- Confederate items irrelevant in 21st century (8/20/17)
- It's illegal to kill a rattlesnake (7/3/16)
- Accusations were unnecessary (6/5/16)
- Justice center should be in safe location (5/19/16)
- Trash doesn't belong along the roadside (1/31/16)
- Public records access should usually be free (8/16/15)
- Want daily insults? Trump's the man (8/9/15)
Real life isn't what leaders think
Gnarled, wrinkled hands push the lawn mower...or plow...or tractor.
Sweat pours from the brow of the old man who's spent his life helping feed others as well as his own family.
In a nearby farmhouse, his wife shuffles to the kitchen,smiling at a wall full of photos ad mementos of a hard-working life -- and, of course, grandchildren -- as she passes. Smells of a tasty dinner fill the home. Her life of hard work, in a factory in younger years and as a "homemaker" in the full sense of the word all her adult life, is reflected in the lines on her face.
And they worry. Will their health insurance cover the inevitable health problems of old age? Can they live out their remaining lives in their home? Will they be able keep their home if illness strikes hard?
Down the road a piece, a young couple with children makes their way through life.
He makes enough to pay part of the bills from a job he hates. He keeps hearing "jobs...jobs...jobs" in the news but all he hears of pay only a minimum living wage. She's working, too, but it's not enough. They're both tired.
A few miles away, a young school teacher studies the numbers on her paycheck...and thinks. Can she ever pay off those student loans? Why did getting an education have to cost so much so long after she's graduated? She thought her degree would mean a prosperous life, not paying so much of her paycheck to someone else.
In town, the rich, or so people think, businessman runs his fingers through what's left of his graying hair. He cares about his employees but the money's just not there anymore to keep all of them. Missed payments keep piling up on his toys - his speedboat, his stable of sports cars and the luxury SUV he drives to work every day. What goes first -- his employees or his things?
The next block over in a middle-class subdivision, a mother worries about her daughters. She fears they'll be mislead into growing up to be the next Miley Cyrus...and about crude immorality within a pretty outer package. Seems like every TV star these days looks like a porn queen or king, she thinks.
Passing by in his car is a young black man. He wants to be able to walk into a store late at night or jog through the streets of his neighborhood at sunrise without feeling like he's being watched. The Trayvon Martin case hit home with him.
These are a few of the faces of America...and Bedford County. We wish. We hope. We want. We need. And we wonder why...
Meanwhile, in Nashville and Washington, and in campaign headquarters of candidates, politicians and wanna-bes plot their next schemes, disguised as laws, and spew their lastest rounds of half-truths, distortions or flat-out lies.
And they don't have a clue how real people live. How sad.
--David Melson is the Times-Gazette's copy editor. E-mail him at email@example.com.