The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local Columns

December 27, 2011

Primus Mootry: New Year's and new fears

ANDERSON, Ind. — It is next to impossible to go into a new year without reflecting on the previous one. Time does not come in boxes. More than anything else, the human condition is experienced in terms of trends, eras and ages.

For this reason, all the hoopla surrounding New Year’s Day is mostly just that — hoopla. We say “ring out the old, bring in the new!” But what does that mean? In reality, the “old” is not yet old, and the “new” is unknown.

For example, the seminal event of the last decade or so was the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The attack prompted widespread speculation that, for a variety of reasons, America would never be the same again.

Barack Obama’s ascendance to the presidency brought with it the faint hope that things would get better; that America had become post-racial in its thinking; that the deep wounds of 9/11 would be healed; that the economy would right itself; and that Obama’s promise of change would become a reality.

Instead, we find ourselves in a time of greater fear and uncertainty. A few years ago, Sarah Palin asked Americans, “how’s that hopey, changey thing working out for you?”

Though the remark was no doubt intended to deride the Obama presidency, it had merit. Where is our best hope?

To the point, the three institutions — home, school and church — that historically have been viewed as the pillars of our society appear to be crumbling.

As to the home, unemployment rates at 9 percent (and double or triple that for many working class groups) combined with wildly unscrupulous home loan schemes has led to depression-era levels of home foreclosures.

What that means is that many entire families are either homeless or dependent on government programs, family and friends to keep them in their homes.  

Nearly half of America’s people are one or two paychecks away from poverty. Fifteen million American children are already in its grip.

At the same time, as an institution, the family is changing dramatically. Primarily due to high divorce rates, the traditional nuclear family (dad, mom, Dick, and Jane, and Spot) is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

Schools? All the way from preschool to the university level, America’s schools are undergoing fundamental changes, primarily due to a lost commitment to public education.

In addition, however, highly publicized incidents of violence and the misdeeds of, no doubt, a relatively few teachers, coaches and school administrators, have led to a sharp increase in the rise of home schooling.

To the point, parents do not want to send their children to schools viewed as failure factories.  And worse, no parents send their children to any school with even the faintest expectation that it is a place where they may be harmed.

As with schools, churches are experiencing their own troubles. Again, due to the much publicized misdeeds of what is probably just a handful of pastors, ministers, priests and other church leaders, people are losing faith in the church as an institution.

Without going into any great detail about it, if our basic institutions — home, school and church — are in trouble, are we not in trouble as a society? According to recent polls, at 11 percent, our lost faith in government is alarming.

We are witnessing the emergence of powerful new groups such as the tea party and Occupy Wall Street. Also, the press of citizen groups such as gay rights activists and immigrant populations is placing new stresses on a government people already have lost faith in.

In the face of these and other well documented man-made or natural threats, like it or not, whether we can control it or not, change is coming. Change is here.

I suspect, however, that change of whatever magnitude is not our great enemy. Our great enemy is lost hope.

Our great enemy lies in the failure to understand the power of loving our neighbors as ourselves.  Our great enemy is holding on to ancient seeds of hate instead of planting new seeds of hope.

In the final analysis, the change we seek is in ourselves. We will find it only if we believe in ourselves and in God.

As it is written, God is love. Men will either begin to act on this simple precept, or continue on the ancient dangercourse to self-destruction.

Have a nice day.

Primus Mootry is an Anderson resident. His column is published each Wednesday.

Text Only
Local Columns
  • Maureen Hayden Maureen Hayden: Helping those with a criminal record

    In 2009, when then-candidate Matt Ubelhor was knocking on doors in the rural southern Indiana district he now represents in the General Assembly, he kept hearing the same story from countless constituents: They’d lost their jobs in a bad economy and couldn’t get another one because they couldn’t past a background check that revealed some long-ago arrest or conviction.

    April 14, 2013 1 Photo

  • Colip, Angie.jpg Angie Colip: Old, used bowling balls cause dilemma

    I have a question of the week. What becomes of bowling balls once they are no longer being used by their owner? I have a house that is full of unused bowling balls. The front closet and even my living room have become overrun with them.

    January 31, 2013 1 Photo

  • De la Bastide, Ken.jpg Ken de la Bastide: Young guns come up short

    With 10 laps remaining at the ARCA/CRA Speedfest at Watermelon Capital Speedway it appeared that three drivers under the age of 19 were going to take the top three positions.
    Chase Elliott was leading chased by Erik Jones and John Hunter Nemechek, but through a number of cautions over the final circuits none of the young guns would record a podium finish.

    January 29, 2013 1 Photo

  • What's Where: Nov. 20

    Local meetings and activities are scheduled:

    November 20, 2012

  • images_sizedimage_001185455 Verna Davis: Avoid a diet; feed on the Word

    OK, people. I concede that I am “middle-aged,” even though the thought terrifies me.

    August 24, 2012 1 Photo

  • Maureen Hayden Maureen Hayden column: Updating voter registry will take time, money

    Earlier this year, I wrote a series of columns bemoaning the low voter turnout in the May primary and asked why only 20 percent of Indiana’s 4.4 million registered voters bothered to go to the polls.

    July 22, 2012 1 Photo

  • wilkerson, jesse Jesse Wilkerson column: There is a solution to your problem

    I ran across this exercise several years ago. If you ever have been by my office at the Mounds Mall you will see the same nine dots you see below on my door as a constant reminder of this exercise.

    July 22, 2012 2 Photos

  • Howey NEW.jpg Brian Howey: Daniels at Purdue raises questions over potential conflicts

    At the advent of the Mitch Daniels governorship, a close ally of his told me that the new governor always had a long-range plan.

    July 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • Dulaney c.jpg Emmett Dulaney: Are risk and vesting correlated?

    In business, as in life, the safest thing to do is often nothing. If you don’t take a chance, you can usually avoid the dangers that could befall those who do venture outside the norm and propose new businesses, new products or otherwise embrace risk in the pursuit of reward.

    July 2, 2012 1 Photo

  • Dulaney c.jpg Emmett Dulaney: Price is the most flexible variable

    A funny thing happened on the way to purchasing a book from — the price changed. Forty-two times within a 30-day period.

    June 11, 2012 1 Photo

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin