No. 177



This past week I sent a small contribution to the American Cancer Society in the hopes that, along with millions of others, it may help medical researchers find a cure for this dreaded disease. Regardless of the type or part of the human body it attacks, if left unchecked, it will continue to devour healthy cells until it squeezes the very life out of its victim.

Furthermore, it is no respector of persons and practically every family in our nation, regardless of status, has been affected in one way or another. With regards to cancer, we have all asked questions like, "Did they get it all?", "Is it in remission?", and "What is the prognosis?". Sadly, cancer is among the leading causes of death in the United States.

Unless your name is Rip Van Winkle, you also know there is another form of cancer in our society today that is equally, if not more dangerous to the health and well being of our nation. I'm referring to the breakdown of moral, ethical and spiritual values over the past several decades. If the erosion and decay of these important values is not checked and rebuilt, it will result in the downfall of the greatest nation in the history of civilization.

If you have read my column very often in the past, you know that I am an eternal optimist. I believe in success. I encourage individuals to reach for the stars, to use their God-given talents and abilities to serve others, and in return receive all the rewards, both tangible and intangible, that life has to offer. But you and I both know this is only possible if our nation remains free and the opportunities afforded by a free market economy are available to us in the near and distant future. Furthermore, we can't just assume that this will always be the case if we don't take care of what we have.

A while back I ran across a quotation by former President Harry S. Truman that pretty well sums up what I am saying, "Always tell people the truth. They can handle it." To be sure, we can handle the truth. It's the lies under oath, the bribes and kickbacks, the scandals, the pervasive and widespread cheating and the blatant, open immorality that we can't handle. When I say we, I'm talking about the millions of God fearing, honest, responsible and hard working American Citizens who love this country and want to perserve our way of life.

In the long run, the individuals involved in the activities I mentioned will ultimately pay a price for that they do, but in the meantime our standards are lowered and the unsuspecting are caught in the web of personal destruction before they truly understand the consequences of their actions. We must be reminded again and again that our leaders, whether political, business or others in high positions must be held to a higher standard than people in the general population. In time the example they set establishes the very basis for our culture. Contrary to what many people think, you don't raise morale in an organization, it filters down from the top. It's the same principle with leadership in our society and nation.

As I've said before, I don't get involved in partisian politics. Unfortunately, many people are so turned off by politics as usual that they don't even take the time to go and vote. Our system of government in our nation has served us well, but I have never been an active member of any political party. In every general election, I have always voted a split ticket, because I vote for the candidates who I feel are best qualified and who have America's best interest at heart. In the final analysis, we either will or will not stop the spread of this cancer in our society, but the stakes are high, especially for future generations. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)