Seeing the good and bad in people

Recent events are, as usual, a glimpse into the see-saw nature of humanity

Posted 1/13/20

It has been an interesting week.

Good news came at the end of last week when volunteers with the Salvation Army were doing a final count of kettle donations and found a gold coin wrapped in a …

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Seeing the good and bad in people

Recent events are, as usual, a glimpse into the see-saw nature of humanity

Posted

It has been an interesting week.

Good news came at the end of last week when volunteers with the Salvation Army were doing a final count of kettle donations and found a gold coin wrapped in a piece of paper. That annual gift came down to the wire and Salvation Army volunteer John Wright said those involved were beginning to wonder if the mysterious donor had perhaps died, or moved, since the 2018 Red Kettle Campaign.

It is a multi-year tradition in Paris that at least one gold coin is deposited in the kettles. It is not known who the donor is or when or where the coin will be dropped, but it is an exciting moment for those involved with the fundraising activity to find it.

We regard the anonymous leaving of the coin an affirmation of being human. Here is an individual, or perhaps multiple individuals working together since we don’t know, with some means and desirous of helping others without seeking credit or public notice for the generosity or even the ability to use the gift as a tax deduction.

To whoever donates the gold coins each year, thank you. It is a grand gesture that makes many of us compare that quiet generosity against our Ebenezer Scrooge tendencies.

Local attorney Dave Frisse is retiring and our conversation with him earlier in the week reaffirms something that has been said in this space so many times before – the community is turning a corner. As a longtime observer and participant in community activities, Frisse also sees the change.

Frisse explained he witnessed the passing of the entrepreneurial class that drove the local economy during the 1950s through the 1970s. A nationwide economic turndown in the 1980s hit the county hard, and locally population declined, people got poorer and with that came a community attitude that mediocre was OK and perhaps all we deserved.

He is encouraged by the young people starting businesses, making Paris their home and looking for ways to improve the community. We are, too, and join with Frisse in saying mediocre is not good enough.

On a more disturbing note is news out of Springfield that an uncovered email by powerful lobbyist Michael McCain revealed an attempt to use his influence to protect a state worker facing disciplinary action because the person kept silent about ghost employees and a rape that allegedly occurred in Champaign County. This is an abhorrent example of how depraved some people can be. The idea that party loyalty that helps hides crimes, especially a violent act, is worthy of protection cannot stand.

We expect some people to claim this is an example of Democratic politics in Illinois that wouldn’t happen if Republicans were in control. Not true. Those of us who watch the news feeds know that Republican controlled states have their own scandals. This is not about political parties being either good or bad, it is about people falling under the dark side of power and refusing to do the right thing.

We join the legislators of both parties who are demanding an investigation with perhaps a special prosecutor. This cannot be swept under the rug or ignored until it goes away.