Thursday, November 24, 2011

A reminder of idealism

Atticus FinchI hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We spent the afternoon at my sister Sue’s house, and it was a very pleasant time, with enough food for probably twice as many people. There were some loved ones who were missing, and we all feel sad about that, but we also recognize that we are very fortunate and we were happy to be able to spend time together.

Sometimes my Mom likes to read stuff. She makes us all quiet down, and then she reads what she wants to read. She read something today about being being grateful for paying taxes, because it means you have a job, or being grateful for your heating bills because it means you have a home. It was kind of nice, because that cuts through any party-line argument that anyone might have and just makes you think about how fortunate you are. (There was also little to no political talk today. It really is better that way.)

Then Mom read this:
Youth Disagrees With Column

In reply to Anthony Harrigan's column "On Moral Issues," which ran on Aug. 5, 1982:

Mr. Harrigan, I am less than a month away from my 20th birthday. As a member of the generation which will assume responsibilities for our country in a few years, I must say that I wholeheartedly agree with Rev. Jenkins' remarks concerning Communism and nuclear war.

My generation is one of peace. Your generation is one of fear and distrust. I do not want to see my relatives and friends destroyed in a nuclear holocaust brought about by your generation's mistakes. I resent the fact that such people are making decisions that will in all likelihood adversely affect my future.

If we are to see results in arms reduction talks, we must first trust the Russians to honor a limitation or freeze agreement. The Russian government was generous enough to take the first step, however small, in halting this ridiculous, out-of-control arms race. Unfortunately, our government was not quite so generous.

When I am ready to assume responsibilities in the adult world (and I think I will have something to offer), I want something left. Perhaps if there are more people willing to speak out like Reverend Jenkins, a world of peace will remain for myself and my peers.

Beth Anne Feece
Clarkesville, GA

That was an almost 20-year-old me writing a letter to the editor of our paper in small-town Georgia. I don’t recall the opinion that prompted me to write this, but it was interesting to see how passionate I was about this. At that time, we were still in the midst of the Cold War, and Reagan was President. The threat of nuclear war was still hanging over our heads and was a very real threat. (I also find it touching that my Mom and Dad saved that clipping from the newspaper all these years. They even put tape on it to preserve it.)

Almost thirty years later, I find that I still feel pretty much the same way. I went through my own personal Dark Ages in which I put financial interests above humanitarian interests, but I seem to have regained my idealistic nature. I like to think that I have added a good dose of realism, but in general, I find that what I clumsily expressed in 1982 still holds true for me today: I want a world of peace.

I really don’t think that’s idealistic. I think it’s the only sane way to live in this world.


  1. That was cool Beth..! You were (are) quite the ideologue... not that it is a bad thing to have been... nor is it bad that you remain that way still..!

    We all have our times where we think that the world should revolve around us or what ever your personal dark ages were... still, you are a super cool person and you have a super cool partner to call your husband... so it is all good..!

    Glad you and yours were able to enjoy good company and food... That did not take too much out of anyone, keeping the politics out of the conversation..? Anywho, happy holiday..!

  2. thank you for sharing that- wise words spoken by a wise woman!


  3. About halfway through the letter, I figured it was written by you! When I saw "Beth Ann Feece" at the bottom, I knew I was right!

    Keep preachin', gurl- eventually we'll get through to them!

  4. It was a great day with family and my ideologue gal :o)

  5. Just give peace a chance!
    I suppose it is the nature of human beings with power to make war. At least it seems that way. Like you, I am an idealist about thinking peace is possible but at the same time, I'm pessimistic about it ever happening. Go figure.

  6. Beautiful, Beth Anne. You found your calling at an early age and here you are!

    We could use more idealists, for sure. Think of all the 20-year-olds who just may join up to become the hope of the future now, thanks to the OWS tidal wave. It's a new dawn. (Crossing my fingers.)

    I love that your mom saved that letter and read it at Thanksgiving. What a lovely thing to do.

    My best to you and Ken. Keep the lights on. We'll win this thing yet.


  7. I was reading that I thought, Wow! Sounds like something Beth would have written! How wonderful that your mom wanted to read it to you.

  8. Having ideals and hopes and dreams is the only way to live a life. Everything else is just existence.


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