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How do we explain apathy? And who cares?

BOB'N'ALONG by Bob Stealey

EDITOR

Whenever I think about apathy, one of the first things that comes to mind is an old joke about a taxidermist and his wife. Each Christmas, the taxidermist would spare one of the animals he would capture -- an owl -- and give it to his wife, who was quite handy with a needle and thread, as a gift. In exchange, she would mend his socks.

One year at Christmas, the man failed to give his wife an owl, only to find that his socks went unmended. The moral to the story? If he didn't give a hoot, she didn't give a darn.

Well, I'm afraid apathy is a little more serious a matter than that. I write about it now because we are only a little more than a month away from one of the most important general elections we've ever had. And somehow I have trouble believing that here in North Central West Virginia there will be any more interest from registered voters in who is elected than any past election.

To my way of thinking -- I refer here to the presidential election ... to the West Virginia governor's race ... all the way down to the individual county races -- it is much more than an election of individuals to the respective offices they are seeking. I believe it is an election pitting idea versus idea, principle versus principle.

I'll go so far as to state that it's an election that could very well determine our future freedom and liberties, our standard of living, our ability to earn an income -- you name it! It's not simply George W. Bush vs. Al Gore, or Cecil Underwood vs. Bob Wise, or any other "beauty contest" you might suggest.

At this point in time, apathy is the "candidate" that must be defeated. Ironically, it is the one that usually wins. We see apathy practiced in the home, in the church, in the workplace -- not to mention in public service. Apathy over the direction I fear this great country has turned has become critical.

But I don't think it's too late for us as a nation, or as members of the human race, in the scheme of things. I'm comforted by an Old Testament verse from II Chronicles 7:14 that says, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

Surely it's worthy of consideration.

------

I'm afraid I goofed when, in last Sunday's Bob'n'Along, I said I'd have the answers to "Who Wants to Win $64,000," a 10-question quiz on the TV show "The $64,000 Question," which aired back in the mid-1950s. So I'll provide the answers here and now. (Hope you saved your copies, 'cause I don't have space to repeat the questions.)

1., c, $64; 2., d, boxing; 3., c, Gino Prato; 4., b, Hal March; 5., b, Tuesday; 6., c, Isolation Booth; 7., d, $512; 8., c, After the contestant won $4,000; 9., c, a set of encyclopedias, and 10., d, "21."

------

I'll be taking a bit more vacation time this coming week, and will return to my desk Wednesday, Oct. 11, should you have any questions about the contents of Bob'n'Along. Have a nice Sunday and a great week ahead!

Bob Stealey can be reached via e-mail at rstealey@exponent-telegram.com.

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