We are still ‘we the people’


It seemed extra quiet in the office last week as the hustle and bustle of early deadlines quickly engulfed us. The phones didn’t ring much, the keyboards were clicking, and my co-workers and I were busy as bees trying to make sure everything was done on time.

Bills had to go out, photos had to be taken, interviews conducted, stories written, pages laid out...all those fun things that come with a holiday landing on paper day — at the very beginning of the month to boot. It all came together just fine. It always does.

After 34 years in the newspaper business I’ve seen folks that constantly stress out over what is considered a highly stressful occupation, and I’ve seen folks handle it just as smooth as silk. It’s all in the mind. Get behind, stress out, and you get further behind and stress out even further.

When it’s all been said and done, we’ve never missed a publication date. Not one single time here in Scott County, or at any of the other five newspapers where I’ve had a hand in the operation over the years. I would say that’s a pretty good record.

Even the year that Hurricane Katrina, the storm of storms, decided to take out much of the power grid in this part of the state we had our papers in the mail, in the racks, and on the streets on time. It wasn’t easy, mind you, but where there is a will, there always is a way.

That’s the way it is in America. That’s the way it is supposed to be anyway. You work hard, dedicate yourself to the task, don’t whine, take on a little extra, ignore those worries and woes, and you come out on top. The problem is that the top may not be exactly where we think it is, and that entitled group always lingering somewhere — perhaps the break room — is always going to drop the ball at some point or the other. On the football field, fumble the ball and whomever retrieves it gets to keep it. It is often the same way with the workload. Take up the slack and the slack may be yours forever. But, it has to be taken up.

This is America. Home of the free and the brave who are used to working hard. That’s how we got here, that’s how we’ll continue to prosper in the future. We have opportunities, y’all. If we accept responsibility and if we try hard enough we shall succeed. So many other folks from so many other places can’t say the same.

So as we celebrate the 242nd birthday of this great country of ours, let’s strive to be kinder to our fellowman. Let’s put party politics behind us. Let’s try harder to get along. Try harder to understand other points of view.

We don’t have to agree with each other’s opinion, but we should at least agree to disagree. And do so in a form and fashion that is decent, understanding, caring, and kind. Is that asking so much?

It’s not a Democrat or Republican thing. There are mean, angry, hateful people on both sides and very few of them are even trying — much less even want to have a glimmer of hope — of getting along.

Today is our birthday. Today we are supposed to be celebrating. Today we shoot fireworks, and cook out, and go to the beach, and the swimming pool. Today we picnic with our friends and family, we go camping, and fishing, and boating and water skiing.

Today we lie in the sun, snooze in the shade, rock on the porch, frolic from sea to shining sea. Today we build sandcastles, and take long walks in the woods, we take slow drives though the countryside, and meander peacefully up and down the beautiful Natchez trace.

Today we worked hard to get our work done so we can do all these things, or anything else we damn well please. But that work didn’t start at the office yesterday, or when it was so quite last week, or even 34 years ago at a different desk in a different town. It started almost 250 years ago when “we the people” started thinking about forming a more perfect union, and decided to declare our independence.

We are still the same people my friends. We’re the very same people! No, the union isn’t perfect — never has been, never will be — but if we work at it, if we the people work hard at it, we can certainly make it better.