On being responsible

What’s that saying about bad things happening when good people do nothing or some words to that affect? I was thinking about this when I looked again at a column I did a couple of weeks ago, a column that I didn’t quite finish to my satisfaction.

The morals of this country — as my son Doug said recently — are quickly going to hell in a hand basket. Unfortunately I’m afraid he’s right, and watching a new TV sitcom recently proved his point. It began about seven in the evening and just about half an hour later two of the actors were shown making love.

Now I’m not talking about one of those scenes where people began disrobing, kissing a little and the camera then shooting off into a beautiful blue sky as the music plays, I’m talking about two naked people with almost nothing missed. All I could think about was how shocked Ozzie and Harriet would have been. Okay, so most of you — probably a great majority for that matter — don’t have a clue who Ozzie and Harriet Nelson were?

Back in the 1930s Ozzie was a bandleader and I believe Harriet a vocalist. They married, had two sons and ended up doing one of the early family TV sitcom shows beginning in the 1950s. Rickie, their youngest son, became a very famous teen idol who unfortunately died in an airplane accident some years after the show was history.

However, during those wonderful early shows the Nelson’s — along with a neighbor who was part of the cast — showed what a good, clean American family should look like then and now. I thought about this when watching this new sitcom showing sex at such an early time when young people are still up and could easily have been watching. It made me furious and a thought came to my mind, so I did something about it.

Sitting down at my computer I wrote to the proper management and told them “enough” already! Please, don’t start a new show on this kind of note. Of course I realize that my one letter may mean nothing. Then another thought came to mind. How often do we hear that “my one vote doesn’t mean anything?” How often, when the votes are finally counted, do we find out that one vote may have made a tremendous difference?

The other night, on one of those shows when the “man in the street” was talking to people, and also one other evening when I was watching a game show, I heard a few statements that made the roots of my hair ache. Somebody was asked what state had more battles during the Civil War? The woman — in her 40s, I believe — said Michigan. I almost got sick.

Then there was the couple, also in their thirties or forties, who when asked how Eleanor must feel now that FDR had died, said that she must just feel terrible. FDR died in 1945! Then there were the contestants who didn’t know that Pearl Harbor happened on a Sunday. I began wondering. Don’t they teach history in our schools anymore? Perhaps it’s just that I lived through those days and some memories are embedded in this old brain?

Now this may seem to have nothing to do with my column about being responsible. But they all intertwine. Of course, if you know me you’ll understand a favorite subject of mine, voting. I believe that every single citizen of voting age should be required to register to vote and then to sit and watch all of the different TV stations such as CNN, MSNBC and FOX.

They should watch, for at least four hours a day, during the last month before an election. Another requirement would be a basic test about our Constitution. Only then should one be allowed to vote. Millions of our nation’s finest have died so we have this privilege. If I hear one more idiot say to me that they don’t get involved in politics, I think I’ll scream.

I want to remind those disinterested in becoming involved, that politics will certainly be involved with them. The very people we put into office will change our lives in more ways that can be stated here. If you’re one of those — one vote doesn’t count, so I don’t get involved in politics — get with it. Be involved and informed. Cherish and protect your freedom. Make voting not only a duty; but also your responsibility.

Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer.


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