Cool it on chess talk
Last week a gentleman from Flippin offered a letter titled "An apocalypse now." The writer chose to use a chess analogy in describing (I suppose) the progress of civilizations.
Quite often I notice chess analogies used to portray conflicts of sorts. I wonder, sometimes, if they know much about the game. A quote from the letter in question: "Yet one generation lives through maybe a single move on the chessboard of history, indifferent to future moves." The writer goes on to talk about climate change and the moral compass. I won't argue with his ideas on those matters.
I will suggest that folks not use the chess analogy so freely. Chess is a war game. The pieces comprise an army and the opposing players are the generals. It is kill or be killed, or sometimes a draw is agreed to. Chess at its highest level is extremely complex. It is understandable that world champions are often bona fide geniuses (see Bobby Fischer).
Perhaps one can compare history to a chess match if he sees it as a classic struggle between good and evil. But a "chessboard of history" dealing with such things as climate change?
Can't we get along?
Surely Americans know how to do something besides fight, don't we? Anyone else for a little peace?
I'll tell you who impresses me is our governor, Asa Hutchinson. (No, we're not always in agreement, but that makes my point.) He's always the grown-up in the room. He knows how to listen. He knows how to resolve tough issues that don't always please him and never please everyone. But he succeeds in making us all feel like we matter, a quality that is sorely missing from government today. He gets us on the path to solving problems and accomplishing things that are important for our current general health and for our future. He's not one-sided.
I wish we had more of those in leadership positions, people with vision broad and long, and ethics--oh my gosh, what happened to ethics? Who's for sale? Who can you trust to do what's best for most of us? To whom can we trust our future? I'm tired of food fights, name-calling, underhanded dealings, self-aggrandizement, and tunnel vision, to name a few. We're looking for real leaders, those who don't just have a batch of fish to fry. People who know how to and want to work with other people. And they're in short supply these days.
In Voltaire's Candide, the hero sums up what he has learned at the end of all his journeys in the simple phrase: "But let us cultivate our garden." During the past few years, I've often recalled this passage as a member and officer of a neighborhood association in Little Rock.
If you have a sense of civic commitment and want to improve the place where you live--but prefer a smaller, less overwhelming sphere (Candide's garden)--a neighborhood association may be a perfect fit. A good number of these organizations are currently active with varying degrees of participation that include community improvement and social interaction.
Several of the associations in Little Rock have had demonstrably positive impacts on the well-being (crime rates, property values) of the neighborhoods they serve. Call City Hall for information on the neighborhood association in your part of town--and cultivate that garden.
Old dogs, new tricks
I am 81 years old and enjoy drinking coffee and reading my newspaper each morning. When I learned that I would no longer receive a "paper" on weekday mornings but would have to get my news using an iPad, I was upset, to say the least. But I figured I would give it a try.
I had occasionally read the electronic version of the paper using my PC, but had never used an iPad. After receiving my loaner iPad and instructions, I set about learning to use it. After a few false starts and several phone calls for help, I soon decided that I liked reading the news better on the iPad than I did on paper!
That was not the end of it. When I learned that I could read and send emails, search the Web, view various weather apps, including radar, as well as view other news sites, I was hooked. Of course, I had been able to do all this on my PC, but that required moving into my office. Now I can do all that from the comfort of my lounge chair.
I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.
Who's driving wedge
I think I can comfortably be called a Democrat when in my 50 years of voting I've cast a whopping majority of votes for Democrats.
I hope that I am viewed as tolerant and non-racist, though none of us can claim to be totally free of preconceived biases about people not like us. I strive to obey Jesus' two commandments: "Love the Lord thy God" and "Love thy neighbor as thyself."
I find much to admire in every culture I've encountered worldwide, but I bless whatever blind luck led to me being born in this amazing country. I value the sacrifice, pain, and devotion of immigrants--past, present and future--working hard for what came to me by birth. Substitute the word "Republican" for "Democrat," and I have many, many acquaintances, family members, and dear friends who would proudly make those same statements.
But there are forces working deliberately every day to convince my Republican friends that I am an elitist socialist, maybe communist traitor, that I hate this country, that I want to destroy capitalism, and that I want wide-open borders with "free bubble-up and rainbow stew" for everybody. And there are forces trying to make me believe that all Republicans are jingoistic, racist, misogynistic, white supremacists with not a shred of human compassion and a skewed idea of Christianity.
There is a wedge being driven deep into the heart of this country, and no one is swinging the hammer harder than the president of the United States.
CLARA J. JONES
Lessons of Lion King
Thursday night, I went with my family to watch the premiere of The Lion King remake. As I sat watching Mufasa speak with his mate, Sarabi, and son, Simba, I was reminded of what it means to lead others.
Although the king of the jungle was obviously the "one in charge," he possessed so many characteristics of true leadership that it was difficult to refrain from drawing contrasts between his approach and the approach of others who may refer to themselves as "leaders." Certainly, Mufasa listened well; in fact, he heard with the "ear of his heart," as Joanna Seibert might say. He was fully present to the needs of all his fellow animals, and he respected the land and the delicate balance between independence and interdependence. Mufasa treated all animals with deep and sincere respect, and he sought the wisdom of others in order to help him compassionately and respectfully honor the diversity among those who lived within the boundary of the pride.
For Mufasa, there was no need to rule by creating fear, no reason for cruelty, for taunting, for criticizing, or for generating hate. He led with love. Perhaps it is more than time for us all to relook at the bigger lessons a simple classic story might teach us.
Editorial on 07/22/2019
Print Headline: Letters