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Guest Column

August 17, 2010

Chuck Pinkey: ‘Ancient history’: A simpler time, not so long ago

Chuck Pinkey is pinch-hitting this week for Tom Sears while Sears is in Romania. Sears’ column will resume upon his return.

By Chuck Pinkey

Last week we were on vacation at the Finger Lakes. My wife and me, our two daughters, my son and his fiancee all piled into a small cottage for a week of fun in the sun. Had the makings of a real disaster.

After settling in, it was time to take a shower. Lo and behold, I noticed more than a dozen bottles of various shampoos. It was very confusing!  

We had Essence of Rain Forest with 23 secret plant extracts, Cherry Blossom enhanced with rice milk, Cucumber and Yogurt with vanilla scents, and numerous shampoos for stressed hair, colored hair, and one that cured split ends and enhanced your natural shine.

I chose the shampoo for stressed hair. Figuring that I have so little hair left, it must be stressed! Once that was accomplished, it was time for a bar of soap. Where’s the soap? I found bottles of body wash! Some were just aloe but others included aloe with strawberry cream and aloe with natural skin conditioners. I chose the aloe with calming creams that “give my skin baby softness”!

Now that I’m stress-free and my skin is softer than a baby’s butt, it is time for dinner. After we boat to the waterfront restaurant and make fools of ourselves trying to dock, I order a cold beer.

The young barmaid asks, “Would you like Bud Lime, Honey Ale, Amber Cream or Blue Moon?” Whatever happened to just, plain beer? She seemed perplexed when I asked which one had aloe with calming creams.

That night at the campfire, we were talking about how times have changed. Moving past beer, shampoo and soap, my wife and I reminisced about what our children call “ancient history.”

But you know, it really wasn’t that long ago. My parents never went past eighth grade but could read and write proper English. They had penmanship. Teachers were respected and never second-guessed. We went to church every Sunday, and Father Brennan, our pastor, was the ultimate authority.

Next to God and family, America was loved the most. Our history was taught in schools and we had that feeling of pride in being an American. We knew that our country was the best on Earth and made no apologies!  I still don’t apologize!

We had a prosperity and freedom that my children will never know. Taxes never totaled more than 10 percent. Nowadays, if one figures all hidden taxes and fees to all levels of government, it totals 60 percent. If this is not oppression, what is?  We spend hundreds of billions on education and our children can’t add, subtract, spell or write a proper letter. As former Sen. Bob Dole once said, “If education was a war, we’d be losing it.”  

As a youth, private property was just that. Private! It was our land, we paid the taxes, and we could do whatever we wanted with it. With zoning, land use laws, watershed requirements, and environmental impact regulations, etc. ... now you only “rent” your property.

A friend, who is a railroad enthusiast (aka railroad nut), once told of how in the early 1900s if a railroad lost a bridge, it was replaced in days. In the 21st century, it takes years of environmental impact studies, permits, engineering plans and architectural designs to accomplish the same. One must wonder if the Tennessee Valley Authority Water Project or the Trans-Canadian Alaskan Highway could ever be built today. I doubt it!  

Thinking back, during the Eisenhower administration the federal budget totaled $70 billion. Now we are at $3 trillion and climbing, with a projected national debt of $12 trillion to $14 trillion! Could any sane person possibly approve?

We have had health care shoved down our throats by a Congress and president who are governing against the will of the people, and its total cost will be a nightmare!

A side note, with 40 million uninsured out of 300 million Americans, without a calculator one can deduce that 260 million already had coverage. That’s 87 percent coverage! Was it necessary for our government to seize control?

We told our children that we can remember when life was sacred and marriage was forever. Today in America there are hundreds of thousands of abortions annually. In 2005 the total was 820,000. Almost a million babies crushed in the womb. How can we, as a nation, ignore this killing? And marriage? It is now harder to change your cell phone contract than your spouse!  

The conversation got around to liberal versus conservative. My youngest daughter is a “bit” liberal, but we love her just the same. We asked her the question: Who is more responsible for high taxes, restrictive zoning laws, our inept educational system, crushing environmental regulations, complete runaway government spending, abortion on demand, and government health care? Liberals or conservatives? Democrats or Republicans?

Before you answer, think about this: Consider the bankrupt states of New York, Michigan, California, and Illinois and the cities of Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. What do they have in common? They have not had a conservative governor or mayor in generations.

She replied, “Well, who do you blame for the Cherry Blossom shampoo with rice milk, Dad? Liberals, of course!

CHUCK PINKEY is the owner of River Valley New Holland Inc. in Otego. He can be reached at chuck.rvnewholland@gmail.com.

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