Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Fourth Reading: Let Courage Beget Courage

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Fourth Reading: Let Courage Beget Courage

Article excerpt

The question remains, when did the American public lose its courage?

For years now I've watched people face great challenges and excel. As a journalist, I've seen the stories on the out-of-work man who rushes into a burning house to save a group of kids. I read about the woman with cancer who, despite all the chemo, gets up and volunteers at the homeless shelter.

In my own circle of friends and even my own family, I've seen remarkable acts of courage.

But it seems to me that over the past few years, courage is on the decline.

Sure, it's easy for the American public to stand up and shout and wave and demand courage from our political leaders.

But we haven't returned the favor.

Two years ago, the United States amazed the rest of the world by electing a black man as its president.

Of course, Barack Obama didn't even have his own stationery printed before the critics, complainers and cowards began taking potshots at him. Despite being elected by a majority of the American public, the president was treated as if he stole the office.

Courage? The only courage shown during those difficult first days were by the president, his wife and their young daughters.

In Oklahoma, the ballots hadn't even been counted before a majority of the political leaders - on both sides - began to tout the fact that our state didn't like the president. For weeks I heard nothing but how Oklahoma was the only state to vote red. Time and time again, state pundits pontificated about how Oklahoma was the only state with courage, and that Oklahoma was leading the rest of the country.

I disagree.

Perhaps we're the ones who are behind. Perhaps this buckle of the Bible Belt (which is also a leader in infant deaths, unwed pregnancies and divorces) is the only state that is behind. Maybe we need courage. Maybe we need something to change.

Courage? I don't think so.

It's disheartening to know that back in 1995, Oklahoma set the standard for courage. Our state was seen as a shining example of people who cared about each other and who were willing to help, no matter what the problem.

Then something changed.

Today, instead of the courage to have an honest discussion about the needs of this state, the voters and those they elect instead try to fool each other into believing something will change. …

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