Under seize

The vital institutions of freedom are under attack today as never before. The center of the storm seems to be focused on a free press.

Our founders knew that freedom of the press and differences of opinion would be the foundation of this new democracy.

Today, though, many journalists are looked upon as enemies of freedom. A free press is denounced as a propaganda lying machine designed to cripple politicians and to bring down the country.

“Fake news” is the rallying cry. “Didn’t happen. Fabricated. A big fraud.”

This one big jab at the very center of the swirling storm is criticism aimed at suppressing our free press.  

This effort reminds me of a wild group of vigilantes with torches seeking out innocent journalists on the run.

Right now you are holding in your hands a news product whose mission it is to report the news and to get it right.

Then, you can decide whether you are for or against the subject based on accurate information. That’s the foundation of democracy. For us to be informed and to then to make our stands.

The late Dr. Frank Stewart, president of Troy State College, used to say, “Win, lose or draw, I’m behind you 100 percent.” 

This seems to be the message I get every week as I read The Villager. Readers seeking accurate information known as the truth can find it on its pages and then make up their own minds.

Nothing fake about the news you’re reading. Nothing slanted about the opinions you’re getting.


Actors who were cool, timeless

My wife, Jean, is a writer and an actor. She excels at both, and, to me, it’s pretty cool she can keep two balls in the air at the same time.

I’m OK at a few things, and that’s about it. Acting is not one of them. And I can’t build or repair anything, but am reasonably good at house cleaning, if any of you readers are in need of such.

My parents, and yours, taught us that to do anything well it takes long hours of hard, repetitious work and discipline. In other words, practice, practice, practice.

Because my wife is an actor   and actors practice for perfection —  three ageless actors I admire come to mind: Humphrey Bogart, Paul Newman and Katherine Hepburn. On screen, the three were super good and super cool in every role they played. 

Behind the scenes, the actors worked tirelessly to learn their lines and to get into the psyches of the characters they portrayed. Their labored effort was to make it look simple. We admire those who can do that. No small achievement.

The masses who are running for political offices can learn from good actors. They can keep their script lines simple, they can stay cool under fire, and they can maintain their integrity and dignity. 

Also, good actors are a little wacky, like Peter Sellers and Laurel and Hardy. Watching them perform makes it much easier to get through stressful times.

Life seems to go better if we’re less uptight. Great communicators have taught us this valuable lesson. Politicians with a since of humor are a rare breed. We need more of them.


First ‘first ladies’

I know this sounds a little sissy, but I’ve always admired the abilities of our first ladies.

They strive for normalcy and dignity in a life filled with the anxiety and hostility of politics.

Some have been better than others at taking up and promoting good causes, and we’ve had some pretty classy first ladies in my lifetime.

I go back all the way to when Bess Truman looked after the White House (which was then Blair House while the rotted White House was gutted inside and rebuilt). She chose many of the interior changes we see today in the White House.

Bess was shy and stayed out of sight, letting hubby Harry enjoy the bright lights and attention of the crowds. 

In my lifetime, based on what I’ve seen, read and heard, we’ve had some remarkable first ladies: Eleanor Roosevelt, Jacqueline Kennedy, Roselyn Carter, Betty Ford, Barbara Bush, Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, Nancy Reagan, Betty Ford, Michelle Obama — to mention some who come to mind.

They promoted public causes and taught us to be more self-aware. 

Eleanor became a champion of world peace, Roselyn of mental health, Betty of alcoholism, Lady Bird of public landscaping and beauty, Pat of volunteerism, Michelle of assistance for military families, Barbara and Laura of equal rights and human rights, Hillary of health care, Nancy of anti-drugs.

Each publicly supported a very worthwhile cause and kept us informed of progress. The presidencies of their husbands were better and far more effective because of the human causes their first ladies championed. 


Cool breezes

For a few days in late September a wonderful cool breeze was in the air at morning time, reminding us that fall is preparing its return to Dixie. 

It’s so invigorating to step outdoors and feel the breeze, like bathing in cool water. Hopefully, the hot and humid days will soon give way. The oven roast of heat that marks the sun’s journey across the sky will soon burn out. 

War Eagle will sail with the wind, and the Tigers of fall will pound out wins on the Plains. To the boys in orange and blue, you did your job Saturday, and I’m proud of you!

Ralph Morris is a retired newspaperman who lives near Auburn. His email is r.morris@ctvea.net. 

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