By Dink NesmithYou cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage earner down.You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative and independence.You cannot help people permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.The logic in the above sentences is so ramrod straight, it has been attributed to our 16th president ‘“ but wait. If Honest Abe Lincoln were here today, he’d sit down, cross his lanky legs, take off his stovepipe hat and stroke his beard.Then he’d say, ‘That’s good advice but there’s been a misunderstanding. Those aren’t my words. They belong to the Rev. William John Henry Boetcker. I was dead when the Presbyterian minister preached that in 1916.’Either way ‘“ Lincoln or Boetcker ‘“ we didn’t heed the wise counsel. Look where we are today. Read, listen and watch what is being said and done during this political season. As we approached Independence Day, I worried about America. We have too much squabbling among ourselves. Let’s have less polarizing rhetoric and more action on how we exit this self-destructive path.Here is what I am hearing ‘“ more and more ‘“ from my generation: ‘If it weren’t for my family and friends, I’d leave America. I’m sick of the way the country is being run and I don’t think there’s a leader on the horizon that can pull us out of this bog hole.’ These are people who have toiled 30 and 40 years, giving considerable chunks of their earnings to our government.The words of Rev. Boetcker resonate so loudly yet we seem to be so deaf.I understand the frustration and despair these economic times have brought. Many of my old-age nest eggs are now rotten but I am grateful for my health and willingness to gather more. Actually, I enjoy work and feel obligated to be productive and pay taxes. Jobs are hard to come by. I hurt for those desperate for a paycheck. I also hurt for America, knowing some people wouldn’t work if a job was offered to them. We are stacking generation after generation on the government’s wagon with fewer and fewer Americans willing to pull it. The day will come when we can’t tug ourselves out of this bog hole.So why do politicians ignore: ‘You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.’Instead they yap about the 1% and the 99%. I don’t begrudge anyone’s financial success in business any more than I begrudge LeBron James’ making a zillion dollars on the basketball court. All any of us should expect is that everyone pays his or her fair share of taxes. I read somewhere that only about half of Americans pay federal income taxes. That’s not an encouraging statistic.Then there’s this entitlement mindset. More and more Americans don’t intend to contribute. That group only wants to take, ignoring: ‘You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative and independence.You cannot help people permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.’America, the bog hole is getting deeper and deeper.What we need ‘“ now ‘“ is a 50-state revival with the Rev. Boetcker in the pulpit. I am sure Abraham Lincoln would say, ‘Amen!’ Dink NeSmith is president of Community Newspapers and represents the 10th Congressional District on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents.
America needs to face some basic truths
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