ROSE NOLEN: It's worth speaking up to solve the nation's problems

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 | 12:00 a.m. CDT

One of my favorite local characters was a man who operated an auto repair shop out of an old two-pump service station.

His place of business was decorated with a wild assortment of hand-painted signs, all reading “Buy Made in the U.S.A Only.”


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He made a memorable impression on me because he was carrying on his campaign back in the 1980s before words like "outsourcing" became a part of our vocabulary.

The old service station was torn down many years ago, but every time I drive past the corner where it stood, I think of the man who never quit preaching his sermon about the importance of buying American products.

It’s easy today to remember the man as someone who saw the future and knew it was going to be ugly. I’ll never know what happened in this man’s life to cause him to embark on his mission, but I’ve never forgotten him or his message.  

He didn’t live to see his predictions come true. He passed away before our jobs went to other countries, so he didn’t know how sorry some of us would be that we didn’t listen or act on his beliefs.

Like this old gentlemen, there are many people we often consider to be eccentric but who, in fact, turn out to be right on target. They are like the prophets of old. They see us going in the wrong direction and try to warn us to turn around. But, like people in every age, we don't listen.

Yet, using your voice to warn others, even if they don’t listen, is a heck of a lot better than remaining silent for fear others will laugh and think you’re crazy.

Another friend of mine who happens to be a minister has been spending his annual vacation for the last 15 or 16 years making a one-man pilgrimage to the office of the United Nations where he holds a prayer vigil.  

Every so often, someone will ask him if he doesn’t consider this a waste of his time. His answer is always the same. “Maybe not,” he says with a smile. “Maybe not."

I know a lot of other people who believe the world may soon end with a loud bang but think there is nothing at all they can do about it. They decide they might as well relax and make the best of a bad situation.

In the same sense, some people want to leave the world a better place than they found it. Others want to do all they can to make the future better for their children and their children’s children. Still others just want to live as well as they can for as long as they can.

We are indeed fortunate that there are so many among us who want to use their talents, skills and knowledge to make life better for as many as they can.

As our national political environment becomes uglier, many reveal themselves as the cruel, evil creatures they are. They see ideas that would make the poor wallow in their poverty as attractive options, and they profess to despise anyone who thinks otherwise.

Our country needs all the help it can get from those who are seeking peace and healing, so that it can become whole again.

I suspect that a great many have become so sickened by the behavior of some of our political leaders that they won’t bother going to the polls. There is no one they can trust. Many insist that it doesn’t matter which candidate gets their vote. The well has been poisoned beyond recovery.

Someone may be walking around with solutions to many of our problems, even though a lot of people have decided he’s a lunatic.

Hopefully, he’ll wander into my neighborhood. If he does, he needs to know, I’m all ears.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or sending her an email at

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Gary Straub August 16, 2011 | 9:47 a.m.

Unfortunately the voices of reason are more and more being drowned by the marching sounds of the herd who will blindly follow their leaders into whatever abyss they are led into.

Fortunately, the voice of reason is inside most all of us, and when we can begin to listen to that voice, perhaps we will learn to march to the sounds of that drumbeat.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith August 16, 2011 | 3:06 p.m.

Someone may be walking around with solutions to many of our problems, even though a lot of people may have decided he's a lunatic."

Have you someone in mind, Rose?

They ALL say they have solutions to many of our problems when they're running for high office. The one in the White House today said a lot of things when he was running for office. That's what politicians do.

It would be tragic if there IS someone out there now with solutions to our problems but hasn't a chance of being elected because some people have decided that person is a lunatic.

(Report Comment)
frank christian August 16, 2011 | 3:50 p.m.

Ms. Nolen - "Yet, using your voice to warn others, even if they don’t listen, is a heck of a lot better than remaining silent for fear others will laugh and think you’re crazy." If the "warnings" are administered in the manner you seem to employ, they will go unheeded because each of us reading you can rationalize that we are the ones trying to change "directions" for a better country.

The conflict is between Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, if you will and long before 80s, it began to control our lives. You would better serve us, in my opinion, if you would identify the "cruel, evil creatures" you see in our "political environment". Or, is it better, safer, high above the fray, looking down "preaching" to us from some cloud? You could at least go to the U.N.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley August 16, 2011 | 4:23 p.m.


If others think you are a fool, you might be better off to remain silent, rather than to remove all doubt.....

I wish others here would take that approach; since I am the "smartest person in the room"!

Ricky B. Gurley.

RMRI, Inc.
(573) 529-0808

(Report Comment)
frank christian August 16, 2011 | 5:51 p.m.

Mr. Gurley - It would seem your unaddressed post above could probably been directed at one, some, or all four of those named above. Do you intend, like Ms Nolen, to leave it to readers to determine whom the target of your demeaning suggestion may be?

I suggested she may be writing from a cloud, high above. Thinking about the rest of your post, I am of the opinion that you must now have a computer in your closet.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley August 16, 2011 | 6:10 p.m.

Frank Christian: "Do you intend, like Ms Nolen, to leave it to readers to determine whom the target of your demeaning suggestion may be"?

Yes, I will leave it to the readers.. They have a pretty good idea of who posts foolishly here......


They all know that I am "the smartest person in the room"!

Ricky B. Gurley.

RMRI, Inc.
(573) 529-0808

(Report Comment)
Robert Stinnett August 17, 2011 | 1:11 p.m.

All you have to do nowadays is go around and look at what is taking place in our own backyard to understand how we got here. People going around with a million tattoos all over their body, getting drunk every night and thinking the world revolves around them. People who wouldn't help their neighbor change a tire if their life depended on it. People who throw trash on the ground without a care in the world.

College is back in session and you can tell it here in Columbia. Some of the rudest people you ever want to meet are showing back up for another 9 months of drunkeness. These "future leaders" who practically knock old ladies down in the mall so they can run and spend daddies money.

Of course, if you ask me, the root of all these problems starts with the parents. Instead of indulging them to their every whim, perhaps its time to hold them accountable for their actions.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith August 17, 2011 | 3:54 p.m.

@Robert Stinnett:

Your description of college students definitely isn't complimentary! I'm not disagreeing with you (I don't have any basis for disagreement).

Are your comments directed toward MU students or to all local college students, since we do have two colleges here in addition to the university?

If those MU types are as bad as you suggest it's a wonder students from the Kansas City, Rolla and St. Louis campuses (collectively, the majority of University of Missouri System's students) would want to have anything to do with them.

Oh, I forgot, UMKC, UMSL and MS&T students don't have a choice.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire August 17, 2011 | 6:26 p.m.

Send them to ROLLA!!!

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