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I am not writing this column to be political.

I am not writing it about politics.

I am not writing it because it is the Presidential election month of 2020.

 

I am writing it because I heard the phrase “Negative Nancy” in a church sermon preached by my son recently and thought that might be a fun phrase to research and write about. I had no idea it came about from our 36th President, Lyndon B. Johnson. He used the phrase “Nervous Nellies” while discussing his Vietnam policy and from that “Nervous Nellies” eventually evolved to “Negative Nancy.” And “I cannot tell a lie,” these are not connotations someone wants to be known as. They refer to being worrisome or disagreeable. “Nervous Nellie” actually began by referring to an over excitable horse.

I have always had a fascination with the presidents of the United States, maybe because they were and are willing to take on that position knowing it will include putting up with Negative Nancy’s and Downer Dan’s. John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” That must be what most presidents have in their minds when they run for office. It cannot be for the benefits. Rutherford B. Hayes, our nineteenth president believed, “He serves his party best who serves the country best.”

So, as we go through this historical election, we must remember this is still about the good of the country. If we could all just leave the negativism there by the door and continue forward, we would be in a brighter spot. That probably will not happen, but I challenge us to try. I like this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt to give us a positive boost, “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” And this month, part of our United States will be Negative Nancy’s, Debbie Downer’s, and Pessimistic Patty’s. The other part of us will not. It will depend on if the candidate we are rooting for wins. And there is no reason to get “hot under the collar” if our candidate does not win. Remember what Abraham Lincoln said, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” So let’s be a Positive Polly or create our own effective epithet, like Rootin’ Rita, instead. (I hope to be an Encouraging Carole.)

 

In conclusion, I would like to add a few more quotes. The first one is from President Jimmy Carter. He was not one of the greater presidents, but he had great beliefs. One of his most memorable quotes came during an interview, “We have a tendency to condemn people who are different from us, to define their sins as paramount and our own sinfulness as being insignificant.” That does remind me of a Bible verse having to do with taking something like a log out of my eye before looking at what is in someone else’s eye (Matthew 7:3). And remember this quote? “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” from Franklin D. Roosevelt. That reminds me of more verses about not fearing, which are included in the Bible 365 times. That is enough guidance and authority for each new day. And Abraham Lincoln had a great, biblical sounding quote when he said, “I am rather inclined to silence, and whether that be wise or not, it is at least more unusual nowadays to find a man who can hold his tongue than to find one who cannot.”

 

Presidents, as much as we may or may not like them, come and go. But we all know who our true unchangeable leader is and who is always totally devoted to us. Dwight D. Eisenhower was not a Christian until ten days after taking over the Presidential office in 1953. Just three years later, he declared our motto to be, “In God We Trust.” He is the only known president to meet God while serving.

 

Some may think nothing great ever comes from the White House.

That time the greatest did.

Now that is something to be positive and grateful for.

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Negative Nancy
by Carole Gilbert

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