Cumberland Times-News

Jim Goldsworthy - Anything and Everything

November 10, 2012

Don’t thank me for it ... this was a privilege

Long before Election Day, I predicted what the results would be. I also am writing  this before the votes were counted and we got to see who won, and who lost.

I was right, too. (Pause.)

One result would be that on Wednesday, half of the country would be irritated — to put it mildly and printably — and the other half would not. And they’ll stay that way.

That’s like the old story about the fellow who told his buddy, “Betcha 50 bucks I know what the score of the West Virginia-Maryland game will be, before it even starts.”

His buddy says, “You’re on. Fifty bucks. What’s it going to be?”

“Nothing-nothing,” says the guy. “Pay up.”

As Jimmy Hatlo used to say, That’s When The Fun Began.

I also predicted there would be whining, crying, recriminations, second-guessing, trash-talking and — regardless of who won — people who were far more thrilled than they really ought to be, plus claims by others that, “This country can’t survive four years of that (four-word Anglo-Saxonism).”

Of course, it can. And it will. Some of us may not like what happens over the next four years, but the Republic will endure.

I’ve heard people say America has never been as divided as it is now (actually, people say that before every presidential election), and I wonder what Abraham Lincoln would think about that. During the height of the Civil War, President Lincoln said, “If there is a worse place than hell, I am in it.”

George Washington might have had similar thoughts during the American Revolution, because it also was a civil war — Englishmen against Englishmen. Some of my relatives came here with aims of putting down the rebellion, and others came back in 1812.

Most of the participants were citizens of the British Empire. The colonists’ loyalties were divided between the Crown and Independence — Tories and Patriots — and they visited hideous violence upon each other, just as their descendants did during Lincoln’s Civil War.

There’s a lot to be said for being an American. We will have reprisals in the wake of the election, but they won’t consist of people dragging other people out into the street and beating them bloody before turning machine guns on them.

They will take the form of woofing and “I told you so,” and similar banter, as well as finger-pointing and a bit of gloating.

Under the First Amendment, such things are perfectly within our rights, unless they involve threats of violence or other actions that aren’t legally considered free speech.

(One fellow I know said he watched the TV commercials about Maryland’s casino question and noted their contradictory nature. He asked, “How can they say those things if they’re not true?” Some phenomena you can’t explain to people who don’t already understand them.)

Freedom of religion, speech and the press, and the right of the people to peacefully assemble or petition the government for redress of grievance are guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Even people in what are considered free countries don’t have all of those rights. Englishmen and Australians have more restraints on speech than we do, but Canadians do not.

Americans have the right to say, “I don’t like the (offspring of an informal liaison), I didn’t vote for him, I don’t believe a word he says, and I’m not going to support anything he does. He’s going to ruin the country.” (But don’t threaten to kill him. That’s a no-no.)

Say that in some countries and — as I said — you may wind up being beaten bloody before having the machine guns turned on you.

I can join with the congregation and our visitors for worship and fellowship in my church whenever we feel like it, and nobody is going to kick down the door and drag us off to jail.

I can write whatever I want in my column — subject to reason, the approval of my publisher and managing editor and the laws that govern libel — and nobody will send the secret police for me.

My friends and I can gather by the busload on a street corner with signs that say “Vote For (fill in the blank) Or The Country Is Doomed!” Nobody will try to stop us — legally, anyway.

If I have been wronged in a way that violates our laws, I can hire an attorney — or not — and ask the courts for justice.

I also can vote, which I did  Tuesday. The poll workers were my friends and thanked me for coming.

“No,” I said, “thank you. It was a privilege.”

That I can do all of the above and more is due to the wisdom of our Founding Fathers.

I also can do them because of people like Beverly Hayes, Abe Goldsworthy, Ed Kelley, Jim Bosley, Craig Haines, Richard Ellsworth Vincent, Sam Umstot, Bobby Taylor, Grady Cooke, Bill Gunter, Carl Davis, Bill Menges, Harold Walters and Theodore Field.

All of them have passed from this world, but the collective impact they had on it while they were alive was significant.

Bev, who was my second cousin, died when his B-17 bomber was shot down over Germany.

Abe was an Army medic who was seriously wounded during World War II. The fact that the doctor who treated him was from his home town of Keyser may have been the only thing that saved his arm. (Abe was a barber).

Ed graduated from Keyser High School 24 years before I did and received the Medal of Honor, posthumously, during World War II.

Jim, Craig, Richard, Sam, Bobby and Grady died in Vietnam. Bill Gunter and Carl survived that war, but not what it did to them.

Bill Menges was a Marine on Iwo Jima, and we used to bowl together. Harold was a crewman on a B-29 that bombed Japan, then came home to be a high school science teacher and my Sunday school teacher.

Theodore was the first sergeant of Battery C, 1st W.Va. Volunteer Artillery. As a living historian, I wear a Union Army uniform that bears his rank and crossed cannon badge to honor him.

There also was Elmer Colin Goldsworthy, a  professor from California who was wounded twice during World War I, once as an infantryman and again as a fighter pilot in the Royal Flying Corps. By then, we and the Brits were on the same side ... and there we’ve remained.

Today is Veterans Day, and I am grateful for what those people and millions like them have done for me.  You should feel the same way.

When you meet an American veteran, or those who are now serving on active duty, do what I do: Say to them, “Thanks for what you did (or are doing). Thank you for my freedom. Welcome Home.”

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Jim Goldsworthy - Anything and Everything
  • He means well, and this time they spared his life

    Our pal Phil is the only re-enactor certified in writing by both the Lee and Custis families to portray Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee (whose wife was Mary Anna Custis Lee). When he’s in uniform, he generally stops at the bottom of the path that leads to the summit of Little Round Top, salutes Capt. Gary and First Sgt. Goldy and asks permission to join us. (Get it? Generally ... General Lee?) We always return his salute and grant him permission, in part because he’s our friend and also because the real Lee never got to see what it really looks like from up there. (Get it? Grant ... Grant? U.S. Grant? Real Lee ... really? OK. I hear you. That’s enough. Seriouslee.) Phil gets a kick out of being able to sneak up on us while we’re distracted by tourists.

    July 20, 2014

  • They’d have fallen like Autumn leaves

    So there we were, minding our own business (at least momentarily), leaning against the cannon at Little Round Top.

    July 13, 2014

  • Better read that french fry before you eat it

    People give me otherwise-insignificant items they hope will amuse or inspire me. I appreciate this. I’m always glad for free entertainment, which as Goldy’s Rule 33 says is everywhere. All you have to do is wait and it will come to you. Also, I have been writing columns for 37 years and embrace inspiration anywhere I can find it.

    July 6, 2014

  • The moose is loose, and it’s coming for you

    So how would you like to look out your kitchen door window onto your porch and see a moose looking back at you from close range?

    June 28, 2014

  • There are some debts you can never repay

    Today’s column will be relatively short, as my columns go, for reasons that should become apparent, and I thought long and hard before writing it.

    June 21, 2014

  • It could have saved the county a lot of money

    Random thoughts sometimes occur to me when I least expect it, usually when my brain has become tired.
    When I voice these thoughts at work or in other places, people may tell me, “Goldy? It’s time for you to go home.” Yes, ma’am.
    Here are two random thoughts of recent vintage:
    • If Bugs Bunny were an Emergency Medical Technician, would that make him a MedicHare?
    • If Daisy Duck got a job driving for United Parcel Service, would she be an UPS-a-Daisy?
    I wouldn’t blame you if you think that sounds Goofy — or Daffy.

    June 15, 2014

  • These two were part of the Not Top Ten

    Occasionally, at this time of year, I see reference to a “class orator” or a “class speaker.”

    Nothing wrong with that — people can call such things whatever they want, as far as I’m concerned — but it makes me wonder. Have “valedictorian” and “salutatorian” become politically incorrect, and I didn’t notice? It may come as a surprise to you, but I really have not kept up with what is politically correct or incorrect. That’s what people tell me, anyway. With some of them, it actually seems to be a compliment.

    June 8, 2014

  • Coming soon to a highway near you?

    People say to me, “Goldy? Can I ask you a stupid question?”

    In theory — and theory only — the correct response is: “The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.” Not so much. There ARE stupid questions, some of them so stupid that to call them stupid is to damn them with faint praise. Other questions are — on the face of it — legitimate questions, but shouldn’t be treated as such ... not if you subscribe to the same philosophy that I do: Free entertainment is everywhere; all you have to do is wait, and it will come to you.

    June 1, 2014

  • This was a skill that proved very useful

    The Belmont Park stewards have decided to let California Chrome wear his nasal strip during the Run for the Carnations. Nasal strips usually are worn by people who snore and may have saved numerous marriages. It helps the Triple Crown hopeful to breathe, and some twolegged athletes wear nasal strips for the same reason. In this case, Chrome’s nasal strip may keep him from (wait for it) ... losing by a nose.

    May 25, 2014

  • He made a big splash by asking this question

    “I don’t know who you were talking to last night,” said Capt. Gary, “but you were talking and moaning in your sleep. Never heard you do that before.” Neither has anyone else, I said. Besides, I had told him not to be surprised if we had visitors. I wasn’t at the top of my game for a couple of days, and he said some of our friends asked him if I was all right. It’s not the first time for this, so now I’ll know to watch out for it. It can affect you and is not something to play around with — as our friend Cathy found out.

    May 18, 2014

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