries and transcends civilizations. Marriage is both a spiritual and legal pact. I think many have forgotten that, and the two are linked to the Old Testament that anchors both Jewish and Christian tradition.

We cannot systematically remove one part of the family structure without doing incalculable damage. Do not allow our culture to surrender to a “Sir-Ender” attitude.

This column may be brief and to the point, but it poses a single question. Is there no better way to destroy a civilization than to remove its most critical underpinning, the strong triangle of a mother, father and children?

Think about it.

171 “Wishes”

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

December 2, 2013


Sometime, somewhere in your life you have wished for something. Today, more than ever, basic wishes encompass more than a gift list. Precarious is an adjective that falls short of reality for the world today.

The Middle East continues to smolder. “Negotiators” gave away the store last week with the approval of lifting sanctions and allowing uranium enrichment. For the life of me I cannot understand why, when sanctions were clearly having a big impact, our government agreed to lessen them.
Releasing all that money may have a more vile purpose than making the individual Iranian life better. ‘Ya think?

Philippine people struggle to find shelter, food, and clean water. Mother Nature can do more damage in a few moments than man can in a decade.

Homeless and mentally ill people huddle on sidewalks and beneath bridges from Canada to Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico.

Generational drift separates our people and the entertainment industry does nothing to bring them closer.

Out of work Americans encounter incredible hurdles seeking employment. With more than 25 million Americans unemployed, it is hard to see how pundits can claim that things are “getting better every day.”

Tell that to the college graduate unable to find work and the once full-time employee now forced to 29 hours so employers will not have to provide health insurance.

Tell that to the untold numbers who have given up the job search and are absent from the monthly labor statistics. They are the shadow citizens.

Politicians “talk a good game,” but party allegiance on both sides derails what the judgment needed to address really serious societal ills.

Lock step mentality is no good. This isn’t a game. It’s our country’s future.

Consider this old saying. “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” Well, there is no ride. There is only a slow slide – and it goes at a faster and faster pace.

Jobs are scarce. Young and old experience widespread disappointment and disenchantment with the economy the world envied for more than 70 years. Reliance on government suborns incentive and dilutes our national spirit.

So, how far can we drop beyond this point? It is hard to say. Every civilization reaches the tipping point. Before we reach our tipping point and plummet into an economic abyss, perhaps we need a new wish list.

How about these wishes?

Consistent, strong support for Israel — America and Israel are linked by their history. They are the only two nations on the planet founded on faith in God.

True, citizen legislators who leave their jobs to go to statehouses or Washington, serve and then return home — in essence, the end of the lifetime career legislator

A small, responsive bureaucracy devoid of “perks” that amount to lifetime appointments with a high degree of arrogance and little accountability when found to be lacking

Open, free debate – televised for all to see on all the major networks when truly serious issues are on the table

No legislation forced through on holidays or late at night

The end of releasing bad news on a Friday to avoid wide press coverage

Reinstatement of the Senate’s filibuster rule protecting minority opinion

Public apology in the wake of failed programs or initiatives

Print and broadcast restraint when in possession of critical information that endangers American lives, military or civilian

End “political correctness” — words have meaning!

Free, unfettered speech pro or con using peaceful means

Rebirth of incentive and ambition — economic taught from kindergarten with money games. This can be done!

History classes centered on the U.S. Constitution to empower our children to recognize defend the freedoms that make America truly exceptional

Abandoning social engineering with regard to the Second Amendment. Guns don’t kill people. People kill people, and they don’t need guns to do it.

Unwavering support of Christians and Jews here and abroad — religious groups our government criticizes at every opportunity

Love of country

Love of family

Love of God, upon which all else rests.

Think about it.