Category Archives: Inspirational

Blessed is the peacemaker

Rep. George McGill, D-Fort Smith, left, and Rep. Andy Mayberry, R-Hensley, share an embrace after McGill’s speech.
By Steve Brawner
© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

Over the course of a three-month session, legislators make thousands of speeches at the Capitol. Last Friday, Rep. George McGill, D-Fort Smith, gave one of the most memorable – ever.

The issue was Senate Bill 519 by Sen. David Wallace, R-Leachville, and Rep. Grant Hodges, R-Rogers, which reserves each third Monday in January as a day to honor Dr. Martin Luther King.

This year, Arkansas was one of three states, the others being Alabama and Mississippi, that honored King and Gen. Robert E. Lee on the same day – the result of an unfortunate historical coincidence along with a lack of sensitivity. In 1947, Arkansas made a state holiday out of Lee’s birthday Jan. 19. King’s birthday was made a federal holiday in 1983, which meant there would be two state holidays at about the same time each year. Lawmakers did not want state employees to have another paid vacation day, so in 1985, Gov. Bill Clinton signed a bill combining the holidays.

2016 wasn’t so bad

By Steve Brawner
© 2016 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

More than a few people are expressing their hopes for a happy new year by saying good riddance to the old – the basis being that they aren’t happy with the presidential election, along with the fact that a lot of famous people died in 2016, especially lately.

The truth is that famous people die every year, and it’s not the year’s fault. Also, whatever you think about the election, the good news is that we had one.

Consider that on March 1, almost 632,000 Arkansans went to the polls to help select the two major party candidates. Then in November, about 1.13 million Arkansans voted in the general election for one of those two candidates or for one of six others. In January, the current president will peacefully hand the Oval Office’s keys to his successor and become a private citizen, while the new president takes the reins of power only temporarily.

In praise of being naive

By Steve Brawner
© 2016 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

Somewhere there is a perfect spot on the spectrum between being naive and being cynical, and humans should try to find that perfect spot. But humans err, so err on the side of being naive.

I write that in the face of the most cynicism-inducing election of my lifetime. And I’m apparently not alone because a deep cynic would say that voting itself is an act of naivety, and yet Arkansans and people across the country are lining up at the polls to do it anyway.

19 not-angry students

By Steve Brawner
© 2016 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

All adults have been 18 once, but most of us have not been 18 in 2016. There’s a difference, which I kept in mind as I spoke to 19 freshmen taking part in a special leadership course at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith last week. 

The students were there because the university’s chancellor, Dr. Paul Beran, believes they’re future leaders, and for some reason he thought I might have something to say to them. So I encouraged them not to get mad. Proverbs 22:24 says, “Make no friendship with an angry man,” so don’t be that angry man.