Reader's View: Voters can heed values of the past
My great-great grandfather was a Union soldier from Missouri during the Civil War. He was a self-educated man who emigrated to join his brother in Oregon. His name was Anthony Huston Helms Jr., called “Pike” because he was from Missouri. He was a proud Republican and an early member of the GOP, as were most Civil War veterans. He published a small-town newspaper during the first two decades of the 1900s called the Mitchell Sentinel.
He wrote the following under the headline “Why Don’t We?”
“Some of our readers complain that we don't publish all the news. Indeed, there is sometimes news that we don’t want to publish. Some people announce that they print all the news — ‘let the chips fall where they may.’ This sounds mighty fine. In our office we keep many items, and fail to see others; no good can come from any publication of any item which will wring a mother’s heart, bring sorrow to an innocent child, or wreck the peace of a suffering wife. We don’t print such items. Call it suppression if you please; we decide these matters for ourselves.”
I still believe these simple but eloquent words should be the guide for both Republican and Democratic leaders. To do otherwise is to divide us. In our modern, instant-access world, we already have far too many things dividing us. We need leaders to find the commonality of our diverse experiences and to lead us to focus on the changes we need to make if we are to solve the complexities of our new realities.
You can’t do this with name-calling, belittling, lying, or put-downs. We are better than that. As voters, we must seek out candidates who believe in the honesty and values expressed long ago by “Pike.”
Michael J. Smith