Culleton: Inspiration from a reader, despondence over wall

The Christmas edition of this column suggested that readers share the guidance and examples of parents in addition to traditional presents. The reply cited below should educate and inspire all of us:

“John, I have just read your piece in the CC Times this a.m. And … it triggered so many memories regarding how my parents instilled long lasting values I still embrace. Our farm outside of Union Bridge, Maryland was the site for Heifer Project which began after WWII. This project was born in the Church of the Brethren. Heifers from all over the nation arrived at our farm and then shipped to war torn Europe. From 1944-1948, 3600 head of cattle were at our farm. The caveat being that when a family in Europe got a heifer the first female offspring would then be passed on to another family. This is now known as Heifer International located in Little Rock, Arkansas. They now have a myriad of animals that are shipped around the world. We had German Prisoners of War working on our farm. We had a German Student live with us for a year. We adopted a Japanese family during their internment and sent them items they were unable to get. I learned from my parents that the world was much larger than just Carroll County. That we are citizens of the world and if able we must not turn a blind eye to the needs. Not a surprise that I in adult years worked at Church World Service and later became an ordained minister and served as a Chaplain at Brook Lane Health Services which is an inpatient and outpatient hospital for the mentally ill. Thanks for sharing your memories. We were both privileged to have parents with integrity.


— Patricia Roop Hollinger”

The squabble over the border wall is distinctly less inspiring. Among the examples of walls that existed in the past is the one erected by France to defend them from another attack from Germany. Named the Maginot Line it was a wonderful structure for fighting World War I. It consisted of a series of forts with overlapping fields of fire. But World War II involved different weapons and a different strategy on the part of the enemy forces. The German Army simply went around it through the Lowland countries of Belgium and over it with aircraft.

In similar fashion, the persons smuggling drugs into the United States have not been encumbered much by our border wall segments. They are going around them by sea and by air. Sometimes they tunnel under them. The majority of illegal immigrants arrive on legitimate visas and then overstay them. The crime rate among recent immigrants, legal and illegal, is lower than the crime rate among citizens born here.

We need more workers. But our unemployed are not trained for these new jobs.

About 25 percent of our federal work force is either not working at all or working without pay just to fulfill Donald Trump’s campaign promise. Only 25 percent of Americans think that this expensive shutdown is worthwhile. Our airline security is seriously endangered by workers who call in sick because they aren’t being paid. They need to work other jobs to pay the rent and buy food for their families.

We will be rid of Trump and his follies at the latest by mid-January 2021. In the meantime the damage he does will grow and grow. The national debt will balloon to unheard of levels. His last allies are in the Senate and we here in Carroll County have no leverage there. One-by-one Republican senators are abandoning him, putting national interest ahead of perceived party loyalty on some key issues. But that is the exception rather than the rule.

Batten down the hatches mate; the storms will get worse unless we get very lucky.