Last Tuesday, Americans trudged dutifully to the polls to vote, proudly plastering "I'm A Voter" stickers on their chests for the rest of the day.
This election year, we've endured the usual avalanche of broadcast ads and watched candidates sling arrows at each other endlessly during televised debates.
Debating the role of government is common election year fodder, with each side weighing in on how much influence federal, state and local leaders should have over our lives and tax dollars.
Broken families. Neglectful parents racked by poverty, addiction or poor personal decisions. Abused children denied a normal upbringing. Government agencies short on resources and personnel scrambling desperately to keep a bad situation from getting worse.
If this year's political ads sound like you've tapped into Nick at Nite reruns of old campaigns, you're not imagining it. That's because there's little new in politics; it only seems that way sometimes when candidates repackage old ideas.
There's a famous quote by Hall of Fame baseball manager Casey Stengel that describes what's going on today in our federal government. As his expansion New York Mets were going through a historically bad season, Casey lamented: "Can't anybody here play this game?"
Wanted: Magic money tree. Must produce massive quantities of legal tender to help pay for state's most pressing needs and fulfill all campaign promises. Please deliver to state Capitol by January 2015.
This may seem a naive and silly question, but bear with us as we ask: When did voting itself become such a partisan issue?
It is both telling and troubling that the state agency assigned to police ethical behavior in government hasn't been able to mind its own store.
Each Sept. 11 for the past dozen years since the fateful day of 2001, we ask ourselves the same question: Are we safer now than we were then?
Labor Day weekend provides us an annual three-day break before summer fades into fall. School and football are back, and though it's still plenty hot, the days are growing shorter and the leaves are crisping up for seasonal changes to come.
Nostalgia is popular these days: Retro fashions, disco and '80s pop, "Throwback Thursdays" on social media. What's old is new again, what used to be hip turned square and then back to cool.
On any given fall Friday night, you'd be hard-pressed to find a football field in the South without a bowed head or a bent knee.
Of all the modern conveniences we take for granted - a light goes on at the flip of a switch, water comes out at the turn of a tap - our roads and highways rank high on the list.
Personal privacy these days almost seems like an antiquated notion from a bygone era, like AM radio, whitewall tires and wide lapels.
The holidays are traditionally a season of giving, where many with kind hearts buy for families in need, Angel Tree kids or Toys for Tots, feed the hungry or follow the sound of the summoning jingle of bells to drop a few bucks in the Salvation Army's red kettles. And as the calendar year wanes, those in the mood for goodwill and tax deductions pull out their checkbooks to make end-of-year donations.
Most Americans of Baby Boomer age and younger were exposed to marijuana at some point in early adulthood, whether they partook or not on their own. For many, it was a rite of passage encountered at a rock concert or someone's dark basement. For others, it was a substance and a crowd of users best avoided.
In the great American novel "To Kill A Mockingbird," attorney Atticus Finch is explaining to his daughter Scout how to deal with other people amid conflicts at school: "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view ... Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."
When you think about it, it's somewhat odd to choose one particular day of the year to express thankfulness.
If there's a word that can sum up our national leadership these days, it is "lame" - a lame-duck session of Congress, a lame-duck president, all yielding results that are totally lame.
Hall County's business community took a well-earned opportunity last week to celebrate a full November cornucopia of blessings and pat itself on the back a bit.
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