The Gifted Pickle Sucker

It is distressing to watch the news now-a-days.  No matter where you turn, journalists and reporters are commenting with excessive negativism on our country’s leadership, and the citizenry is in revolt against each other.

Gordon B. Hinkley, a leader of the LDS church until his death in 2008, said in 1977, after a visit to Washington D.C.:

‘Said I, “Surely this is the age and place of the gifted pickle sucker.”

The tragedy is that this spirit is epidemic. Criticism, fault-finding, evil speaking—these are of the spirit of the day. They are in our national life. To hear tell these days, there is nowhere a man of integrity among those holding political office. In many instances this spirit has become the very atmosphere of university campuses. The snide remark, the sarcastic gibe, the cutting down of associates—these, too often, are of the essence of our conversation. In our homes wives weep and children finally give up under the barrage of criticism leveled by husbands and fathers. Criticism is the forerunner of divorce, the cultivator of rebellion, sometimes a catalyst that leads to failure. . . .

I come this morning with a plea that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that we “accentuate the positive.” I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment virtue and effort. I am not asking that all criticism be silenced. Growth comes of correction. Strength comes of repentance. Wise is the man who can acknowledge mistakes pointed out by others and change his course. I am not suggesting that our conversation be all honey and blossoms. Clever expression that is sincere and honest is a skill to be sought and cultivated.

What I am suggesting and asking is that we turn from the negativism that so permeates our society and look for the remarkable good in the land and times in which we live, that we speak of one another’s virtues more than we speak of one another’s faults, that optimism replace pessimism, that our faith exceed our fears.

In many ways, Hurricane Harvey has taken our focus off of our differences, and allows us to see the generosity and compassion of people in the face of tragedy.  Why does it take a tragedy to bring us together? Do we need to have another Pearl Harbour for the people to have a common goal again? Watching people coming together during this crisis, people from diverse backgrounds, all reaching out to strangers,  no matter what their creed or color, is heartening, and helping to restore my faith in humanity.

I’m also asking that we all turn from this negativism that is permeating and destroying our society.  It seems that many of the protesters are simply interested in creating anarchy and violence, not actually in effecting a positive change for society. Let’s see if we can find the good in people. Stop the backbiting and violent protests. Work together to build up our community and our country.  We’re all in this together. 

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