One Man’s Opinion

By Bill Shepard

The SOTU (State of the Union) was over. I had sat spellbound, drinking in every word the President spoke. He was doing what he does best! When it comes to public speaking, the President has few equals; it was an inspiring speech, but it doesn’t measure up to all that I have been hearing all year long! We don’t live in a vacuum, Mr. President!

As the President talked of all the good things that were happening in America, and none of the bad, I thought of a story I once heard. It seemed a man had died and his funeral was being held. The preacher rambled on and on about all the good things the man had done, and what a good provider for his family he had been. The man’s widow seated near the front turned to her small son and whispered, “Robert, slip up to the casket and see if that is your daddy inside.”

The President talked about the millions of good paying jobs that had been created in America in the last year, and how the unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level in years. We hear on TV almost daily about the thousands who are without a job and can’t find one! We are told of the hundreds of thousands who draw unemployment checks, and the millions that depend on food stamps for survival!

The President was proud to announce that millions are now covered with health insurance that once were not. He didn’t talk about those who have had the cost of theirs being almost doubled!

The President proudly announced that our soldiers are coming home from Iraq, and those in Afghanistan soon would be! He said nothing of the conditions left behind!

You said a lot of good things about the state of the union, Mr. President but you said nothing about the bad things. For example, we heard nothing about the IRS scandal, the shameful goings on within the Veteran’s Administration, and the conditions of our borders! We have given up on hearing the truth about Benghazi. There is such loss in the confidence of the Department of Justice, and the handling of the latest riots in our streets, no one seems to know what is going on, or what to believe!

No, Mr. President, no one expected you to go before the world and talk about all the negatives in America, but we would like to know that you are not in denial of the truth!

You can be up front with the American people, sir! We have faced bad news before; we are grown-ups and we deserve to know the truth! By the way, Mr. President, we are not stupid either as someone suggested! In my lifetime, Mr. President, I have seen America face the enemies of war, poverty, and challenges of the elements. When told the truth, the American people have risen to the challenge and overcome it. We can and will do it again! We must, freedom depends on us! Tell us the truth.

I remember that dark day in 1941 when President Roosevelt spoke over the radio and told the American people that Japan had attacked America, and the American naval fleet had suffered a devastating blow at Pearl Harbor. The words that followed were that we would pursue the enemy ‘til victory was won, and only unconditional surrender would be accepted! It was an awakening speech and the next day recruiting offices all over America were jammed with volunteers. We all know how it ended! Tell us the truth, Mr. President. Nothing but the truth!

We faced the truth about the long and costly standoff of the Korean conflict, and that of Vietnam, followed by the skirmishes all around the world, including Desert Storm and Iraq. Now we hear of the threat by ISIS and others. The road ahead is ugly, but tell us the truth, the whole truth, we can take it! Freedom loving people everywhere will respond in a positive way!

It was one of the darkest days of history when Winston Churchill went before the British people and told them of the perils they were facing. He spelled it out in no uncertain words. The enemy is at the door, and our backs are to the wall, victory calls for another sacrifice, toil and tears! The people rallied and the battle turned toward victory! History might have been much different if the truth had been upheld. Truth always wins; bring it on!

This is one man’s opinion!

Mr. Shepard is a native of Darlington, S.C., and a current resident of Piedmont, S.C. Signed copies of Mr. Shepard’s books “Mill Town Boy” and “Bruised” are available for purchase at the News and Press office. He has been sharing his tales of growing up in Darlington for decades, and we are delighted to share them each week.

Author: Duane Childers

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