Writers often write in a preferred style to get their message across. It might be informative. It might be persuasive or educational. There are many techniques to choose from and most writers will settle in on a style that they are most comfortable with. I tend to lean toward the anecdotal with a splash of analogies to get my point across.
Former Georgia Governor and United States Senator Zell Miller, who was and is an excellent writer, was often referred to as “Zig Zag Zell” based on his common stances on positions that would often lean toward the popularity or unpopularity of a given issue. Some would say that he was either “for it or against it” based on popular decry.
I enjoy feedback from people who read my writing. I always get a big kick out of people saying things like “well, when you put it that way; it makes perfect sense.” Or others have told me that they enjoy the comparisons of issues based on similar issues that make it more clear for them. Obviously, this is what I always try to do. However, there are others who have told me that while they enjoy my writing, they also are left with some confusion after having read an article. Apparently, not only do some of my readers have confusion about the topic; they have confusion about exactly where I might stand on the issue. One old fellow once told me that he just wished I would just say it. “Just tell me what you are thinking,” he said. “Leave the stories and analogies behind and tell me what you really think.” In an attempt not to be categorized as a current day Don Quixote, or heaven forbid a zigger or a zagger, I think today I will do just that. I’ll just say it.
I think our country is in big trouble. Is that clear enough for starters? I think that if we don’t make some major changes, and our country continues in its current path, it will barely resemble the country that has been the beacon for freedom, hope and opportunity for hundreds of years.
I also think that the change we need can only be achieved if we understand the brevity and direness of the situation. To those of us who refuse to budge and continue to dwell on singular issues without regard to the larger picture as a whole, even if it means certain defeat without some semblance of conversation, we will surely lose this battle. While a victory may not guarantee these issues being moved forward, a defeat will guarantee that they won’t.
I believe that the divide that we see in our country is a dangerous one. This is no longer a situation of friendly politics, but one that has evolved into a destructive and vicious cycle that only hides under the veil of politics. When political issues become so dug in that people are unable to move in any direction, we as a society and a country will follow that same fate.
Our country is being watched so very carefully now and there are those throughout the world who pray daily for our demise and have never felt stronger. When we cater to hate and acts of violence with apologies, we only strengthen their resolve. Countries in all corners of the world, who have always looked to us to take the lead, worry that our weakened responses is a sign of turning our backs on them.
I also think that if we take a close look at ourselves and commit to the issue at hand, and push individual and personal agendas back at least long enough to regain the leadership that we all agree is needed, we can turn the tide. If we cannot, the tide may already be out.
So there it is, I just said it. Perhaps short on style and popularity, but I hope very clear. That is what I’m thinking today, plain and simple, for everyone to read. Just as some may say that I don't say enough; I remember clearly my Mom saying on occasions that sometimes I just say too much. I suspect Mom knows me best.
That’s what I'm thinking about….how about you?
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Stan L. Hall is the former (retired) director of the Victim Witness Program for the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office.