Lucky should help needy

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I’ve been lucky all my life. My parents barely survived the Great Depression. I was lucky that they knew the value of education, and saw that I got a good one. I was lucky to have a better-than-average brain, and loved chemistry when it was a uniquely great time to be a chemist.

Yes, I did have a good work ethic, but even that character trait has an element of luck to it.

I am now in my 90s – another sign of luck – and I am distressed by the emphasis on individualism as a dominant characteristic for solving our country’s problems. This is the “I got mine” attitude, considering those less fortunate as deserving of their fate – as if the millions who lost their jobs at the end of the Bush presidency somehow deserve their plight.

We even see and hear criticism of the jobless for idleness, even though there clearly are far too few jobs available for the numbers looking. Many of the destitute got there as a result of one serious illness or accident. And of course, we should not blame a child for being born into a poor single-parent household.

The coming election may be the most important in my lifetime, as it pits the rich and successful – yes, the supremely lucky – against those far less fortunate. We all need to realize how big a role luck plays in who has succeeded, or not. Considering one far less fortunate, perhaps one should think: “There but for the grace of God go I.”

There may be no time in our country’s history that we are more in need of a community attitude that extends a hand to all those in need. And, by the way, wasn’t that at the heart of Jesus’ message?

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specsta
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specsta 06/10/12 - 03:08 am
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Wisdom

Mr. Reilly, you have probably seen it all at 90-plus years. Your letter about "community" really sums it up - we do need to look out for others, and not just our own interests. Thank you for your insight.

Retired Army
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Retired Army 06/10/12 - 07:13 am
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Certainly disproves the

Certainly disproves the perception of all the eldery all being "Greedy Old People" even if polls do show that to be the base of Conservative/Republican Party/Tea Party adherents.

Some folks do learn in their lifetimes.

Thanks Victor, great letter!

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 06/10/12 - 10:09 am
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Helping the needy

There is no question that we lucky ones have an obligation to help those that are not so lucky. The question is how should it be done. There is where liberals and conservatives disagree.
BTW, I hate the word "lucky." I don't think it applies here or anywhere.
I would prefer "fortunate" and "unfortunate"

impossible
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impossible 06/10/12 - 10:18 am
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Victor, you prove that
Unpublished

Victor, you prove that advanced age does not necessarily involve wisdom. A car's tires make many revolutions when stuck in the mud, but they merely spin without making much if any progress. It's never too late to sincerely seek and accept the truth.

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 06/10/12 - 10:25 am
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Impossible

Wisdom comes from experience. Some people live to an old age without any experience.

gcap
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gcap 06/10/12 - 10:31 am
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With all due respect

Mr. Reilly, your view of luck simply is wrong. No one said it better than golf icon, Gary Player. He said, "The harder I try, the more I practice the luckier I get." Good luck is in Las Vegas or the lottery. So is bad luck.

Until our citizens understand that rolling the dice will never replace diligence, the odds are clearly not in our country's favor.

Jane18
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Jane18 06/10/12 - 10:44 am
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Not Luck

I was going to say the same thing as Carleton, concerning the word lucky. Luck is a chance thing, and Mr. Reilly's parents knew luck was not going to pay the bills. They had in themselves that "something" that helps people keep on keeping on. Mr.Reilly, you had great parents and role models, and it seems you are proof of that. Wouldn't it have been wonderful, if your parents(and some of ours)had been the ones to instill "ethics" in much of the "unlucky" people of today.............

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 06/10/12 - 10:59 am
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Luck

I guess that most of us are in agreement on the word "luck"

harley_52
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harley_52 06/10/12 - 11:12 am
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It's NOT "Luck"....

...except that you are "lucky" to be an American.

In America, success or failure in life results from the personal choices we make as we live. We are free. As your life progresses, each day you make a choice to get up, or remain in bed. To go to school or to skip. To study, or not. To use illegal drugs, or not. To have unprotected sex out of marriage, or not. To serve in the military, or not. To learn profession or trade, or not. To go to church, or not. To marry, or not. To spend all your money, or to save some of it. On and on, and on.

At various points in life, the effects of these individual choices combine as time goes on and those combined choices accumulate and begin to define our lives as happy, or unhappy, successful, or failure, wealthy, or poor.

I agree with several earlier posters who minimize the impact of "luck" in life and highlight the role of good choices and hard work. It's possible for "luck" to have a major impact on one's life, even if it's usually temporary. Look at all the lottery winners you see who become instant millionaires from being "lucky," but a year or two later they're poor, unhappy, and broke because of the bad choices they make.

Your happiness and success in life, no matter how you gauge it, is mostly the result of decisions you make yourself.

I began this comment by saying "in America" because we have traditionally had the freedom to make our own choices within the limits of the laws we're obliged to follow. In other countries, citizens are not so free and that's why you see countries where being poor is dictated by the ruling government. I'm sad to report that America is embarked on a path that may ultimately become just like those other countries where individual success is limited, or even prohibited, by a repressive government. A society where the ability to make free choices is replaced by government mandates and where the citizenry is destined to failure and misery.

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 06/10/12 - 11:36 am
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Ritired Army said

Certainly disproves the perception of all the elderly all being "Greedy Old People"

As a member of the elderly population I have to disagree. I feel a little ashamed when I hear and see members of AARP asking for more and more from the younger generation who are struggling to feed, clothe and get their kids through school. Those young people don't owe us a thing. If we didn't prepare for our old age then we got exactly what we deserve. I know, some were not as "lucky" as me. Don't get me started on that. Most of us made our own "luck".

harley_52
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harley_52 06/10/12 - 12:21 pm
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"Valuing someone's sacrifice

"Valuing someone's sacrifice is better served by emulating the value's they cherished, some with their lives, that planting flags once a year."

True, but both have their purpose and both are important.

Planting those flags once a year symbolizes our respect for what they did and a demonstration of the way society honors, values, and appreciates what those people did. Children see it, they are impressed, and they learn from it. It reinforces the actions and values being celebrated.

Society is the better for it. It is definitely NOT empty symbolism.

Conservative Man
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Conservative Man 06/10/12 - 03:20 pm
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The only "luck" I've had is

The only "luck" I've had is being born American. Generally everything else that has happened to me has been because of good or poor decision making. I disagree with Mr. Reilly's statement that "many" become destitute because of hardship.Some do, but I submit that "most" get there because of poor decisions.
Because I chose to not have kids I could not afford I'm more "fortunate? Because I didn't do drugs and end up in prison, I'm more "fortunate?
Because some chose to play hooky and hang out at the lake rather that get a "free' education, they are less fortunate? Because some chose to smoke dope and addle their brains with pop culture non-sense they are "less-fortunate"?
I ain't buying it.
Granted those of us who have managed to survive and in some cases thrive DO and SHOULD give back to the community at large. Especially to those who truly are "the least among us".
But Mr. Reilly, you're not gonna make me feel guilty because I'm not turning over my hard earned money to louses, welfare brood mares and leeches....
And before any one tries to label me as one of the "fortunate" (i.e.born rich or having a silver spoon in my mouth) I came from a VERY lower middle class single parent household and watched my mom work her tail off to support five kids on minimum wage. I have what I have from hard work.
Maybe some of the "less fortunate" should try it as well...
Henry Ford said, (I'm paraphrasing), "Good luck and success often come disguised in overalls as hard work"....

KSL
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KSL 06/10/12 - 05:25 pm
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Actually the very trait that

Actually the very trait that Victor decries as being a problem is what got him where he is. Ironic isn't it?

KSL
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KSL 06/10/12 - 05:26 pm
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Well said conservative man.

Well said conservative man.

itsanotherday1
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itsanotherday1 06/10/12 - 05:36 pm
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"Generally everything else

"Generally everything else that has happened to me has been because of good or poor decision making."

Absolutely!! Lord knows I've made some bad calls in my time; but I've had the wherewithal to remedy them. Sure, we have some citizens that are purely victims of misfortune, but the vast majority in long term dire straights are there for a reason. I don't think there is a one among us who doesn't have care and concern for the truly needy, who would be glad to help themselves if only they could. It is the entitlement crowd that paints all of them with the same brush while the liberals supply the paint.

KSL
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KSL 06/10/12 - 06:55 pm
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By the way, those of us in

By the way, those of us in Aiken get a double dose of Victor. He is a very frequent contributor of letters to the Aiken Standard.

Gage Creed
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Gage Creed 06/10/12 - 08:17 pm
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at least 30 more days of

at least 30 more days of "luck" before another LTE from Mr. Reilly

specsta
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specsta 06/10/12 - 10:57 pm
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Consider the Less Fortunate...

dichotomy wrote - "We look around and see that the "less fortunate" are driving cars, watching big screens, talking on their cell phones all of their unemployed day, obviously eating pretty well, and all with the knowledge that we are paying for it."

Are you claiming that somehow you are paying for unemployed folks to eat a meal, own a car, and have a big-screen TV - that it's coming out of YOUR pocket? You must have some really big pockets.

Then again, have you considered that a lot of unemployed folks PAID for those things themselves, maybe had a 401k, some savings, etc. BEFORE they lost their jobs? Between your belief that those who need food assistance should be living in famine and now your assertion that the unemployed must live in squalor before qualifying for benefits, it is clear that there is some resentment going on here...

smokeysbandit
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smokeysbandit 06/11/12 - 01:08 pm
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Harley @ 11:52....your

Harley @ 11:52....your lottery comment reminds of a conversation I overheard many years ago shortly Georgia started the lottery. I was in a convenience store in Thomson waiting to be checked in (did route sales then) when 2 women near me were talking about being laid off from their job at what I believe was Healthtex in Warrenton,Ga. They were complaining how the welfare checks and food stamps just didn't go far enough and didn't know how they would make ends meet. The reason I saw a problem in this...they were standing in line to buy lottery tickets and I stood there and watched each woman spend $20.00 on tickets. Now,I'm not judging these women to condemn them but to point out lack of judgement on their part. Common reasoning stands to tell you that if you are struggling to make end meet then you can't afford to throw away money on a "chance" to win more.

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