GENDUSA COLUMN: In search of common sense

Published 7:17 pm Tuesday, April 11, 2023

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Violence killing innocent children, vicious wars raging, vandals roaming our streets, vitriol running amok, and vengeance among leaders permeates our society.  Folks, is anyone able to sleep? Aren’t we tired of the rage, the destruction, the loudmouths and the hate-seeking missiles thrown at us daily?

There is an answer to many of our issues today. It is elementary but hard to implement because we have leaders who love power more, unity less, and will use any tactic to maintain their fame status. And some not-so-famous stubborn folks who refuse to budge off their stumps to listen to reason.  But still, there is help for many of our societal problems. 

It is the implementation of COMMON SENSE. 

My dad couldn’t spell c-a-t.  It took him a while to graduate from high school, but he was smart enough to marry my mother, the valedictorian. “Yes, my brilliance showed the day I wed Elizabeth!” He would tell us. Mom always shook her head when he joked about his inability to spell or balance a checkbook. She understood that despite his low grades in school, his raw reasoning intellect was astounding.  “Your dad has more common sense than anyone I have ever known.” Mom was right.

Our government discusses using common sense measures for gun control and other legislation, but no one uses common sense to implement common sense, which makes no sense. Excuses, blame, party alignment, retaining power, and outside influences blur the lines of rational thinking. For example, most reasonable people do not want to take away the right to gun ownership, but I don’t believe many of us feel the mentally ill or felons should be permitted to purchase weapons. 

Assault weapon ownership, even though once banned for 10 years, has become a political juggernaut and control issue.  So, while folks are battling over rights, party politics, investigating one another, spreading fault, and building committees, more than 398 children and teens have died due to gun violence this year. By tomorrow, it will be more. 

So, in other words, no one is using plain common sense to devise a pragmatic solution to a horrific problem.  We pass laws to protect the unborn child, but what about the child born who would like to continue to live?

Like many Americans, I tire of seeing those pointing fingers across the Congressional aisles. We are putting earplugs in our ears to avoid the sanctimonious folks who produce nothing but boisterous words full of hostility. 

There is much work we need our elected officials to do. All know we have immigration problems, national mental health issues, educational challenges, and ongoing economic woes, but our leaders have swayed so radically right or liberally left they can’t see that practical solutions are most likely found in the center.  Using common sense sometimes means putting a pause on the verbal fighting and shutting mouths long enough to reason and listen.

This ongoing, relentless division is destructive to America and the dreams of our young, which is tragically unfair. Common sense should tell us that what will make America’s future remarkable is our children, not our mean, uncivil uncompromising political persuasions. 

Such an egregious lack of promoting unity is also unjust to the soldiers who have died defending the United States. Those liberals and conservatives of every race and religion banded together and gave their lives to protect our incredible country. They didn’t die for us to lack the common sense to solve our problems or govern with screaming voices instead of contemplative intelligence.

In a sermon by Martin Luther King, Jr. at a Montgomery, Alabama Baptist Church on November 27, 1957, he preached, “Somewhere somebody must have some sense. Men must see hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. And it is all a descending spiral, ultimately ending in destruction for all and everybody. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love.”

Boy, do we all need that kind of preaching today! We must remind ourselves of the importance of thinking clearly, objectively, and without bias to obtain a peaceful, productive future for America.  

You see, common sense goes a long way. My valedictorian mother married a man who couldn’t spell c-a-t. Yet, my mother never needed to work outside the home for a day in her life.  However, she was the expert who managed the checkbook, wrote the letters, and governed the house. Mom and Dad were quite different, but they operated jointly to create a productive, respected daily life we relied on.   

Solutions to problems always require work, compromise and intelligence. Helping our nation grow positively is only attainable if we have the wisdom to try using common sense. Perhaps then, we all will get a better night’s sleep.