Archive for January, 2019

262 “The Ice Cream Society”

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

By Hetty Gray

# 262 “The Ice Cream Society”

January 30, 2019

The title may seem an odd as you read it, but after finishing this column you will see the parallel that I draw.

Those of us who took that first job before our teen years know the value and pride that comes with hard work. In fact, if we go back two generations, it wasn’t at all unusual to see very young boys working full time. More often than not good parental role models and an eighth grade education prepared them to face life head on.

Points taken. Now let’s take a look at our youth today. To begin with, there are exceptions to this assessment, but the overall picture of the age group between 14 and 30 is enough to scare the wrap off a Sumo wrestler.

Reporters doing “on the street” questioning come face to face with young people who disrespect the older generation, who reject the tenet that work and savings achieve financial stability, and who openly admit a dangerous sense of entitlement for which many parents should be called to account.

There is worth in work. There is worth in working toward a goal. There is what our generation knows as patience. I fear that many of the younger generation will never experience the joy of saving for something. Often, the gain is less exciting than the quest. Sadly, these youngsters are more apt to simply buy on credit. Granted, a mortgage is not a frivolous purchase, but a caveat to that is “Do not buy something you cannot afford.”

A nest egg is not just for the birds. Emergencies happen. Having at least a month’s salary is critical for a household. Utilities, landlords and banks do not accept promises or excuses for payment.

A first job may be a step into a lifetime career or it may be a learning experience when another line of work beckons. To be sure, dependability and trustworthiness are the basic keys to success; but they are only building blocks to a worker’s ability and background. Initiative is icing on the cake.

Consider these quotes on work:

“There is no substitute for hard work.”

Thomas A. Edison

“I do not know anyone who has gotten to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but it will get you pretty near.”

Margaret Thatcher

“When I was a young man I observed that nine out of ten things I did were failures. I didn’t want to be a failure, so I did ten times more work.”

George Bernard Shaw

“If I am anything, which I highly doubt, I have made myself so by hard work.”

Isaac Newton

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”

Colin Powell

“No country can sustain, in idleness, more than a small percentage of its numbers. The great majority must labor at something productive.”

Abraham Lincoln

(The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, “Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin” (September 30, 1859), p. 479.)

“If at any time all labour should cease, and all existing provisions be equally divided among the people, at the end of a single year there could scarcely be one human being left alive—all would have perished by want of subsistence.”
Abraham Lincoln
(His is a clear condemnation of socialism made in the 1800s!)
(The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume I, “Fragments of a Tariff Discussion” (December 1, 1847), p. 415.)

About twenty years ago I wrote a column on the impact of teaching economics to children in kindergarten. It holds even more today. Penny banks and basic rules of handling money cannot be delayed. Once learned, the tenets of saving and budgeting will be lifelong gifts — not wrapped with ribbons, but even more important.
You’ve probably been privy to situation similar to this. A parent is at the checkout and a child asks to buy something. The parent explains that the family cannot afford it. The child quips either, “You have your credit card,” or “There are still checks in the checkbook.” Children need to understand that family budgets are necessary and how to use money.
This surging phenomenon of wanting at the outset “everything Mom and Dad had after forty years” is downright frustrating for older folks. Yet, even more than that, the practice portends lots of problems. Living beyond one’s means is tenuous at best, perilous if unexpected hurdles surface — as they can.
Not only do they expect everything immediately, but they also buy into the greatest lie perpetrated on the American people: Socialism is good. No. It is not. One conversation with a Venezuelan might make an impact, but I doubt if that impact would be sufficient enough to dissuade them from the belief that capitalism is the enemy. Educators have engrained in the youngsters and have done it for decades. Textbooks do not teach that socialist countries die a slow and painful death.
Media and entertainment do little to extol the businessman. One reason is businesses that have become behemoths make it virtually impossible for small businesses to compete and survive. America was built on the foundation of small business. We are seeing it disappear. I’ve never understood why the government ignores anti-trust laws — laws passed to protect small business against monopolies.
With today’s technologies, these laws are needed more than ever. Yet, to the chagrin of many an American, they remain on the sidelines. I do not know enough about the donor base of the political parties to judge if the neglect to implement anti-trust laws equates to “You get what you pay for.” (Please forgive ending the sentence with a preposition. My fourth-grade teacher Hazel Ford would cringe!)
If that’s true, we are in far more trouble than I imagine. Unfortunately, money does talk. Even sadder, big money shouts. My grandparents’ generation often commented, “Money is the root of all evil.” In many cases, it is.
Getting back to ice cream…. Judging anything requires assessment.
If we compare the average 18-20-year-old of the 1940s and 1950s to the same age bracket today, the differences are glaring. I’m taking out of the comparison the driven, responsible, acceptant individuals. I am left with the young person who accepts the mantra of “political correctness” and the “safe zone” mentality widely preached by the liberal left.
Just how would they respond to a real threat? Not the unkind word or inarticulate phrase, but a real threat? Wow! That’s quite the question. I agree that some speech can really be divisive, but when in the history of the world has there not been such speech?
In the wake of Pearl Harbor 17-year-old-boys lied about their age and enlisted in the armed services. A similar situation happened after 9/11. Yet, since that time the mindset of many young people has dipped again into that anti-government, anti-United States mentality. And work should bring instant money. Work often equates to sitting behind a computer monitor. Too many of this age group look down on people who work with their hands as inferiors. This “uppity” attitude is endemic.
If you combine the antagonist view with the lack of patriotism, you have the recipe for disaster.
Back to Lincoln for a moment…. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Concentrate on media that moves in lockstep with the left. Don’t assume that the liberal establishment and academia do not know what they are doing. They know. They have a goal. It is to divide and conquer. They control much of the news. What’s more, they are better than everyone else. At least they believe they are. The question is how did thinking adults allow this to creep in without opposition? I fear that entertainment has become too much of the life stream than civic responsibility.
Well, I refuse to throw in the towel. I do not agree to the comment that “what is done is done.” We few that see the danger may be the ants versus the rubber tree plants, but we need to start somewhere. We need to press our schools to teach the merits of capitalism and we need to begin early! We need to extol the value of hard work. We need to internalize within our students the need to excel and to choose a career that parallels and dovetails both ability and interest. Iron only becomes steel when heat and pressure hardens it. Early training can steel us to become strong people. Paired with faith, discipline and education are key.
Don’t sit in the kitchen or family room and complain to family or friends. Be an advocate for a better America. Go forth and press for personal responsibility in schools. With so many fractured families, schools need to fill the void. Morality is not a weakness. It is the greatest strength. Encourage your local school board and your state government for more civics, more accurate history, and more economics. Without it, America faces a bleak future. It faces a day when the socialists hold sway over voters. It faces a day when it mirrors Venezuela twenty years ago. Don’t assume it cannot happen. It can — if we allow it.
Do not let that happen. It will be a hard fight, given the fact that all the media outlets save a precious few push forward to praise those who run for election and promise “free stuff.” Nothing is ever free. Someone pays for it.
In short, we need to toughen these youngsters, spiritually as well as intellectually. Categorically, ice cream is either hard dip or soft serve. If applied to people, which would best defend and uphold this nation? I think you know the answer.
Think about it.

261 “Overload”

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

By Hetty Gray


January 21, 2019


I suppose you’ve heard the phrase “had it up to here.” Well, here is my latest take on that old adage.

Lest I irresponsibly be labeled an anti-feminist, let me lay the groundwork to refute such a statement. First of all, there is nothing feminine about the feminists today. Femininity is the essence of womanhood. Femininity is graciousness, kindliness, gentility, and grace. Nothing about the current movement exudes any such characteristics. In fact, the feminist movement today is the polar opposite.

With few exceptions, those who espouse this movement are belligerent, “pushy,” and lack civility. This group not only annoys me as a woman, it insults the very crux of society. What better way to destroy a nation than to fracture and destroy its most critical element, the family?

I fear that two other old adages are all but nonexistent today. “Behind every successful man is a good woman.” “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” Yes, there were inequities. Yes, there were hard times for widows when they were left to fend for their households.

What is wrong with a woman supporting her husband and helping him in his quest for success? What’s wrong with the image of a nurturing mother rocking a baby in a cradle? Even if they do reflect a former age, there is an element of truth in both.

To me, what we see today actually began in earnest during World War II when women worked in the war plants, ferried planes from the manufacturers to U.S. Army Air Corps bases both in the US and abroad, served in the military as nurses and garnered praise as support personnel. Queen Elizabeth II was a mechanic during the war. A scene featured in the film “The Queen” starring Dame Helen Mirren integrated Her Majesty’s war service into the drama surrounding the death of Princess Diana in 1997.

With all that in mind, there needs to be a resurgence of respect for women who find value in the home. It is a finite balance to juggle a job and the home, but many married women have done just that for years. They have reared responsible children who grew up to contribute mightily to our nation.

For centuries, in good time and bad, the American family consisted of father, mother, and progeny. Today, the number of single mother households is hard to fathom. Yes, there are single father households, but most of those are the result of a divorce or the death of the wife.

The feminists who participate in every kind of demonstration available are poor examples of the character of American women as a whole. The negative tone aimed at men should concern everyone. I guess they missed out on another old saying. “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”

I am so weary of advertising that excludes men. Are there women who apply for loans… buy homes… plan for retirement? Sure there are, but there are also homes where a couple plans their future together. They work together, play together, suffer together, worship together and cling to one another. Truly strong husbands and wives respect and support one another. You won’t need to look far to find them either.

Surely partnership tops the dismal, disrespectful picture played out in commercials today. Nothing threatens the family unit more than unmarried couples. Oh, there are instances were senior citizens must cohabit or else lose their retirement benefits. My, this is a poor way for a government to reward folks who pay taxes over a lifetime!

What kind of example do the unmarried couples set for their children? In fact what they do is legitimate the practice. If — even against their wishes — their offspring choose to do the same thing, they lack standing to oppose it.

In my mind, qualifications matter more than gender. If two people vie for the same job and the man is better qualified than the woman, so be it. Sadly, in many instances such as this, the woman screams gender discrimination. It echoes the affirmative action claims that eventually bit the backside of those who initiated it. To minority disgust, in the end, it worked both ways.

What ever happened to good manners? It’s not a case that mirrors mechanics. The wheel that squeaks the loudest may get the grease, but the woman who screeches the loudest should not necessarily get her way.

I have been an adult woman long enough to recognize obnoxious, irreverent women who think that unruly behavior wins the game. Of all the bosses for whom I have worked, the very worst have been women. They shove their way around like a bovine in a gift shop. And, if at your own peril, you happen to be a woman under their purview, woe be it to you.

It’s high time that every segment of society decries the feminists who claim to speak for all American women. They do not. But, if countered, they make enough noise to stifle any opposition. Those who go up against them are not only called nasty names but also intimidated emotionally and physically. The disgrace is that the media showcases them. How incredibly sad….

How juvenile. Take a lesson from the lyrics of an old song. “I want a girl just like the girl that married dear old Dad.” In those words a young man yearns for the devotion and love of his mother and expresses sincere affection for his father. The worth of a stable, loving home is priceless.

Feminists continue to scream for respect as nauseum. Well, where is their respect for men?

Antagonism feeds upon itself. Don’t doom another generation of children to the mish mosh spewed out by these women. Men do count. Men are important. Men are valuable. Men are integral to the family. In fact, they do possess abilities. Their genetic makeup is disparate from that of women.

Women should work for rights, but they should do it with dignity. There is nothing more important than respect between and among people. Gender is not exempt from this quantifier. In this case, it is central.

Americans need to get their act together and urge these so called feminists to put forward an image worthy of every American woman: talented, capable, devoted, dependable, dedicated, motivated, respectful and loving. This whole situation is on overload. Think about it.

259 “New Year, New Theme”

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

By Hetty Gray

# 259

“A New Year, Hopefully a New Theme”

January 1, 2019

Every year many people around the world look to that hallmark day when one single day heralds in a new year. Here we are again. My wish is that a new theme takes hold in our nation — a theme that carries forward across city boundaries, county lines, state lines and thrusts itself into Washington, D.C.

It’s a theme seldom seen unless a threat is so apparent that nobody can ignore it. Well, there has been just such a threat for nearly two years. If I can see it, I am not alone.

I remember Inauguration Day of 2008. I sat in a rocking chair, holding a baby belonging to friends who had come north to snowmobile here in Michigan’s UP. I prayed that the person taking the oath, though I had not voted for him, would bring with him ideas and programs that would usher in a better life for Americans as a whole. Well, that didn’t work out too well. That administration initiated government-sponsored health care. Anytime you want a business to run well, keep the government out of it.

Let’s just take the Postal Service as a prime example. When I grew up (yes, that was a few decades ago), mail was postmarked in the post office and sent out for delivery. Well, those days are gone. Mail from our small town in Indiana is bagged up and sent to Indianapolis for sorting. Then local mail comes back and is sorted and either placed in a box or given to the carrier. Just how much fuel and labor is involved to do this is anyone’s guess; but the practice is not specific to our small town. It is everywhere.

Efficiency is not the byword of government. Instead, layer upon layer of bureaucracy slows and even stalls what could be a speedy job. Private businesses constantly seek ways to save money. Can we say that about the government? Hardly.

It’s a shame, really. Our Founding Fathers envisioned a government of people who would leave their jobs to serve and then return to them leaving things in better shape than they found them.

Do you see much of that today? Yeah, right…. A sticking point with me is the total lack of cooperation with our president. The people elected Donald J. Trump for a reason — they wanted someone out of the Washington circles who could see the forest for the trees… someone who could read a balance sheet… someone who could see a bad contract and say, “No.” Well, the people got their man, but he was hampered from the “get go.”

Not only did he face a hostile opposition who has tried from day one to get rid of him, but he also found himself with Republicans who failed to have his back. Ego is one thing — stupidity is another.

With the Congress entirely in their hands, they let more than one golden opportunity to slip through their fingers. There is no defensible excuse to oppose the leader of your party when important decisions are in your grasp. To that end, we as Americans lost the Border Wall and who knows what else.

Occasionally, someone stood up to defend the president and agree with him; but, to a large extent, they were absent when needed.

Then you combine a “D” for Democrat and the word anger and you get DANGER. I have taught history and government. With that background, I recognize what most of us know as back and forth between the two major political parties; but the situation we see now is far more critical.

It is as if these people are living in a nether world where the focus is solely on opposition and not finding common ground. I fear that common ground, like common sense, is no longer common. It is rare and endangered.

If you have ever sat down and written a letter to your Congressman or Senator, now is the time. I’ve seen better behavior among disagreeable high school students. Not only is the behavior of the Democratic leadership aggravating, but it’s also juvenile. How sad when adults entrusted by constituents with leadership morph into what we witness today.

Sadly, there is no cure for the stupidity that currently runs rampant among elected officials. You recognize them. As if it’s normal to do so, they spew hatred in every breath. Yet they incessantly accuse the president of precisely what they do. It is more than sad; it is perilous.

Today is the first day of what could be a banner year for America. If the men and women in Washington, D. C. put their country ahead of reelection bids, ahead of party identification, ahead of ego, we may have a chance.

Short of that, we are in for a rough ride. To quote an old movie, “You better fasten your seat belts.”

There is no national security without border security. You can bet that every person who opposes the wall sleeps behind locked doors, may have personal security (likely armed), and counts on the police and fire department for protection. This goes double for those in the mainstream media who never give this president a fair shake. They have bodyguards, too.

As hard as I try to stay positive, it is becoming harder with each passing day. I’d like to feel safe, too. I’m sure that goes for most of you.

So, where is the protection for the American people? Without a wall, it does not exist. The wall is one symptom of the awful hatred aimed at our president. Hatred is a monster that eats away at good people. It beckons others to join in on mischief. Elected officials must condemn and abandon it.

And the theme I cited when I began this column? I cannot take credit for the wording. You’ve heard it at rallies nationwide.

America first. Not personal gain, not misplaced loyalty, not party ID, not venomous opposition. America first.

Pray for your beloved country. Pray for America. She needs it.