It’s been awhile since I’ve given you some of my opinions and it’s hard to believe how fast time has been flying, so here are some more of my Ramblings of a Skeptic:
• Well, it’s another year of politics as usual in both the State of Illinois as well as with those folks we send to Washington to do the people’s work. Sometimes I wonder why we bother with elections. It seems to me there are two ways to solve this problem. The first would be term limits on all State and Federal elected officials.
Ha! Ha! We all know that will never happen. The second way is for we the people, at least in the great state of Illinois to vote in all new candidates. What are the chances of that happening?
• In the world of sports, which I don’t follow much, I do know that the Chicago Blackhawks brought the Stanley Cup back to the city again in 2013 and hopefully will do it again in a couple of months.
What a great young team they have put together. Otherwise, there was not much to cheer about from the Bears, Cubs, White Sox or Chicago Fire.
The news I keep hearing North Side about the Cubs and the roof top owners sounds like a total fiasco. I don’t know who the person or persons were who ever allowed the building owners to build their businesses from a product that was not theirs. How could the city of Chicago ever allow this unorthodox business to grow into what it has become? If the stalemate is allowed to slow or stop the Cubs building plans the city fathers should be held accountable.
• Another fiasco in the baseball world is the Alex Rodriquez mess that has taken the sport to a new low. As an ex fan, I don’t know how long people will continue to support baseball. I know that I will not pay the price to see a major league game.
• The news that Frank Thomas and Greg Maddux were voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame was a wonderful way to begin the New Year. It was exciting to read about their great honor of being chosen to enter the Hall at Cooperstown. I have been to the Hall of Fame — twice in fact. It was a great experience that was shared with my wife and two sons.
• Last year, we had a changing of the guard of the editor at The Reporter Newspaper with Jeff Vorva now running the ship of print. He has made the changeover with some new ideas, new staff members and new columns that should be of interest to the readers. But I have to say thanks for letting me continue my Civil War series.
• I volunteer at Hines V.A. Hospital and have a part time job at Ace Hardware. While working at Ace and volunteering at Hines I have met some WWII veterans. When my wife was working at her last job before retiring, one of the owners of the business was also a WWII veteran. My father served for a short time during WWII (he died in January 2001).
The fellows I want to honor are Augie, Bill, John and Larry. All of these men are in their 90’s and still active. It has been my privilege to get to know them and hear some of their stories. They all have a special place in my heart.
This time I want to tell you something about my friend Bill; I don’t think he will mind. Bill and his wife Maxine have done something that I think deserves mentioning. They have attended Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago for more than 40 consecutive years.
Those men and women that served during WWII were most certainly members of the Greatest Generation ever in the history of the United States.
• Whenever you get the opportunity, take time to thank a veteran. It wasn’t just the returning veterans from Vietnam that went unappreciated. During the Great Depression the veterans of WWI went to Washington, D.C. to beg for their bonuses that were not due to be paid until 1945. They felt they had stood up when the U.S. needed them; and now when they needed help, their government should step up. President Hoover said the government could not afford to move up the 1945 due date.
• Has anyone ever heard of the Four Minute Men? This was a group of men (and maybe women) that went around the country speaking to groups to instill patriotism in our nation as the war effort moved ahead. If you know anything about this please let me know.
• Chicago used to be called the city that works, but for how much longer? For now, more borrowing, more selling off of city assets and more kicking the can down the road. All the while the mayor rakes in more campaign cash, mostly from developers that want help with their multimillion dollar projects. Sounds like business as usual in Chicago to me.
• The phrase “Money talks” is still the gold standard in Chicago and Illinois politics. As my wife and I ease into the last years of our lives, it would be wonderful to see the state and the nation get back on the right track.
• I have a few parting words from our commander-in-chief.
Over the last year or so, he has said things such as: “I didn’t know Benghazi was a terrorist attack.” “I didn’t know the NSA was spying on you.” “I didn’t know what the IRS was doing.” “I didn’t know the WEB site didn’t work.” “I didn’t know you would lose your insurance.” “I don’t know why you don’t trust me.”
No, I don’t trust you, Mr. President. You could not even read the Gettysburg Address correctly in honor of its 150th anniversary.
Donald C. White is a historian from Palos Hills who also has some pointed opinions on things that happened after the Civil War as well.