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80 Years Ago

Archives 07-12-2000

North County Lines by Bob

An Award Winning Column

For comments or questions contact Bob at bobncl@hotmail.com



I was recently asked why I don't write about issues instead of telling stories in North County Lines. Okay, I'll try. But to keep from being controversial, I'll stick to topics like religion and politics.

While thumbing through a big city newspaper, I saw a letter to the editor from a Jewish teenager. Following a lead sentence about his Bar Mitzvah and a trip to Israel with his parents, the 13-year-old wrote, "I disagree with those who call Israel the Promised Land. I was born and raised in the United States of America. This is the Promised Land."

A picnic to honor baseball great Jackie Robinson brought outcries of racism from students at the University of New York. The students claimed picnic originally referred to lynchings of blacks. Not true. Picnic is a 17th-century French word that describes a gathering in which each person brings a different food.

Jackie Robinson wouldn't have objected to the word picnic. He endured the boos and the threats, the thrown bottles and the hate mail. Jackie Robinson fought too many real battles to waste time protesting imaginary wrongs.

Many who call themselves Christians say they want public prayer even though Jesus instructed his followers not to participate in public displays of religion.

Many who say they're in favor of public prayer don't know what they want. The answers to the following questions will illustrate what I mean.

Would you want to participate in a Christian prayer at a public function? Would you want to participate in a Hindu prayer at a public function? Would you want to participate in a Moslem prayer at a public function? Would you want to participate in a Buddhist prayer at a public function?

If you answered yes to all four questions, you're in favor of public prayer. If you answered yes to only one, your bias is intact.

Ho. Hum. Bush or Gore for president. How boring. Does it really matter if Tweedledee or Tweddledumber is elected?

Both are cut from the same fabric. Neither knows what working for a living is like. Neither understands what hard times are.

Both are spoiled children of rich parents. Both are boys, middle-aged, but boys nevertheless. "Mommy, Daddy, help me. I can't win without you. "Daddy, Mommy, make him stop slinging mud at me."

We don't need boys running this country. We need capable leaders, molded in the likeness of Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower. Good ol' Rough and Ready. Didn't back down from anything. Spoke his mind. Didn't straddle the fence for votes from each side. Cared about working Americans, about veterans. Broke the backs of big businesses that had grown rich through the labors of women and children who worked in hell holes 16 hours a day, every day.

Good ol' Ike. Led the allied forces to victory on the European front. Stopped the Korean War. Spoke out against the C.I.A. Called his Vice President a liar and a crook when Nixon got caught taking bribes and denied it on TV.

Many people think Johnson or Kennedy was the first president to send troops into a state to stop racist acts. Many people are wrong.

In 1958, a governor ordered the National Guard in his state to prevent blacks from registering to vote instead of providing protection for the blacks as Eisenhower had ordered.

Ike didn't hesitate. He sent in paratroopers. Not being stupid enough to face soldiers who knew how to fight, the weekend warriors hightailed it to safety. The paratroopers restored order and carried out Ike's command.

Paratroopers are tough. While drinking in a stripper bar in North Carolina, I watched four of them go up against a dozen or more members of a motorcycle gang.

When the brawl was over, the paratroopers were standing. The motorcycle thugs who weren't unconscious had beat it out the door.

A year earlier, in 1969, I buzzed my hair off, when long hair became fashionable instead of a sign of contempt for the actions of a corrupt establishment.

When lawyers and insurance salesmen began wearing their hair long, I knew my shoulder-length growth had to go.

Thinking I was one of their kind or similar because of my buzz cut, the paratroopers headed in my direction.

"Whatcha drinking?" one of them asked.

"Double shot of tequila," I replied.

"Chasing it with anything? another one asked.

"Yeah," I said, "a double shot of tequila."

"Set him up, barkeep," another one said, "and keep 'em coming."

I'm not bragging. But my capacity for alcohol was almost limitless during my younger days.

Three hours later, the paratroopers were too drunk to move and I was just getting wound up when the first stripper of the night jiggled onto the stage.

Billed as Wanda the Amazing Snake Woman, she danced with a boa constrictor that hissed and slithered every time she wiggled her . . . Oops, I almost forgot. I'm not supposed to be telling a story.

I'm supposed to be writing about issues. Which is so important, I might do the same next week or next year or the year after. But don't count on it.



Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570
tel 931.823.6485
fax 931.823.6486

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