Letter: Choices, decisions in 2013 to shape the rest of our lives

Jan. 05, 2013 @ 12:38 AM

Editor:

As I reflect on the past years and wonder what is ahead for my family, my friends, our country and our world, I think that as much as we would like to think otherwise, we have a systemic illness, a serious spiritual illness or evil, afoot. In just the past few years the values and morals of our great nation have radically changed, and not for the better.

Who would have predicted mass killings by psychopaths running amok in schools, theaters and other unexpected places. Instead of blaming the killers, we blame the guns they used. When are we going to address the real problem? What are we going to do when all the guns are gone and they start using poison gas and bombs like they do in other parts of the world?

Mitt Romney was castigated for saying 47 percent of voters had a victim mentality and felt “owed” by the rest of society. I don’t believe that 47 percent is accurate, but the number who feel this way is substantial. Our country was founded on the principle of opportunity, free will and self-determination. Don’t get me wrong, anyone may need a helping hand at one time or another, but not as a way of life.

Not that long ago homosexuality was known and accepted but was kept discrete as it was generally accepted not to be biologically normal. Now homosexuality is celebrated and same-sex marriage is being demanded. Speaking of marriage, an increasing percentage of couples are forgoing the spiritual and civil commitment for them and their children. The issue is not marriage. The issue is applied commitment.

Abortion of an unborn child as a means of avoiding responsibility has risen dramatically with legality determined by when life begins. Partial-birth abortions, termination of late term pregnancies, were declared illegal in 2003 but are still commonly performed despite the law.

The fiduciary and moral responsibility of major corporations has shocked our nation in recent years with the raping and pillaging of corporate profits and retirement funds. Respected leaders of industry have been exposed as common crooks.

We place such great importance on so much that is of no importance. We worship celebrity to the extent it has become a multi-billion dollar industry. People that we don’t know and will never meet, influence our values, and our moral judgment. Of what personal effect does Kim Kardashian or Justin Bieber have on us that we should have such interest in them? In the grand scheme of things, how important is who wins the Super Bowl or World Series?

20th century poet and philosopher George Santayana famously said, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” If nothing else, maybe we should reflect on the Roman Empire and the decadence that destroyed it, or, more recently, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (Russia) and its demise under socialism.

2013 will be a year of choices and decisions that will shape the rest of our lives. Maybe we should take the time to reflect on our own personal values and the effect on others. I have had 70 new years. I probably do not have many more. Most readers still have the time and ability to make a difference, but will you?

Grant Alford

Gatlinburg