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Silly me.

I was reminded recently of an incident that occurred several years ago in Mason City involving my wife and me.

We were in a restaurant and my wife was nursing a bit of a sore throat. When our waitress came over and asked for our drink orders, my wife explained that her throat was sore and requested a glass of luke warm water. “I’m sorry,” said the waitress, but we only have hot and cold.”

No, I won’t reveal which restaurant we were in – or which school gave our waitress a diploma.

But I got to thinking about “luke warm” the other day and the different connotations it has, most of them bad. It is an age-old term meaning “tepid.” The Bible does not take kindly to luke warm believers (you can look it up), so for Christians, it is not a good thing.

In our everyday life today, we don’t like luke warm. It remains a sign of indecision or lack of commitment or conviction. If we’re in favor of something, we don’t want others to be luke warm about it.

We sure don’t like luke warm in our politics, and, as is often the case these days, we dismiss those who aren’t ardently supporting what we want them to support. And we take it to extremes. We’re either Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, far left or far right and we demonize those who differ from us. We’ve seen that in local politics in recent years but especially in national politics.

North Iowa is not immune to extremism. A Mason City man recently posted on social media, “It’s`We the People’ against the traitors!”

Traitors? Really? I don’t think so. Silly me.

I wonder what would happen if all members of Congress were locked in their chambers together with minimal food and water and no change of clothes, no cell phones, no social media, no paycheck, no nothing until they could come together and agree on a solution to a problem – any problem – like immigration, gun control, health costs, budget controls, you name it. My guess is some would starve to death before they gave an inch. No luke warm for them.

For years, America’s motto was “e pluribus unum” – which means, “out of many, one,” dating back to when the 13 original colonies became the United States. Historian Arthur Schlesinger, writing about modern day America, said “We need a little less e pluribus and a little more unum.”

Translated, I think that means “a little less all over the place and a little more together.” Makes sense.

In the meantime, folks, if you have a sore throat …

Silly me.

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John Skipper retired from the Globe Gazette in February 2018 after 52 years in newspapers, most of that in Mason City covering North Iowa government and politics.

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