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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 27, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas Page 4A — Herald-Zeitung — Tuesday, December 27, 2005 FORUM Our Opinion Drive safely for our children’s sake With more children on the streets, ifs important to make sure we all drive safely. WH lile driving around New Braunfels, it takes only a few minutes to see that children are out of school for the holidays and our young men and women attending college are back in town. Children spending time at home makes the holiday season even more special. As any parent can tell you, watching their children open presents that were nestled under the tree is what make Christmas morning special. For those who have children away at college, having a few weeks to enjoy their young adults rekindles memories of years gone by. But while mom and dad enjoy their children, it is up to all of us to make sure the holiday season does not end in tragedy. Because children are out of school and families are visiting while on vacation, there will be more traffic on our streets and more youngsters walking around. Earlier this month, a San Antonio teenager lost his life when he was struck by a car while skateboarding. On Sunday, his family likely spent a day in mourning, missing a son, brother or friend on a day of celebration. It’s up to all of to make sure that doesn’t happen in Comal County. So slow down, look before turning and make sure this holiday season ends on a high note. Other Viewpoints Immigration debate not answering questions The Houston Chronicle on immigration: The immigration debate can be summed up in a single word: frustration. There’s frustration on this side of the border from Americans who are rightly asking why a great nation can’t control its southern boundary. And there’s frustration in Mexico City from a president who sees the worst in American isolationist sentiments playing out in the Congress. Mexican President Vicente Fox is angrily opposing a House-approved immigration bill, which, among other things, authorizes building fences along 700 miles of the 2,000-mile border between the United States and Mexico. Fox says the wall is an example of a “shameful” and troubling willingness in the United States to tolerate “xenophobic groups that impose the law at will.” That’s an overstatement that doesn’t serve well the immigration discussion in Washington. If anything, it risks hardening attitudes and widening the distance between true immigration reform and security-only half measures. Fox would be better served to find ways to improve Mexico’s economy in order to slow the pace of northern migration. As the U.S. debate now moves to the Senate, we urge lawmakers not to pass any legislation that cafis for erecting a physical barrier between the United States and Mexico. Allowing workers to step from the shadows recognizes that they are a major part of the U.S. economy and protects them from exploitation. Another key provision is one that would require employers to verify Social Security numbers or face penalties for hiring illegal workers. A Senate proposal from Republican John McCain and a guest-worker plan backed by President Bush offer more realistic approaches than the idea of building a wall. Otherwise, immigration reform is a mirage. Herald-Zeitung Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. New Braunfels Zeitung was founded 1852; New Braunfels Herald was founded 1890. The two papers merged in 1957 and printed in both German and English until 1958. Managing Editor Jeremy Pefford Editor and Publisher Doug Toney Circulation Director Jeff Fowler Advertising Director Neice Bell Business Manager Valerie Shields News Editor David Rupkalvis GUESTCOLUMN Learn to accept yourself first Most would agree that respecting each other’s differences is a key component in successful long-lasting healthy relationships. However, this acceptance is not the same as approval or tolerance. One can disapprove of the behavior and still accept the person. If your relationship includes physical or sexual violence, then tolerance is not a goal. As a counselor at a domestic violence and sexual assault services center, I have seen the extremes and can say, that in my experience, the majority of abuse survivors struggle with letting go of an unhealthy relationship. We commonly try to help victims learn how to accept the things they cannot change, courage to change the things they can and wisdom to know the difference. This old but useful serenity prayer can be applied to so many life experiences. Many problems emerge in relationships when we consciously try to get the other person to change, to be the kind of person we think they should be. These attempts to change another usually serve only to maintain that person where they are. In other words, that other person will most likely not only resist but try to change you. By contrast, there is the possibility that if we accept people as they are, they cannot stay the same. Acceptance does not necessarily mean liking what the other person does. Acceptance implies that you are OK enough about yourself and flexible enough to not need the other person to be a certain way with you. Thus, acceptance of the other depends very strongly on how good you feel about yourself. In acceptance, there is gentleness and respect toward oneself just as there is gentleness and respect for the other. But you cannot martyr yourself waiting for the other person to change. Acceptance of ourselves, however, is often very difficult. In our culture, we have been taught that we must always try to improve. We naturally tend to be very critical of ourselves. Most of us were reared in families where we learned more about what we did wrong than what we did right. And so we internalized a critical attitude toward ourselves. Such an attitude is often manifested not only in a focus on the negative in others but also in our embarrassment at accepting compliments. We respond by saying, “Yes, but I should/could have done better,” rather than a simple "Thank you.” Some useful common themes might be to say, “Tfeat me like you want me to be, not how you think I am.” And seek first to understand before you can expect to be understood. Gaining perspective can help you to have acceptance for self and others and give you the courage to make a change when necessary, especially if this change is detrimental to one’s safety. If you would like help in gaining perspective in an abusive situation, please call for free non-judgmental and confidential counseling at 1-800-434-8013. Lama MAYO Lai na Mayo is a counselor at the Comal County Crisis Center. Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Tuesday, Dec. 27, the 361st day of2005. There are four days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Dec. 27,1932, Radio City Music Hall opened in New York. On this date: In 1822, scientist Louis Pasteur was born in Dole, France. In 1831, naturalist Charles Darwin set out on a voyage to the Pacific aboard the HMS Beagle. (Darwin’s discoveries during the trip helped to form the basis of his theories on evolution.) In 1904, James Barrie’s play “Peter Pan: The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up” opened at the Duke of York’s Theater in London. In 1927, the musical play “Show Boat,” with music by Jerome Kern and libretto by Oscar Ham-merstein II, opened at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York. Mf»«M United States Government PRESIDENT ■ George W. Bush 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20500 SENATE ■ Kay Bailey Hutchison Russell Senate Office Building Room 284 Washington, D.C. 20510 Tslsphone: (202) 224-5922 Fax: (202) 224-0776 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 145 Duncan Drive, Suite 120 San Antonio 78226 Talaphona: (210) 340-2885 Fax: (210) 349-6753 B John Cornyn Russell Senate-Hart Room 517 Washington, D.C. 20510 Talaphona: (202) 224-2934 Fax: (202) 228-2856 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) AUSTIN OFFICE: 221 West Sixth St., Suite 1530 Austin 78701 Talaphona: (512) 469-6034 Fax: (512) 469-6020 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 600 Navarro, Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Talaphona: (210) 224-7485 Fax: (210) 224-8569 CONGRESSMAN B Lamar Smith Rayburn House Office Building Room 2184 Washington, D.C. 20515 Talaphona: (202) 225-4236 Fax: (202) 225-8628 Wab address: (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 San Antonio 78209 Talaphona: (210) 821-5024 Fax: (210) 821-5947 B Henry Cuellar 1404 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Talaphona: (202) 225-1640 Fax: (202) 225-1641 Wab address: SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 1149 E. Commerce St., Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Talaphona: (210) 271-2851 Fax: (210) 277-6671 GOVERNOR Moil to conin Texas Government imimiiiiim H Rick Perry State Capitol, Room 2S.1 RO. Box 12428 Austin 78711 Talaphona: (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512) 463-1849 STATEHOUSE H Carter Castvel 254 E. Mill St. New Braunfels 78130 Talaphona: (830) 627-0215 E-mall address: carter.casteel @ house, state.tx. us STATE S E N ATE H Jeff Wentworth 1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 720 San Antonio 78209 Talaphona: (210) 826-7800 WHILE IN AUSTIN: Talaphona: (512) 463-0125 E-mail address: jeff. Wentworth H Judith Zaffirini RO. Box 627 Laredo 78042-0627 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 12702Toepperwein Road #214 San Antonio 78233 Talaphona: (210) 657-0095 Fax: (210) 657-0262Sticking your nose in other people’s business is bringing down union CHARLEYRBISE Charley Reese is a columnist for King Features Syndicate. You can write to him at PO. Box 2446, Orlando, Fla. 32802. I wish to urge you to secede — not politically from the union, but from the culture, which is, after all, decadent and nutty. Recently I flipped on CNN Headline News. The first story was about educators and students complaining that it takes too long to take the SAT (three hours and 45 minutes). Given how many functional illiterates graduate from college, I d say the test is not long enough. It has been watered down through the years. The second major story on the national news show was a complaint by a spokeswoman for a whore’s union about dangerous v irking conditions. It was not clear if she wanted police to escort the whores to their motel rooms or if she wanted the FBI to run background checks on the johns. At any rate, the folks at CNN thought this was a most important story to share with the American people. As I said, our society is decadent and nutty. We all have to do what we have to do to make a living, but beyond that, we have a great deal of freedom to live our lives by our own values. For example, if you don’t approve of gay marriage, then don’t marry a gay person; if you disapprove of abortion, don’t get one; if you dislike drugs and tobacco, don’t use them; if you are opposed to war, don’t participate in it; if you are against gambling, don’t bet. It’s my observation that most of what people vociferously complain about are not things they are forced to do, but things that other people choose to do. A favorite phrase of my father—“None of your business” — seems to have become obsolete in our busybody society. The government is a busybody, its supporters are busybodies, and its opponents are busybodies, making it a conflict among busybodies as to which aspects of people’s private lives the government should regulate. The government should not regulate people's private lives at all. It should protect them from force, fraud, usury, foreign attacks and the rape of our share of the planet. Other than those, if some people wish to self-destruct, it’s nobody else’s business, least of all the government’s. Most of today’s polluted culture comes into our homes via television and the Internet. Neither is a necessity. Both are easily controlled by thoughtful people. Nobody forces us to watch or read anything. Nobody forces us to buy anything or to spend more than we earn. Blaming our bad habits on advertising or the entertainment industry is just passing the buck. We can turn off and discard those aspects of modern culture we find offensive. We should realize that the cultural messages found in advertising and entertainment are the products of a very thin slice of the population, centered mostly in New York City and Los Angeles, two of the least-typical megalopolises in the U.S. A majority of writers and producers are cynical hedonists we wouldn’t invite into our homes. Since their work products reflect their values, which are foreign to most of us and certainly to traditional American values, we ought to keep their work products out of our homes and minds. We don’t need the government to do it. We can use the on/off button. We have plenty of freedom, but too often we cede it to commercial interests, which tell us to watch this, do that, buy this, go here or go there. We can, however, by active concentration lead a quiet, thoughtful life free from the clamoring crowd. Buddhists sometimes say that people seeking enlightenment are like thirsty people surrounded by water. By that they mean what is sought is easily at hand if we only recognize it and reach out and take it. The solution to all of the ills of our nutty culture lies not in Washington but in the hearts and minds of the American people. The culture is really us; therefore, by changing ourselves, we can change the culture. We just have to learn to say “No.” Secularism, hedonism and nihilism, which characterize today’s culture, spell the death of any civilization. It may well be that Western civilization has already committed suicide, as some have argued. That means it is all the more important for the remnants who still believe in ideals to preserve themselves and provide the seeds for a new and better civilization. ;