Tuesday, 21 November 2023
Written by John Hood
In her classic novel Little Women, Louisa May Alcott has her character Margaret gaze bitterly at the family’s frostbitten garden and proclaim that “November is the most disagreeable month in the whole year.”
The protagonist, her sister Jo, offers a pensive reply: “That's the reason I was born in it.”
I don’t see November that way. I’m far from alone. According to a recent survey, it’s January that better deserves Margaret’s disdain. Nearly a third of Americans say it’s their least favorite month. Only 4% picked November.
The latter’s selling points include the lingering beauty of autumn leaves, the poignant solemnity of Veteran’s Day, and, especially, the holiday of Thanksgiving. Its indispensable premise is that, even after a year of mishaps or tragedies, there will always be much to be grateful for — and that the best way to demonstrate that gratitude is to share your time and table with family and friends.
One of the blessings for which we should regularly give thanks is that we live in the United States of America. For all its past sins and present shortcomings, our country remains a marvel, a model, and a miracle.
Our founding principles — freedom, self-government, and equality before the law — set America apart from other nations, even though they were not consistently respected or applied at the time. As Martin Luther King famously put it, the Founders were “signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.” It was that promise that made America exceptional.
November isn’t just home to the Thanksgiving holiday. It contains the anniversaries of many events Americans ought to study and commemorate. On November 15, 1777, the Continental Congress finalized the Articles of Confederation, what might be called the initial “operating system” of the national government. A little over five years later, on November 30, 1782, representatives of Great Britain and the new United States signed a provisional peace treaty that brought hostilities to a close, though the Revolutionary War wasn’t formally ended until the signing of the Treaty of Paris a few months later.
As it happens, some of the greatest musical celebrations of America are also associated with this month.
On November 11, 1938, Kay Smith debuted the Irving Berlin-penned “God Bless America” to her nationwide radio audience. John Phillip Sousa, whose many compositions include “The Stars and Stripes Forever” and the Marine Corps march “Semper Fidelis,” was born in November, as was Aaron Copland, who wrote such now-familiar Americana as “Appalachian Spring” and “Rodeo.”
My historical-fantasy series, the Folklore Cycle, is itself meant partly as an expression of gratitude for our great country. The first novel, Mountain Folk, is set primarily during the 1760s and 1770s. I use a combination of real-life and imaginary characters to depict the American Revolution in all its scope and complexity.
In my novels and short stories, I don’t sugarcoat history. My characters include religious dissenters, Cherokee leaders, and abolitionists such as Sojourner Truth. They are among the American heroes I celebrate, and for whom we should all be grateful this month and every month.
Editor's Note: John Hood is a John Locke Foundation board member. His latest books, Mountain Folk and Forest Folk, combine epic fantasy with early American history (FolkloreCycle.com). Mr. Hood's article has been edited down from the original.
Tuesday, 21 November 2023
Written by Bill Bowman
*Disclaimer: My apologies to Archie Comic Publications, Inc. There is no connection to their iconic comic book characters, Archie and Jughead, in this editorial.The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of jughead is referenced as a stupid or foolish person. Any content similarities to individuals or groups, living or dead, are purely intentional. (If the shoe fits.....)
I admire Archie Barringer. He loves this community, has a passion for humanity and couldn't care less about being criticized and canceled by a "woke" society.
I have known Archie for over two decades, and he has written several excellent articles for us full of wisdom and spiritual insights. Without a doubt, this retired U.S. Army Chaplain is a man of character, wisdom and fortified convictions who has spent his life serving God and all God's children.
Archie, like many of us who call Fayetteville home, is frustrated and disappointed at the continued divisiveness in our community that has evolved since the unfortunate death of George Floyd in 2020 and the May 30th riots. That day, a hostile, angry mob terrorized downtown citizens, destroyed personal property and attempted to burn down the Historic Market House while our former Police Chief and Mayor "stood down" watching the lawless acts and failing to serve and protect Fayetteville citizens and their property.
Today, our Fayetteville elected officials continue to "stand down" in initiating the actions that would work to normalize race relations and restore dignity, pride, and honor back to our community.
That is precisely what Archie Barringer attempted to initiate when he addressed the Mayor and City Council requesting that the "Black Lives Do Matter” and “End Racism Now” messages be removed from the downtown monument's circumference.
Like many Fayetteville residents, Archie loves Fayetteville and believes Fayetteville is a community of History, Heroes, and a Hometown Feeling.
However, the message that is broadcasted daily from the Market House sends a consent reminder to residents and guests that we are a city divided.
Archie wants city leaders to remove the words “Black Lives Do Matter” and “End Racism Now.” with an alternate message that is more reflective and representative of our community's diverse population.
I had a personal, heartfelt conversation with Archie about his quest and concluded it was reasonable and practical.
He reminded the Mayor and Council that history cannot be erased or undone, and we must learn from it and move on. He recommends replacing the words with alternate phrasing.
It was a solid, well-thought-out recommendation, and the council extended him the obligatory courtesy of listening to his request. Still, from their responses, you could tell his suggestions fell on deaf ears.
Archie views everybody in the same light. "We are all God's children," he often reminds us. His enthusiasm and motivation come from wanting this community to live up to its status as an All American City and a community of History, Heroes, and Hometown feeling.
Archie Barringer is correct. Removing those words would be a huge step toward bringing the community together.
A community that is becoming more and more divided and culturally insensitive as a result of inept leadership.
We need more people speaking out and letting their feelings be known. We need more Archie Barringers and fewer jugheads.
Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.