I am a believer in common sense, which is one of the guiding principles of my life. More than 90% of my decisions are based on looking at things and applying a little common sense to the problem before acting or commenting on it.
For example, what do you do when you encounter a rattlesnake? Do you use common sense and give the snake a wide berth, or do you go up to it and kick sand at it?
That brings me to a favorite story about my older brother, Carl. We were in the desert in Arizona, walking down this dry stream bed looking for black sand, a sign of possible gold dust.
And we encountered a snake hiding under a cut in a rock. Common sense would tell you that if you meet up with a snake, maybe you should leave it alone and respect it’s space.
But my ever-daring brother decided to throw common sense to the hot wind and started to kick sand at the snake.
What my brother overlooked was that the snake was a sidewinder rattlesnake, which did not take kindly to someone kicking sand at it while it was resting under a cut in a rock in a dry stream bed.
It proceeded to come out of its resting place and attack the insensitive idiot who was disturbing it. We always carried sidearms while in the desert.
The snake, which is remarkably fast, came after my brother and, when it did, my brother thought he could outrun the snake and proceeded to run away from it.
But a Sidewinder is a lot faster then either of us thought ,and it not only was keeping up with him, but also was gaining on him. At that point, he started screaming for me to shoot the snake.
But I wasn’t about to shoot the snake, because the snake did not create the problem; my brother created it by not using his common sense.
I was also bent over laughing at the sight of my brother high stepping down the stream bed with a snake in hot pursuit.
And, of course, it was as funny as anything to see him running down this stream bed screaming for me to shoot the snake as the snake gained ground on him.
The snake finally slowed down, finding another resting place, and gave us a few more rattles to let us know he was still willing to give chase again or strike.
This took place over a very short period of time, but it has given me a lifetime of pleasure for two reasons.
First, it was funny watching my brother and second, it explained common sense as clearly as it can be explained: don’t mess with a sidewinder and not expect it to react.
My grandfather, with whom I spent a lot of time while growing up, believed that what you put into your head through learning was the only thing a government could not take away from you.
He never took any action without taking the time to analyze the problem and apply a little common sense to it. He would always give me wide, free reining room to make decisions with one caveat:
What would be the common-sense outcome of the problem and how would ignoring common sense alter the end result of my actions in relationship to the problem?
Over my lifetime, I did not always follow this simple rule, and it seems whenever I did ignore the rule, much like my brother and the sidewinder, I ended up on the wrong side of the outcome.
Common sense seems to be in short supply in this country today, because if we applied a smidgen of common sense to most of our issues, we would probably find a simple and effective answer.
This applies to almost any of the issues currently dividing us and collectively driving the country nuts and onto the brink of real societal craziness.
With that in mind, I would like to take us down a road pointing out some of the places were we left common sense behind and what the obvious results have been.
The one thing any of our current crop of politicians, with very few exceptions, have in common is their lack of one iota of common sense.
They can take any issue and turn it into a monstrosity. If they only applied an ounce of common sense to the issue, it not only could be solved, but also would strengthen and unify us instead of dividing us.
One of my favorite issues where common sense was thrown out the window is the “border crisis.” Let’s look at what common sense may tell us.
First, if you open one of your borders to anyone wishing to come into your country illegally while at the same time restricting people from entering your country legally from all other ports of entry, what does common sense scream out to you?
Common sense tells you that this idea is completely contrary to common sense, because you are placing obstacles in the path of people seeking to do the right thing and use the legal methods to gain entry into the country, while at the same time you throw open one border and allow unrestricted entry from that border. What is the obvious common sense observation of this situation?
Another crisis we have fabricated, leaving common sense in the dust, is our “voter suppression laws.” Why is it voter suppression to ask for identification before being allowed to vote?
After all, there are very few if any places or activities in which we participate that does not require us to prove who we say we are.
This applies to buying booze or smokes, applying to school, buying a car, applying for credit — the list is endless; we are asked for an ID in nearly everything we do.
But some folks think it is voter suppression to even ask someone to verify who they are before they vote. If there was ever any activity that should require proof of who you are and where you live, then voting would be that activity.
Doesn’t common sense dictate that if you have to show who you are in almost any public activity in which you take part, isn’t voting one of the most important activities that should require proof?
Common sense would not only allow, but also insist on voter verification in order to vote.
What does common sense show us when we enter the ever-changing world of COVID-19?
There have been and continue to be so many wishy-washy things out there concerning what the virus is doing and how we should be react to it.
When the federal medical bureaucracy took charge and entered the picture, common sense fled from the field and we started down the road of ever-turning edicts that has led, for some, to a complete loss of faith in the medical bureaucracy.
We were instructed and forced to shut down our entire economy for a year, closed our education system and told to wear masks that are not designed to protect us from the virus.
We were told that we could not visit our families or friends; we were given many, many contradicting dictates from the government and the CDC that left most of our heads spinning.
Even today, they are off on another series of masks-wearing instructions, shu downs and internal passports (verification of vaccination) restricting travel for people entering the country from other parts of the world, while at the same time opening our southern border to unlimited illegal entry.
Looking at the whole picture and standing back to observe the crisis with one ounce of common sense should tell you that the circus we have been in, led by the clowns in government, has totally disrupted our society with long-term damage to it.
If common sense were an individual, it would be shaking its head in amazement as to how stupidly we have handled the COVID-19 crisis.
Now, how in the world do our esteemed politicians actually believe they can pass these huge unread or completed bills?
Why aren’t they aware of the damage they are doing to our economy and driving us into bankruptcy with this monstrous spending spree to which both parties seem to be addicted?
Isn’t there anyone at any level of government who has a smidgen of common sense, or is it required that politicians have to divest themselves of common sense when they become politicians?
The last thing I want to touch on today is this insane idea that the government, through our esteemed politicians, believes the people of this country do not have the right to have a meaningful say in the insanity that the politicians are reeking on the country.
I know many people will label my conclusions as a right-wing rant, and I’ll not argue that I am on a rant, but my rant is a screaming plea to us all:
Use a little common sense and make our politicians get off their partisan bandwagon and start using common sense when they make decisions that have a profound and long-lasting effect on the citizens of the nation.
BERNARD LESLIE is a beekeeping expert who lives beside Kentucky Lake in the northeast corner of Henry County. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.