Two boys in Illinois took a shortcut across an orchard, and did not become aware of the presence of a vicious dog until it was too late to reach either fence. One boy was spry enough to escape the attack by climbing a tree, but the other started around the tree, with the dog in hot pursuit, until by making smaller circles than it was possible for his pursuer to make, he gained sufficiently to grasp the dog’s tail, and held with a desperate grip until nearly exhausted, when he hailed his companion and called him to come down. “What for?” said the boy. “I want you to help me let this dog go,” he said. President Abraham Lincoln relayed this story after a messenger ended his report of Union losses at the battle of Fredricksburg by saying, “I wish I could tell you how to conquer or get rid of these rebellious states.” He concluded: “If I could only let them go, but that is the trouble. I am compelled to hold on to them and make them stay.” America has many times sent men and women into the field of battle. In our history, we have faced off against many of our current allies. Currently, we are waging wars on many fronts against terrorism. Like an octopus, its tentacles reach across borders and find their way into dozens of countries — including the U.S. mainland. It has been well over 100 years since Americans faced a battle on the mainland. Of course, there is no one here today who can share firsthand the experience of watching thousands of Americans stand against one another on fields in Gettysburg or Chickamauga, but there are gallant survivors of battles in Germany, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, Kuwait Iraq, Afghanistan, and countless other countries where our troops have served. The basis of any fight is often a struggle between ideas. One party thinks one way. The other party thinks another. Without middle ground, a battle ensues. Now our country finds itself on the home front in a battle of ideologies, we have those who wish to pull the country away from its founding documents which set us as a republic bringing together a collection of other smaller republics, now called states under one umbrella called the United States of America and those who wish us to hold tightly to them. Some desire to change our economic system which coupled with the principles of our founders created the greatest model of freedom within our world’s history. A system which allows any man or woman with drive, and an idea to raise themselves up from the depths of poverty. I know this because I experienced that within my own family. There are those who want to move from capitalism to socialism or communism or any shade in between. Folks desire to take from those that have and give to those who have not. Speaking as someone who participated in the upward momentum from have not to have. Our family’s have came from hard work – endless hours of hard work. From that hard work, we have helped many have nots move from poverty to success by also doing hard work. We have also helped put monies into charities and projects that help those unable to do the hard work, or give others the ability to help themselves. There is no better system in the world. The battle is now being waged at the highest levels of our country’s leadership. I am seeing and hearing thoughts and desires that I could never have dreamed would be uttered by elected officials in my life. I pray that God continues to stand with our leaders who are trying to preserve our republic, our servicemen and women who fight and die to protect it, and all our citizens as we march forward serving our country and communities. I wonder if our myriad of leaders wishing to pull us in so many directions feel now as Lincoln’s boy chasing the vicious dog — if we ever catch it, and have a hold of the tail. How are we ever going to let go? I am afraid in the case of America, our bite will be worse than our bark so they better hang on tight.
About Randall Franks — Actor/entertainer Randall Franks is best known as “Officer Randy Goode” from TV’s “In the Heat of the Night,” a role he performed on NBC and CBS from 1988-1993 and now on WGN America. He was part of cast of three other TV Series including Robert Townsend’s “Musical Theater of Hope” which aired on UPtv (Gospel Music Channel). In his latest film “Broken” he stars with Soren Fulton, Felix Ryan, Bailey Borders and Joe Stevens. In another recent film “Lukewarm” he starred with John Schneider, Nicole Gale Anderson, Bill Cobbs, Jenna von Oy and Jeremy Jones. He starred with Natalie Grant and Billy Dean in the teen drama “Decision“ and in “The Solomon Bunch,” a children’s adventure, Randall does a comedic cameo. As an actor, he has co-starred or starred in 15 films with stars such as Elizabeth McGovern, Mia Wasikowska, “Doc” Tommy Scott; William Hurt, Dolly Parton, Stella Parton and Christian Slater.
Randall is friends with Lee County Courier publisher Jim Clark.