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Summing Up The Year With Left-Over Thoughts

This is the time of year when all the newspapers, magazines, television news shows go over and over what happened in 2005. All other news is forgotten as we look backward.

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />America is a land of poll-takers. This year was no different. Polls on polls will be next. Who has time to take these polls? Who are these people giving us their opinions? Who are these poll-takers? And how many answer the questions correctly? Or do they just say what they think would be a good answer. I have never been asked about anything, and anyone who reads my stuff knows I do have opinions.

According to one poll, 70 percent of Americans say reaching the American Dream is harder for them than for their parents. (I tend to doubt that!) Sixty-two percent think America is on the wrong track.

How about the “War on Terror?” Sixty-nine percent are very worried about terrorism. And 63 percent are concerned about the much-publicized avian flu. The flu will come and go, but terrorism is with us until the end of time. (Maybe opinions like that are why I am never polled.)

Our grand old nation says gambling is the No. 1 entertainment (25 percent think gambling is the best of all time-passers; are you one of those?) I was cured of gambling at a crap game under a bridge outside Taylor, Texas, a long time ago. Had I been asked, I would have said reading a good book is my No. 1 entertainment.

The gambling industry likes to be called the “gaming” industry. Using the misleading word “gaming” for “gambling” does not ease the pain of losing a hard-earned salary. Hard core gamblers were behind the door when common sense was handed out.

But back to the polls. On a brighter note, 67 percent of us pray every day, and 53 percent describe themselves as “full-time servants of God.” Only 16 percent, however, base their moral choices entirely on the Bible.

Regarding the afterlife, a CBS News survey found 78 percent believe there is some sort of eternal existence after this life is over.

Other facts learned last year: Over a woman’s working career, she loses $1.2 million to wage inequity. Women are still a long way from being treated as equals in the workplace. If a woman were elected president, would her salary be less than a man’s? A woman president might keep us out of war. That would be a great savings in money and life right there. Unfortunately I do not see any women on the scene I could vote for. There may be one in the 22nd century.

More food for thought on the daughters of Eve: Every industrialized country except the U.S. and Australia has paid parental leave with a guaranteed job on return to work. In this regard, under the Bush administration, the Labor Department has eliminated 25 publications on pay inequity and child care. Guess they do not want to be involved in helping working women as they should.

As we move into the year 2006: I never gave much thought to living this long, but I enjoy it more with every day, month and year. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
 
Growing up on comic books and the funnies it seems hard to believe that we are getting so close to the 25th century and the world of Buck Rogers. Maybe by then we will have a woman president, and all our wars will be with other planets.

Britt Towery, a retired Southern Baptist missionary, begins his ninth year writing for the Brownwood Bulletin in Brownwood, Texas. A paperback collection of some of his columns, Along the Way, can be purchased from the author at britt.towery@cox.net.