By Dan Mullis
These and many other thoughts went through my mind on this past Father's Day.
In a TV commercial recently aired, Erica was having a bad day. She had spilled coffee on her computer keyboard, she had stepped her fashion high heels in some gum, and she got a parking ticket. To take out her frustration for the bad day, she went to a gym and beat on and kicked a heavy punching bag. It was a credit card advertisement. Two other commercials, among dozens, that same evening brought to my attention that if I wasn't making my teeth whiter, life was passing me by and I would probably be a failure. Another one informed me that if I were not using a certain toilet paper life would be uncomfortable. Scary stuff.
What sort of stood out was, one of the shows on that evening was about the wars, atrocities and starvation in one of the African countries. Pick a country; there are many suffering unbelievable things. The focus of this particular story was a woman and her child. The child was sick and starving to death, the woman had been raped several times, she had very few teeth left, she had no food, no medicine, no shelter, no shoes, no government agency to help, and no hope that things would get better. In the background there were hundreds more women and children in the same situation.
Getting gum stuck on 4-inch fashion heels was not a worry. If you don't have teeth you don't have to worry about how white they are. If you have no bathroom or sanitary conditions of any kind, you don't worry if your toilet paper is soft. There are bad days and then there are days life is hanging by a thread. The African lady also is probably frustrated by her day, but mostly she is dealing with them both dying.
As many times that different celebrities and politicians have been caught on video or camera doing something silly, immoral or illegal, you would think they would learn. There are cellphone cameras everywhere and everybody is looking to catch you doing something wrong so they can post it or sell it and become famous for it. Big brother cameras are on most street corners watching us. But, people keep on doing the silly stuff and keep getting in trouble for saying it or doing it. Especially prone to this are our bright (?) political wonders. They keep on recording their own goofiness and illegal messes. We just keep on electing them. We reap what we elect. Our financially broke and politically broken state is a wonderful example of it. Can you name all of our governors sent to prison? A quick thought that I know won't fly, but why couldn't there be a South Illinois and a North Illinois? I know, I know.
In my youthful school days, I was taught our government was set up with three branches to have a series of checks and balances so no one branch could control everything. I now wonder about that. We have a 435-member Congress, a 100-member Senate, both elected by the people and occasionally we have referendums voted on by the people and it can all be nullified by nine political appointees, really by five, who can't be fired. It has little to do with law and a lot to do with individual political leanings. Seems like more political checks than balance.
Watching the U.S. Open golf tournament on a beautiful course with beautiful people and millions of dollars represented while my favorite was having a rough (literally) time, I switched to another channel to catch the evening news and there was a different scene. Maimed dead bodies lying in the rubble of a Syrian city; quite a contrast, golf and death at the same time, two different worlds living at the same time. When you have been blessed with much, it is easy to take it for granted.
The best gift I received for Father's Day was our son and daughter-in-law taking our granddaughters camping. With their pink princess and red Mickey Mouse fishing poles, the girls were excited about fishing and ready to rough it in their tent. One doesn't like bugs, not sure how she will do with worms. To know our son is there for his daughters and loves them is the best gift I could have.
Our world is getting scarier each day and wondering what kind of future life our granddaughters will have is disconcerting to say the least. I hope to be around to enjoy seeing them grow into adulthood and see what they become. I pray that somehow people will come together to make this a better world for all of our grandchildren. "And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13.
Dan Mullis is a retired instrument maker at the University of Illinois. He resides in Danville.