Midwest folks of retirement age head south beginning in October as do waterfowl and other species with wings.

Florida, Arizona, Texas, California and New Mexico are the major destinations.

Kathy and I spend most of November at Ft. Myers, Florida aboard Front Page. We reunite with so many friends at Legacy Harbour, it is similar to coming home.

Several of the men enjoy morning coffee at the marina office veranda.Topics range from boating problems, economy and the absurdity of Florida ballot counting rules and procedures. This group is as much divided on politics as is the country.

The “B Dock” group enjoys conversation most days, weather permitting, at “Docktails”. They also find opportunities for potlucks, dinners out and social events, such as observing sandcastle building at Ft. Myers Beach or attending a theatre production.

Fortunately the election is over, or is it? It seems like campaigning has begun for 2020. The many women elected to Congress may bring a moderate approach to the country’s problems and bi-partisan support will be gained. On the other hand a divided Congress may stalemate, pleasing Wall Street. 

Seniors are struggling to understand Medicare health insurance supplements with the approaching Dec. 7 deadline.

Legal immigration vs. asylum rulings are facing the caravan of people at the border and the courts are testing the options. Why do these people want to come to the United States? Jobs, freedom, safety and dreams of a better life are all reasons. 

The Thanksgiving holiday was a great reminder of what this country is all about. A Constitution that still works after 200 years is amazing. Can you name the five freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment? Maybe this would be a good topic for a family dinner discussion. James Madison wrote 17 amendments to the Constitution before he whittled it down to 10. 

In November, a publisher friend, Larry Atkinson of Mobridge, South Dakota, and I attended a First Amendment Festival at Florida Gulf Coast University.

This was timely after our president called the liberal media an “enemy of the people.” Add to this the Saudi killing of the American journalist Kamal Khashoggi in Turkey.

One Festival session was on “Fact or Fake?” We now have a fake news invasion and that suggests social media is not social but may be becoming harmful. Misinformation is stubborn. Studies prove we focus on what we want to see or what we agree with. We need to understand algorithms and realize if we use Facebook, we are labeled. Thus we are kept in our comfort zones with internet information. 

We need to learn to read across the aisle, understand what is opinion and what is not. We need to remember that journalism is essential to a democracy. 

We spent Thanksgiving in Ocala, Florida, with my niece Cynthia, husband, Steve and son, Jonathan. Also joining in were two nephews and their spouses who were originally from Clinton, Wisconsin. 

Family is important and the relationships need regular nourishment. Many families are faced with separation due to military service, deaths, job location economic limitations and impaired relationships. 

As families grow and expand, it gets more difficult to bring them together. We bring most of our family together the first Saturday of December for the Bethel University Festival of Christmas Concert and Smorgasbord. 

Enjoy the Christmas celebration of the birth of Jesus and recognize the purpose of God sending His Son to earth 2,000 years ago so each of us has the opportunity to choose eternal life.

 

Gene Johnson is publisher emeritus of Press Publications.

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