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What core values fill your heart?

A long time ago (1953) in a world far away (the USA in that era), a child was born.

He was raised by loving, God-fearing parents, as were an older sister and younger brother. Both parents graduated from high school, but neither attended college. However, both were blessed with bountiful wisdom that was shared with their children.

The oldest son went on to graduate from high school and then from college. He was never charged with violating the law outside of one speeding ticket in 1975.

He kept his nose to the grindstone, working and earning his way in the world just as he was taught and encouraged by his parents.

He fell in love and married in 1979. There was great joy, and sadness. The couple lost their first child to miscarriage, but core values helped ease the pain. Roughly two years later, they rejoiced through the glory of God in the birth of a daughter in 1985.

Life was good; their home was full of love and admiration for each other’s talents. But, as in life, there’s death. He lost both his in-laws, and then in 2004 he lost his dad, then his mom over a stretch of less than four months. Eight years later he lost his sweet sister to cancer. Again, you stand on core values to lift you up.

2013 was a year that he’ll long remember….first with giving away his daughter’s hand in marriage….they cried on each other’s shoulders during the traditional “father-daughter” dance at the wedding reception. Later that year he cried again over the sight of his grandson’s birth.

Why am I writing about the highlights and low points of my life? It’s in an effort to let you know exactly who I am, the foundation on which my life was built over 60-plus years.

That foundation was rocked last week when I penned a column entitled: Someone turned up the testosterone. It was a farce over why men are better politicians. The majority of those that read my weekly ramblings know who I am and know that I enjoy writing satire, especially political satire.

It was written in pure jest and not as a personal attack on women. But yet many perceived it as the latter. As the phone calls and emails poured in, I learned that over 95 percent came from those who had never heard of Cal Bryant.

The firestorm included a sprinkling of cruel and vicious comments….words my wife and daughter had to read. Was that type of response necessary? The only ones who can answer are the authors.

Meanwhile, there were numerous comments made of the constructive criticism variety….words I took to heart and mind.

For those that found my column topic offensive, I offer an apology….no matter if you lived around the corner or around the world.

Today’s political landscape has divided us. The current rhetoric from both sides is perceived as threats to respective lifestyles. Even the slightest shift in today’s frail balance will spark a war of words….even acts of violence in some extreme cases. That’s not healthy and can easily lead America’s real enemies to view us as a weak nation, one hell bent on collapsing from within.

We cannot continue to be so bitter to the point where we scream at each other because of who occupies the White House (and that includes decades before Donald Trump took office), or which man or woman is appointed to the Supreme Court, or how we go about securing our borders.

By today’s standards, the nation in which I was born 63 years ago now seems like a distant planet within the galaxy. For that matter, our nation is nothing like it was 20 years ago; 10 years ago; five years ago….heck, just one year ago. Morals, values, lifestyles, and the like are constantly changing. What was totally unacceptable years ago is now mainstream America.

Are we better off for that? Apparently with the accusations hurled my way last week of my insensitivity and being out of touch with today’s society, if I share my thoughts on that subject I’ll be chastised once again. However, we, as Americans – thanks to our brave men and women, past and present, in military uniform – should be able to answer that freely and individually based on our core values, and without fear of being labeled as antiquated or out-of-touch.

There is nothing within my core values that even hints of a hatred of women. Those same core values do not harbor hate in my heart for anyone, no matter their gender, race, religious belief, or sexual orientation.

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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