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Bath County News - Outlook
Owingsville, Kentucky
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December 1, 2016     Bath County News - Outlook
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December 1, 2016
 

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2 - December 01, 2016 Your Hometown Newspaper. News Outlook The opinion page does not reflect the views of the KyNewsGroup. Heaven Is A Lot Like By Charles Mattox Nature's first green 'is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf's a flower," But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day Nothing gold can stay. "Nothing Gold Can Stay" is a poem by Robert Frost, written in 1923, It was later published in the collec- tion New Hampshire that earned Frost the 1924 Pulit- zer Prize for Poetry. Amber thinks our son Cassidy's hair is getting too long and wants it cut. I'm not too crazy about the idea myself but I'm only the king of the house when she's not around, dear read- er. :' Cassidy's hair is becom- ing longer in the back and tends to curl. The color is an off reddish brown and from those rare existing photographs of me at that same age (there is only two photographs I have ever seen of me at 16-18 months of age) I can seethe resem- blance.. My son is a happy boy and is learning new things every day. He continues to be fasci- nated with the outdoors and with several children's "IV shows and cartoons. He. watches his parents like a hawk and mimics our actions. He loves to dance and laugh, and when he laughs his deep and wild laugh, filled with such happiness, well, it's golden. Providing for children has always be a challenge and I suppose always will be for those of us who weren't born with a silver spoon in our mouths or who don't have endless family mem- bers at our beck and call to help raise a child. If you ask people what they most want to be in life "poor" is right there at the bottom of the list. It's third from the very bottom, just above sick and dead. I'm no stranger to pov- erty, or pain, or hard work, and I know poverty is a great motivator and has provided a corner stone of motivation for me through- out my adult life, i grew up in a small farm- house devoid of the finer things, or the better mate- rial objects one might find in a "cultured" home. We had little to no indoor plumbing, no real modern appliances to speak of, rath- er than the occasional black and white TV or small radio that kept us company from time to time and helped us escape the mundane world of small farming and end- less toil. I was carrying an ann- load of books into the Flem- ingsburg Gazette office this morning in an attempt to make for more room at my home, as it has been a challenge to child proof our home for Cassidy's sake while still being able to re- main organized to a small degree. I hear the voice of my late father several limes during the day and heard his voice loud and clear this morn- OLDEN ing as I looked around our bedroom and heard him say, "dang son, there ain't enough room in here to whip a cat." It was an often-used-say- ing of his. He used such sayings to surmise the state of our being and/or surroundings from time to time. "I've never seen anyone with so many books." Am- ber has told me on numer- ous occasions and I admit I have a lot of books. I value books greatly, and they represent so much to me. Reading material was one of the valuable com- modities our family never scrimped on when I was a child. There was always a large selection of excel- lent reading material in the house when I was growing up and I learned to read on an elevated level before I was very old. I grew up and entered adulthood long before the internet, dear reader, back when you had to find the reading material before you could ever start reading and along the way I collect- ed the classics; everything from Dickens, to Greek phi- losophers, to Louis L'amour westerns, to the King of horror, Stephen King; and hundreds and hundreds of others along the way. I've been reading some children's' books to Cas- sidy lately, and for the large part he is fascinated though from time to time he wants to rip the pages out of the books and then laugh hys- terically as he shreds those pages into small pieces. I laugh with him and tell Amber that Cassidy is, "en- joying another book." He's too small to realize the full potential of books but he knows that books are special and soon enough I feel like he will be bringing me certain copies to read to him and later, he will begin cherishing his own books. As a child I read q'he Outsiders', a 1967 novel by S.E. Hinton. The book isn't just a clas- sic for what it represents but also for the subtle way in which it weaves larger themes into, the psyche of the colorful characters, such as Ponyboy Curtis, who is told by his best friend Johnny Cade to "stay golden" as Cade lays dying in the hospital from a bro- ken back, received while helping children escape from a fire. The two had read and attempted to inter- pret Frost's poem "Nothing gold can stay" earlier in the book and the strengths of those interpretations and how art can imitate life and vice versa swirls around one another in a marvelous dance of storytelling. But I tend to ramble on in my older age, dear reader. Please forgive me. Ever since talking about the book a few weeks ago to my fellow journalist Cecil Lawson, who keeps the Bath County News on track each week and who dis- cussed the book with some Bath students, I've had the Outsiders and that Robert Frost poem on my mind. Coupled with the Thanks- giving Holiday, which brought back a flood of memories to yours truly last week and filled my heart with new memories with my growing boy, I had to expel the thoughts from within me that had begun to mesmerize me, and taunt me with endless possibili- ties when I look into Cas- sidy's eyes. He is innocent and curi- ous and yearns to learn and do more. I hope he stays golden. By Cecil Lawson "He who fights with mon- sters should be careful lest he thereby become a mon- ster. And if thou gaze longinto an abyss, the abyss will'also gaze into thee." " -- - Friedrich Nietzche, Be- yond Good and Evil (1886) "Darkness is good. Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That's power. It only helps us when they get it wrong. When theyYe blind to who we are and what wdre do- ing.|! - Steve Bannon, recently appointed senior strategist for Donald Trump, in a No- vember 18 interview with Michael Wolf in The Holly- wood Reporter. I promise you, readers, this will be my only political column this year. The dust is beginning to settle on the 2016 Presi- dential election, and Pres- ident-Elect Donald Trump is slowly bringing together his cab'met picks and advi- sors to help kick off his first 100 days in days, the typical "grace period" most candi- dates get that sets the tone for their administration. An unusual candidate like Trump is not taking the well- trod road of many previous candidates in getting ready to occupy the White House (if he occupies it much at all, given his preference for Trump Tower so far). While I don't subscribe to the doom-and-gloom per- spectives of some, I do not feel hopeful about the years ahead in our country. I have to gracefuliy dis- agree with the majority of my fellow voters in Bath County and across Kentucky who have viewed Trump as an agent of change for the better in America. This year's presidential campaign - its historic firsts, its rhetoric, its promises and its lies, and its high level of anger - opened up a deep, dark place in the American psyche, and weql just have to wait and see what comes out. What's been unleashed so far, to my eyes, has been a giant surge of testosterone. From a President-Elect who preached American Greatness at the top of his lungs for the last 15 months, to his disquieting political rallies sometimes filled with SOME DARKNESS AHEAD violence against protest- ers, to the newly energized white nationalist and white supremacists groups giving Seig Heil salutes and spray painting swastikas, to those who celebrate Trump's bil- lionaire lifestyle excesses since the 1980s, to those who feel emboldened by his politically incorrect rants against women and minori- ties, we are witnessing the re u'n of the Alpha Male to the.public stage. Just as Hillary Clinton was poised to be the first woman to crash through the glass ceiling from below that has kept women from rising to the heights of economic and political power in the world, Americans turned out in droves across the country to vote against everything that Clinton represented - her ambition, her sometimes ethically questionable ac- tions, her message of justice and opportunity for all strug- gling groups in America - to elect a powerful, egotistical man who is the mirror im- age of her. These opposite energies and symmetries of the can- didates and their campaigns over this past year tells me that there is a great deal more at work inside the American mind than simply angry white non-college- educated blue collar work- ers tired of' globalist liberal elites in Washington. I think we are witnessing a much deeper metaphysi- cal baffle over the future of our country and our world. There are many things in the past, and present, which have contributed to this situ- ation: * The wild weather has scared the heck out of peo- ple over the past decade. Hurricane Katrina deeply unsettled people in Septem- ber 2005 and left a lasting impression of powerless- ness against the forces of na- ture and the severity of the last two winters was another blow to a nation that mostly become accustomed to mild winters since the late 1990s. Conservatives may deny man-made climate change, but they can't deny that the erratic weather of recent years is unusual nor the un- settling effect is has had on people's nerves each year. * We haven't yet recov- ered from the Great Reces- sion. While the economy is now producing jobs after a tough eight years, the qual- ity of those jobs is not great. I've seen a lot of people struggle since 2008 to hold their incomes and lifestyles together. It's a simple real- ity that many overlook that, as long as we have a market- based economy, there are going to be boom-and-bust cycles. This last bust shat- tered a lot of the prosperity enjoyed under the real es- tate boom, and it doesn't ap- pear to be coming back any time, unless our President- Elect has his own trump card up his sleeve. * About 42 percent of the eligible voting popula- tion did not show up at the polls on November 8. While much is being made of Clin- ton's (at presen0 2 million vote lead over Trump in the popular vote, and Trump continues to claim that mil- lions of votes were fraudu- lent, about 96 million peo- ple who could have voted, didn't. It is easy to blame that on the easy targets of apathy and lack of interest, but given the deep media saturation of this election, and given how it appeared to deeply motivate so many millions of others, it is hard to understand why more people didn't turn out to the polls (unless they couldn't, for some reason, but that's a whole other story). * We are still in an ongo- ing war against terrorism. While terrorism coming out of the Middle East has been a fixture most of my adult life, it wasn't until Septem- ber 11, 2001, that it became the front and center threat to American safety at home and abroad. Since that time, we have carried out mili- tary operations all over world to put the skids on radical Islamic inspired ter- rorism, and the threat has only morphed. While we made war on Afghanistan in search of Osama bin Laden, our war on Saddam Hussein in Iraq took place on less shaky grounds, and it re- sulted in an extreme desta- bilization across the Middle East that led to the "Arab Spring," the rise of ISIS, and the ongoing bloody civil war in Syria, which now almost has the status of World War. I don't have any answers. And I don't think any elected official has all the answers, either. That's why coopera- tion matters now more than ever, even at the moment of our greatest division. Compromise has become a dirty word in current po- litical discourse, for fear of contaminating our own sup- posed moral purity in hold- hag on to our most extreme opinions. But clinging to our high- est ideals out of fear is not the solution. I sincerely wish our Pres- ident-Elect well in the com- ing days. He's going to need all the help he can get. 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