The ugly American who lives next door – So good, I had to share…

The ugly American who lives next door

We need to agree on something, make this world a better place

Since when do so many people feel they need to be obnoxious?

It used to be common knowledge that most Americans were viewed that way by locals in countries Americans visited abroad. Now it seems that an increasing number of people here at home are in on the act. What happened to civility and sensitivity? Are we so threatened by politicians and the media that we have to become bullhorns with our opinions and beliefs in our own defense? Is tolerance outdated?

Many opinions seem to be created out of reactionary ignorance and helplessness rather than informed research and discourse. Is it possible that many of our problems (and the world’s) could move closer to solution if we all took a collective breath and found something we agree on and build from there? Could we remove soundbites used to manipulate the words of our opinion shapers and spend the necessary time working on resolutions needed to resolve serious issues rather than the distractions of attention grabbing headlines?

These are all questions that need to be answered both individually and collectively in our society. There are answers out there if we put our minds, our wills and forbearance to work toward a goal of greater justice for all.

Flag waving and name calling will obviously not cut it.

After religious institutions start paying taxes like most individuals and businesses in America, they will have earned their political say in the pulpit. But until that time let’s have the “flocks” pray for the goodness of men’s hearts and benevolence from above.

From the beginning of our country, and continuing to this day, there was a very necessary separation of church and state. God nourishes our spirit for the greater good of mankind. We have more than enough non-religious institutions for political action.

Regardless of your stand on gay, inter-racial and mixed-religion marriages, global warming, abortion, war, the military-industrial lifeblood of our balance of trade, illegal aliens, and the right to bear arms, we are all in this together.

Let’s put our heads together for the greater good, and not just to decide who God’s chosen people are. It is pure arrogance for those among us to believe that we can conceive of exactly how and what God thinks. We all travel on our own paths and need not be sheep following the loudest or sweetest sounding bleat ahead.

We are privileged in this country to be assured of an education when our efforts are put to good use. With the encouragement of loved ones and positive role models, we have the ability to evolve into a more tolerant, sophisticated, peaceful and deserving society. Let’s make God proud of us. No matter what name we call him by, he’s still the only One.

The Olympic spirit does not need to wait for the next two- to four-year cycle. If we put the same spirit to use daily on a local level we will be amazed at the progress we can make in our own neighborhoods. Hard work, dedication and camaraderie will always succeed over the narrow territorial selfishness, gang mentality and the oppressive nature of “me first.”

The opinions we should all value are not necessarily the most popular ones. They are the ones that help make sense out of the chaos that modern man has created. These opinions should be our own. They should develop, grow and evolve as we as individuals do.

We do not need extremists in the media to lead us. Nor do we need the continuing dumbing-down of our society by condescending and greedy advertisers and their absurd attempts at being politically correct.

We owe it to ourselves to look deeper into our own lives to find what is missing.

For the most part, none of us can be too educated. We need to grow far beyond what we learned in school and build a pathway for advancement in the real world not only for ourselves but for the benefit of our descendants. There are so many people and places in need, not just in Mansfield, Ohio, but the entire world. We are all needed desperately somewhere.

If we have faith in ourselves and look hard enough, we will find that place. And the world will be better for it.

Lark Bales, a 60-year-old graduate of Mansfield Senior High School, the University of Cincinnati and the Vermont School for International Training, has traveled extensively around the world, working on cruise ships for more than 14 years, and served in the Peace Corps in the Republic of Botswana from 1974 to 1976. Email

What they are saying so far…

Joseph Gorka · Top Commenter · US Air Force NCO Academy

I agree with almost all of your letter. Faith in yourself alone will not work. You must have faith in God and the instructions concerning how to live. It is indeed a personal issue.

  • Paul Hanson

    “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength … Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”
    Mark 12:30-31

  • Annette McCormick · Top Commenter · Florida Atlantic University

    Lark.. That was the finest cohesive line of thought I have read in the Mansfield News Journal for YEARS.  Thank you.
  • Mary Wise · Top Commenter · Garfield

    Words of praise fail me.
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