Category Archives: Making a Difference



The lesser of two evils?


Is it just me or do many of you wish that you could find a viable alternative to making a choice between a self-serving inept felon and a volatile ego maniacal jackass, as the next President of the United States? Of course, though sarcastic, that’s a rhetorical question. I know that very many, if not most, of my fellow Americans share a similar view. Later, I’ll offer empirical evidence of that.

Some will suggest that throwing your support to a third-party candidate is a viable alternative. That’s only half true. It is an alternative but it isn’t viable. Regardless of your third-party vote, Clinton or Trump will be the next POTUS and you will have changed nothing.


In order to find a viable alternative to this dilemma, I suggest stepping back and taking a fresh look at our concerns about the nominees of the two major parties. Up to now, I’ve seen this assessment include:

• Choose between the lesser of two evils.
• Are they evil or just flawed?
• Are they unfit or just unacceptable?
• Are they immoral or just unwise?
• The fear of what he says versus the fear of what she does.
• For different reasons, neither can be trusted.

Frankly, I find each of these considerations to be somewhat reasonable. But they don’t really lead to a viable alternative that positively impacts the ongoing devolution in American politics. Ironically, I heard the solution summed up in a statement made by Hillary Clinton that was, as usual, meant to demean Donald Trump. She said,

“We need to stand up as a people and say that America is better than (this)!”

I wholeheartedly agree and absent a truly acceptable alternative candidate, I firmly believe it calls for an unorthodox approach to making the changes so many of us have been crying out for in American politics. It means refusing to continue to vote for “the lesser of two evils” and only voting for candidates who are truly deserving of your vote. What I’m recommending is that all of us who share the frustration expressed in my opening paragraph refuse to vote for any of 2016’s presidential candidates, while voting for every down-ticket candidate who deserves our support. I think of it as  … 

… A Presidential Voters Strike for Our Union.

I know that many will, at least initially, say that my recommendation is crazy, it will effect no change and that either Clinton or Trump will still be the next POTUS. No doubt, the latter is true and it’s going to take all of U.S. pulling together, finally setting aside our ever deepening polarization, to survive whichever one is elected. This Voters Strike could be the first step in that movement and I believe it can effect the changes we long for. I want to offer my logic, that I believe is fully sane, by presenting the empirical evidence I alluded to earlier. Continue reading


Filed under Current Events, Government, Liberty, Making a Difference, politics, Presidents, United States

Running for Dogcatcher

Campaign 2

Gary Wiram, PCO – Precinct 690

Have you ever heard someone slam a politician by saying, “He’s so unpopular he couldn’t even get elected Dogcatcher”? According to Wiktionary (not a source I’d trust for something more important), the usage of this phrase is summed up as follows:

“Dogcatcher is virtually never an elected office (only one elected dogcatcher office exists, in Duxbury, Vermont); the phrase is hyperbole, using dogcatcher to indicate ‘the most lowly conceivable office’.”


After considering that Wiktionary says Dogcatcher is virtually never an elected office, I’ve decided that the elective position I now hold has become the most lowly conceivable office – i.e. Precinct Committee Officer (PCO). If you don’t know, a voting precinct is a subdivision of either a city or county where each address in the area is assigned to a precinct and each precinct is then given a specific location for its residents to vote. Precinct sizes vary but the U. S. has an average of 1,100 voters per precinct, with each one having both a Democrat and a Republican PCO. These are unpaid elected positions meant to help the parties stay in touch with the thoughts and feelings of neighborhood residents. If a person files to run for PCO and they’re unopposed, their name doesn’t even appear on any ballot. Typically, if a person who files to run for PCO is unopposed, they are appointed to that position by their respective party. However, if more than one person files, each of their names appear on the ballots of voters living in the respective precinct.


Precinct 690

Precinct 690

Two years ago, the Chairman of the Clark County Washington Republican Party (CCRP) asked me to run for PCO in Precinct 690. I agreed to do so, with the understanding that I’d have limited time and energy to do the job. This year, due to my dismay over what has happened at the top of both party’s tickets, I came close to not filing for reelection. After further prayerful consideration, though, I decided that if I’m going to make any difference in getting my party and our country back on course, I needed to be willing to do my part. Interestingly, shortly after I did file, I learned that another person had also filed. That meant that, in my aim to make a difference, I’d have to start by campaigning. Although I won’t bore you with all the details of my campaign, I want to tell you about some of its key aspects and the ways in which I was blessed along the way. Continue reading


Filed under character, commitment, community, Local Politics, Making a Difference, politics, Presidents


My eulogy for my Mother, as read at her funeral.

When Jesus was asked “What is the greatest commandment?”, He answered, “Love God with everything you’ve got and show that by doing likewise with your fellow man.” Of course, that is a paraphrase but my Mother took it literally and quite seriously. I think it’s fair to say that love was her life’s theme.

Geraldine Elizabeth Ray Wiram August 12, 1919 - April 14, 2016

Geraldine Elizabeth Ray Wiram
August 12, 1919 – April 14, 2016


That was demonstrated from her beginning, in her birthplace, Greenville, IL. Her connection with family and friends that she knew prior to her family moving to Terre Haute, was something she always treasured. Of course, the most precious to her we’re those who went with her to Terre Haute; her Father E. K. Ray, her Mother Clara, her Sister Thelma and her Brother who died in infancy. Throughout her life, she looked forward to getting to know him in Heaven and now, she’s getting to do that.

The people I knew as Grandpa and Grandma Ray, Aunt Thelma and Mom started becoming part of their community through Grandpa’s job on the Pennsylvania Railroad, through neighborhood activities, through school activities, through service organizations and probably most important of all, through the Second Avenue Evangelical United Brethren Church. The relationships that were developed during that time are too numerous to mention but, as evidenced by some who are here even today, these were not passing acquaintances but loving relationships that Mom nurtured throughout her life.


I do want to mention two relationships that we’re of particular importance though. During that time, my Aunt Thelma met a handsome young man, named Bob McIndoo. For the sake of brevity, let me just say that I ended up knowing him as Uncle Bob. He was a man I truly admired and Mom loved him dearly, as she did Thelma’s and Bob’s children; my late Cousin Ron, my Cousin Janet Sue and my Cousin Jim. Since they have been a prolific bunch, that gave Mom In-laws, grandchildren and next generations of the same to love too.

The other particularly important relationship developed during that time involved another handsome young man named Chet Wiram. Although you won’t find his name in Mom’s obituary, he was of great importance in her life. His Dad worked on the Pennsy too, they lived in the same neighborhood, they went to the same schools and they were together in the youth group at Second Avenue EUB. There were 12 Wiram kids, 10 who survived childhood, so even if they had just become friends, that would have expanded Mom’s social circle exponentially. But, a romance blossomed and when he was 21 and she was 19, they married. Of course, that worked out to the benefit of many in this room today, including my Sister Nancy, our late Brother Dick and myself. Then, along with Mom, in addition to the Rays, the McIndoos and all those Wirams, there was us to love. Added to that we’re the Franzwas, the Sagraves, the D’Amicos and the Dillers, through a Son-in-law and three Daughters-in-law, who she loved as her own children. Since we have been a rather prolific bunch too, grandchildren and next generations were added to Mom’s circle of love through this too.


In my view, Mom’s love was most vividly demonstrated in her dedication to her Husband and her children. Shortly after Nancy was born, Dad joined the Navy and went off to WWII. About nine months after Mom visited Dad in his Southern California port, Dick came along. And, not long after the war ended, their baby boomer showed up … that’s me. All during that time, Mom’s love was the driving force, holding that young little family together. At the start of the next decade, though, Chet and Gerry’s marriage ended. Mom responded by pouring her life and love into her children. In the process, she found the job that would provide her living for the rest of her life. She became a Long Distance Telephone Operator. In the beginning, that meant working a split shift and riding the bus two round trips per day, so that she could see her kids off to school in the morning and be there when they came home in the afternoon. She recruited my Aunt Carolyn and several neighborhood ladies to stand in the gap for the times she couldn’t be there. My Sister joined in with that more and more, as she got older. I don’t think its an exaggeration to sum up this season of Mom’s life by saying, “No greater love has a woman than this, than to lay down her life for her family.” Continue reading


April 19, 2016 · 7:25 am

Keeping Our Eyes Above The Waves


Over the past few days, as we’ve watched Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ronald S. Johnson step in to take over security operations in the midst of this past week’s civil unrest in Ferguson, MO, it’s become obvious that he is a truly exceptional person. The immediate good news in this, as reported in a related Washington Post article, is that Johnson’s first day on the job resulted in “Hugs, kisses and a night of peace (replacing) tear gas and unrest.” The more long-term and more challenging part of this is that Captain Johnson is, in fact, exceptional. If all of our nation’s leaders would emulate Johnson’s conduct, thus making him the rule rather than the exception, our country could be vastly improved.


A great way to begin learning how to go about this emulation would be by looking at statements Captain Johnson made in Friday’s (August 14, 2014) press conference and most importantly, by looking at his responses to the questions he received. The comments that I found to be most meaningful in this regard are outlined as follows: Continue reading


Filed under community, Current Events, faith, leadership, Making a Difference, race

Single Moms – Mapping Their Son’s Masculine Journey


Wild HeartOn a recent vacation, while driving round trip from Southwest Washington to Northwest Wyoming, I finally managed to finish a book a friend had loaned me this past winter. It was The Way of the Wild Heart, by John Eldredge. It’s a follow-up to another of Eldredge’s best-sellers, Wild at Heart.

The subtitle of Wild at Heart is: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul. Its back cover expands on that by saying: “In Wild at Heart, John Eldredge invites men to recover their masculine heart, defined in the image of a passionate God.” In the book, Eldredge lays out three main longings of every male on their journey in life. Each man longs for: A battle to fight, An adventure to live and A beauty to rescue. In The Way of the Wild Heart, Eldredge expands on this theme by noting six major phases of a man’s life: Beloved Son, Cowboy (or Ranger), Warrior, Lover, King and Sage. This book’s main point is that God wants to come and father us through each of these stages. The key underlying theme, though, is the vital role earthly fathers and male mentors are meant to play in accomplishing this.

SHOWING THE WAY Continue reading


Filed under Family, Fathers, God, Making a Difference, Single-Moms, sons

Keeping America’s Social Fabric Intact

Securing the Legacy of the Greatest Generation – Part Four


In Part Three of this series, Get Out of the Villages!, I talked about Baby Boomers and others stepping up to make a positive difference with America’s kids today as a desperately needed contribution in Repairing America’s Social Fabric. Certainly, that desperate need exists in other aspects of American culture too. With this article, I want to acknowledge an instance of this job getting done through keeping America’s social fabric intact. It’s the exemplary job of role model and true American hero being done by a fellow-Baby Boomer, the leader of the Lieutenant Dan Band, Gary Sinise. Continue reading

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Filed under America’s founding ideals, Baby Boomers, community, Making a Difference

Get Out of The Villages!

Securing the Legacy of the Greatest Generation – Part Three

Going Out With a Boom

Question: How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time. That’s the approach I’m taking in tackling the question I raised at the end of Part Two in this series – i.e. How do we go about meeting present-day challenges through reacquiring Greatest Generation values that, for the most part, are missing today?


The “bite” I want to chew on with this article contains the values associated with how we raise our children. In Part Two of this series, I exemplified the different values that made up that part of our social fabric in the heyday of the Greatest Generation with the following overview:

“Children were raised by their families. When they got up in the morning, both Mom and Dad were there to parent them and care for them. When they went off to school, they went with kids from families in the neighborhood who knew each other. Their transportation to and from school was on foot through neighborhoods where a caring adult was present in most homes. Their teachers and other school staff knew the kids and their families. The same was true with extracurricular activities. At the end of the day, there was no warehousing of kids at a “daycare”. Babysitting was an exceptional activity, typically to afford parents a couple of hours to go out to dinner, etc. and even then, the babysitting was usually done by a relative or neighbor who knew the kids well.”


Wow! How can we possibly reacquire a set of values like that, values that have become so very different today?! I suggest that, to find the answers related to this, we need to begin by adopting the attitude the Greatest Generation took in facing the overwhelming challenges brought on by WWII. In Part One of this series, I described this as a mindset that, unlike today, meant the average Joe or Jane lived their lives with a true other-oriented sense of community, rather than just being focused on “What’s in it for me? When our nation was threatened by the Axis nations of WWII, that mentality was evidenced through everyone putting their personal aspirations on hold for as long as was necessary to meet the crisis at hand.

That, obviously, was a winning mentality. But, perhaps, you’re thinking, “Of course, subordinating one’s own dreams was necessary to deal with the plight represented by WWII but we’re not coping with anything on a par with that today.” To that, I would say, “Really?!” Just think of the many ways, since the Greatest Generation were in their prime, in which our social fabric has unraveled, bearing tragic results on the level of the topic I focused on in Part Two of this series … School Shootings. Just looking at three of the five areas I outlined in that article, to exemplify what communities were like prior to the unraveling I mention, consider the ongoing deterioration of these things: Continue reading


Filed under Baby Boomers, community, Making a Difference