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Reflections from a rocking chair
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Actually, it's a recliner, but "rocking chair" creates the image of a retired senior, which I have been for many years.

After returning from Linda Williams' memorial service a few weeks ago, I was reflecting on the wonderful service that Linda gave to Dawson County during her 16 years with the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, and realizing, sadly, that she had no time at all to enjoy her retirement.

We welcome the new chamber president, Christie Haynes, as she comes on board. She has a wonderful staff and supportive board to get her off to a good start.

But Marty and his family face a far different future than had been planned.

Life is filled with constant adjustments, not always easy ones.

Although I try not to delve too deeply into politics in my columns (partly because some of my political philosophy runs counter to the local mainstream), I had intended to use this week's space to reflect a bit on the recent primary election - and so I will.

It is probably not surprising that local incumbents held their positions. But it may be somewhat eye-opening to realize that the percentages by which that happened were not overwhelming.

It is commendable, I believe, when someone who is doing a good job is retained to continue that work, but it may also be worthwhile to note that others are watching closely to determine how it may be done even better. Thus some opposition serves to keep officials on their toes.

As I reflect on the national and statewide contests, I am somewhat despondent.

Far too much money and time are spent on negative nit-picking. I'm thinking not only of the millions in advertising, but also of the millions of e-mails and other "social networking" means of forwarding all sorts of information that is often taken out of context or even completely false. And it gets mindlessly passed on.

Reports of new kinds of wireless innovations that can tell us what our neighbors are doing can also be frightening. They may be helpful in opening windows to the world for citizens in countries where oppression has kept them in ignorance, but the flow of unfiltered, uncontrolled, uncheckable statements can also be dangerous.

The same may even be said of automation.

Think about how many labor-intensive jobs have been replaced, and increasing unemployment is a natural consequence.

Using communication systems as an example, remember the scores of people who manned telephones, telegraphs, typewriters, etc. and then realize how they have been replaced by robots and all the wireless systems. It has happened in manufacturing, too.

I am reminded of a lesson from Ernest Hemingway's "Old Man and the Sea:" Maybe we have gone out too far.

Helen Taylor's column appears periodically in the Dawson Community News.