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Wednesday, December 29, 2010


The election is over and the people have spoken. They have told those who govern how they feel with their votes. Now it is up to the politicians to figure out what they said. I think, in a broad stroke, they said they want a return to the Constitution and that government has to follow that law. It seems like every 16 years there is a call for change and then the change is worse than the original problem. It started with Kennedy in 1960, moved to Carter in 76, then Clinton in 92 and presently Obama. I’m sure in the year 2024, there will be a big need for change. Yes, the people have spoken, and I hope they want individuals to be responsible, to have less government in their lives, and lower taxes, because I know that is what I want.

This month’s look at the US Constitution, takes us to the very beginning, the Preamble: “We, the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

What noble words, what a wonderful beginning! I am going to concentrate on the last phrase, “Secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” - freedom now and in the future. One wonders what the future might bring. Will we be free 20 years from now, or 50 years from now? You look around, and almost everything that you touch, see, or do is regulated. To stop government from taking over our daily lives is a constant struggle. We must rely on the Constitution to guide us.

Our president of the month is number 17, Andrew Johnson. Johnson was a rags to riches story who had no formal education, no religious affiliation, worked as a tailor, and married a 16-year-old cobbler’s daughter. He went on to be a Mayor, Legislator, Congressman, US Senator, Military Governor, Vice President, and President. As President, the first state visit of a monarch occurred when Queen Emma of the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) came to visit. I wonder what they had for lunch?

Because he took over for the assassinated Lincoln, Johnson never had a vice president and he was the only former president to become a US Senator again after his presidency. Until Bill Clinton, he had been the only president ever to have been impeached. He managed to keep his position by one senate vote (seven Republicans crossed over and voted with the Democrats to keep him in office). His wife Eliza taught him the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. They had 5 children and Andrew Jr. (the last) was born 18 years after older brother Robert. Eliza died 6 months after the president did.

It is always fun to run into a distant relative and reminisce as to how you are related. It shakes out the family tree and all trees should be shaken once in awhile. The conversation will inevitability turn to the characters of the family and what they are doing or stories about them. Our family has its share, but the most notable is a fella we will call “Billy.”

There are many stories about Billy. Some of the more famous are: the time Billy drove the 10 foot truck into the 9 foot garage door, and the time Billy brought a 12 pack of beer on the white water rafting trip down the Gallatin (you are suppose to be paddling). But my favorite is about Billy the womanizer. We were sitting in the hot springs at Chico and a beautiful young woman entered the pool. Billy immediately struck up a conversation with her. They talked awhile and he said to her,

“You look just like my sixth wife.”

She said, “You had six wives?”

Billy said, “No, I only had five.”

Have a good one!

Yours in the Spirit of the Republic,  Coach

Mike is a New England businessman who is currently a legislator serving in the North Dakota House of Representatives (District 36). He has served in that capacity between 1988-90, and was reelected in 2008 to his current term. He was a National Finalist for the High School Coach of the Year in 2000, leading the New England Tigers to four North Dakota State Class B championships in 1988, 1995, 1996, and 1997. He ended his coaching career with a 47-game winning streak. (A collection of Coach’s writings is available in book form at dakotabooknet.com)

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