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Jim's Jottings

A nation founded by geniuses, run by idiots?

March 26, 2014 - A long time ago, in my early newspapering days, I took an interest in Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois.

He was minority leader of the US Senate.

His low voice and slow delivery speeches were like magnets to me. Too many politicians today speak fast, double talk, over talk and otherwise seem to have a word competition going with themselves.

Dirksen had a mellow delivery of well-chosen words.

Here's one I saved from 1968. I think it was tv reporter Harry Reasoner who asked Mr. Dirksen about his stand on liquor sales. What he said was the greatest avoidance to a 'gotcha' question I'd ever witnessed.

"You asked me how I feel about whisky. All right, here is just how I stand on this question.

"If when you say whisky, you mean the devil's brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster that defiles innocence, yes, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacles of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation and despair, shame and helplessness; then certainly I am against it with all my power.

"But, if when you say whisky, you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, that is consumed when good fellows get together that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman's step on a frosty morning; if you mean the drink that enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness and to forget if only for awhile, life's great tragedies and heartbreaks and sorrows, if you mean drink, the sales of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm, to build highways hospitals and schools, then certainly I am in favor of it.

"This is my stand. I will not retreat from it; I will not compromise."

Don't you love it?

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I'm going to close with an observation of Jeff Foxworthy:

"If an 80-year-old woman or a 3-year-old girl who is confined to a wheelchair can be strip-searched by the TSA at the airport, but a woman in a burka or a hijab is only subject to have her neck and head searched -- you might live in a nation founded by geniuses but run by idiots."

One more from Jeff Foxworthy:

"If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more government regulation and intrusion, while not working is rewarded with Food Stamps, WIC checks, Medicaid benefits, subsidized housing and free cell phones--you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots."

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A charity roast of Jim Sherman, Sr., is Saturday April 12 , starting at 6 p.m. Tickets are $70 each or $130 a couple. Seating is limited to 250 and includes your choice of three meal options, prime rib, bone-in pork loin or salmon fillet. Cash bar at 6; dinner at 7 p.m. The roast is at Boulder Pointe Banquet Center, l Champions Circle in Oxford. You are encouraged to mail checks and dinner choices to the Rotary Club of Oxford, PO Box 347, Oxford, NIT 48371.

Jim Sherman, Sr. is president of Sherman Publications, Inc. He has penned "Jim's Jottings" since 1955.
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