Ponderings with Doug – October 11, 2019

Back in the day, the Five-Man Electrical Band hit the nail on the head when they sang,

“Sign, sign everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breaking my mind.”

The political yard-sign-on-any-empty-lot-on-a-major-road season is nearly over. After voting this weekend, the many will be pared down to the few. Then on November 16th, one of the few will be elected. And the season is officially over. The yard signs will be with us for a while, even though there is likely a law about removing them quickly.

There are men and women who have lost considerable weight walking door to door asking people for their vote. They have borne the heat of the late summer. They have spent money on signs and flyers. They have given speeches to anyone who will listen. They have asked for endorsements and written letters. They have promised better…everything…if you vote for them. Most of them have real jobs alongside the activities related to running for office. I wanted to expressed appreciation to the candidates running for office. They were willing. They gave it their best effort. They believe they can do better for you, the voter. They believe they can make a difference for the good of all. They are not timid souls. They endured while daring greatly.

Congratulations to all of those who ran the good race.

On April 23, 1910, Theodore Roosevelt gave what would become one of the most widely quoted speeches of his career.

Roosevelt delivered a speech called “Citizenship in a Republic,” which would come to be known as “The Man in the Arena.”

In addition to touching on his own family history, war, human and property rights, the responsibilities of citizenship, and France’s falling birthrate, Roosevelt railed against cynics who looked down at men who were trying to make the world a better place. “The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer,” he said. “A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticize work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life’s realities—all these are marks, not … of superiority but of weakness.” Then he delivered an inspirational and impassioned message that drew huge applause:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Heavenly Father, we bring the needs of our state and parish before You and ask You to bless our state and parish through godly leaders. We magnify the name of Jesus and declare that He is Lord over all, even our political process. Amen.

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