On Tuesday, October 2, 2012, as the presidential candidates headed toward their first debate, my thoughts turned to the country we live in, a country which has borne, and still bears, it share of spilled blood as the price for the freedom we all cherish. It is an amazing country, where we choose our leaders by vote and not by gunfire.
I often think about where the country is today, vis a vis the world. Was the United States destined to become The United States? It’s a question I often ponder, considering that a scant 234 years ago there was no country in existence, but only a huge, essentially undeveloped land mass, inhabited by perhaps a million Native Americans, Mexicans, and others. Suppose Great Britain, and not America, had won the American Revolution. What would have happened if there had been no United States in place to counter the 20th century efforts of Germany and Japan to rule the world? Suppose there had been no United States around to thwart the drive of Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union to impose communism on peoples and countries throughout the world.
Was America supposed to endure all the bloodshed, all the heartaches, all the growing pains, to get to, shall we say, its destined place in the world?
I think about the Civil War as well, a war which cost the country hundreds of thousands of lives, not to mention the enormous emotional suffering, and financial and property losses. What would have happened if the Confederacy had won, if the Union had not been preserved. Clearly there would be no United States of America, not as we know it today. The Union prevailed, thanks to the unrelenting efforts of Abraham Lincoln. Was that result preordained?
I was doing some Civil War background reading recently. It seems that shortly after the battle of Belmont, Missouri, November 7, 1861, Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant, who ultimately became commanding general in charge of all Union forces, was out on horseback, alone, doing some reconnoitering near the Mississippi River. At one point he stopped alongside a cornfield. A troop of Confederate soldiers, under the command of Major General Leonidas Polk, “The Fighting Bishop,” passed within about fifty yards of where Grant was mounted. He stared at the passing troops, who stared back at him. Grant then turned his mount and trotted slowly away until out of sight, then, increasing speed, galloped away as fast as the horse could carry him, returning to the ferry which had brought him downstream.
The next day, while on a truce-boat, he met some officers from General Polk’s command. He mentioned to an officer he had known both at West Point and in the Mexican War that he had been in a cornfield near their troops when they had passed by. The officer, who had been on General Polk’s staff, replied that he and General Polk had seen Grant. He had heard General Polk tell his men, “There’s a Yankee (meaning Grant). You may try your marksmanship on him if you wish.” But no one did. Upon his return to the transport, he threw himself down on a sofa briefly, then arose to go out on deck. Moments after he got up, a musket ball pierced the head of the sofa where he had just been laying, imbedding itself in the foot of the sofa.
Earlier that day, Grant had had a horse shot out from under him.
U.S. Grant has been acclaimed by some historians as the man who saved the Union. But was it mere happenstance that he was not killed in battle, or was there a higher power working in his favor? Without Grant, President Lincoln would not have found the general he had been looking for in the earlier war years, a general who knew how to fight. In that case, perhaps the war would have ended differently. Perhaps, also, it was supposed to end the way it did, with a triumphant Union.
I think the United States is a stabilizing force in the world today. I also think that’s the way it was supposed to be, from the beginning.
The need for a skilled work force was one subject touched on during the presidential debates. It’s a step towards an improved economy. Having strong writing skills will make you part of that work force. It will help in job placement, career advancement, and improved business performance. One facet of those skills is to avoid the use of unnecessary words. Edit, edit, edit. Make your copy tight. Tight means succinct but readable, using the least number of words possible to get your thought across. Make your writing easy to understand, conversational, so it sounds natural. These techniques and others are explained in my eBook, “The Art of Clear Writing.” It is available on amazon.com/kindlebooks for $4.99, but can be previewed free of charge.
Copyright © 2012 Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.