Captain Chesley Sullenberger said those words before he landed the U.S. Airways jet in the Hudson River. He took charge of a potentially disastrous crash that would have killed 159 people. I wish our president and Congress would attempt to do their duty as they are the pilots of the government of our country. Do they do their best to save it? I see no evidence of that, yet that is why they were elected. Captain Sullenberger is a man of integrity who took charge. Character is definitely an asset for leadership; it seems to have been replaced with an abuse of power by our leaders. I rarely watch television anymore. It gives me a heartache because all we know is taxpayers are going to be hit hard with new taxes, big taxes, and many costly new regulations to inhibit growth. However, reckless spending continues. Millions of people are shopping, preparing, and looking forward to a happy Christmas and holiday season but worrying if it will be the last time we have the ability to celebrate with festive decorations and gifts.Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C. they are still talking about talking. So far, there is no progress. Talk is cheap. If every person elected to office is doing everything he can for the good of the entire country, we will solve our problems. Anything less is cause for resignation. What will it matter what political affiliation a person has if there is no country to serve? We have become a lazy, apathetic country in need of direction, purpose and productivity. Trust and honesty have become secondary virtues giving way to power and deception, with no accountability. Television programming also promotes the moral decay and violence. It’s an “anything goes” hedonistic, violent, disrespectful parade portrayed in shows dubbed as family programming. Hope for improving the quality of television programming, for good to triumph over evil, was rekindled when Angus Jones, a young man of 19, chose to quit portraying “Jay Harper” in a perverted family that engages in disgusting, sadistic and vile behavior. Young people who watch get their cues about what is socially acceptable. Mr. Jones said, “Stop watching ‘Two and a half Men.’ It is filling your head with filth.” He, too, is a man of integrity and not greed; obviously he made a decision in the best interest of the viewers, especially young people. Angus said he was motivated by his Christian beliefs, something fewer and fewer people express; religious references are not politically correct. Sadly, taking God out of schools is. We are a country founded on Christian beliefs, most especially the freedom of religion. The media has a huge responsibility to the public. With all the advances in technology and the ease with which information can be acquired, it seems to have spiraled out of control and lacks direction. Easy access and speedy transmission of information have become the greatest vehicles of peer pressure we have ever known. That power is often exploited on television and in social networks infiltrating our lives. We place greater value on things and gadgets and have seriously changed the way we communicate with each other. It affects all facets of life.Our schools are failing; the scope and purpose of education has expanded and now it is a social endeavor rather than an academic one. The school day has shrunk in its hours but added things like drug and sex education to the curriculum. Think about it, each of the extras takes time; thus, we forego preparing our students academically.There are more single mothers who find the struggle of breadwinner and mother overwhelming sometimes. It is somewhat understandable that many women in this situation easily accept the feeding and keeping of their children from the schools. To me, that is almost like being kept in an orphanage for five days a week without the natural nurturing parents give their children. The truth is many of these single mothers have a strong need to find a husband. Very often grandparents raise their grandchildren. Marriage and divorce have little social importance any more. Abortion is a common form of birth control. The respect for life has diminished substantially. America is a nation of immigrants; it is a desirable place to live. We make a huge mistake when race and sex are the most important topics of policies and politics. All colors, men and women, want a chance to work and improve their lives. In all economic classes there are persons of integrity and pride. Do your best to be one of them. I am offended by being labeled according to how much money I have or, better, do not have. My financial worth does not reflect what I have to offer society. The same is true for you. Embrace the impact of yourself.• Ann Bednarski of Carson City is a career educator and journalist.
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