The Congressman and the trouble with things that are popular

A Congressman came to town on Monday. The Honorable Mike Johnson, of the fourth congressional district (that’s our neck-a the woods), was in South Webster over at Lakeside for a history lesson, a Q&A session, and a bit of life coaching. 

I’ve heard the congressman speak before including when he was practicing law and fighting in courtrooms to let Americans live by the writings of our Founding Fathers. You know – the freedom of’s and the freedom to’s.  

I’ve come away impressed every time I’ve heard the man speak. I hold very low opinions of many politicians, but not so for Congressman Johnson. The reason is a simple one – I believe what he’s telling me because I know he believes it. I know he’s honest. 

Two things from Monday that resonate. 

He told the kids if you think somethings wrong you can’t go along with it and just because something’s popular doesn’t make it right. 

Boy. You can say that again. 


I said you can say that again. 


He told the kids if you think somethings wrong you can’t go along with it and just because something’s popular doesn’t make it right. 

I’ve written about being a reed in the storm. The analogy is when the storms blow in it’s not the reed that breaks. It’s the mighty oak. The one that stands against the wind is the one that takes the hits and sometimes loses everything. The weeds, the reeds, the mire and the muck, well, they stay alive because they can bend to the will of the roar. 

I’m a reed a lot of times. So are you. So too are we all. We go along with things we know are wrong because standing against them, being an oak, will likely just get us knocked flat. And sometimes you’re not going to get back up to answer that bell. 

I’ve nodded my head and gone along with what was popular because it was easy. Because I was a coward. Because I valued the world of men more than the world beyond. So instead of fire from my belly and a cry of NO, I just shrug and go about my way with all the other reeds. Apathy becomes a way of life and before long you’re believing it when you’re told 2+2=5. 

I know all this to be true and I think you do, too.

So what’s to be done? What can one person do against such recklessness? 

Break the chains of apathy. Read. Educate yourself. Go to political events and ask questions. Don’t have a cynical and distrustful view of education. Education is, as it has always been, the answer to everything. You want real weapons? Don’t go to the gun shop. Go to the library. 

Learn. Question. Berate if you have to. And then, then after all that is done, do the single most important thing you can do as an American citizen.


Vote for candidates who share your beliefs. Vote for city council. Vote for police jury. Vote for school board. Vote for sheriff. Vote locally. That’s where change begins. Not in Washington. Vote for good men and women and tell them what you want for this nation, for your family, for those who will come after you. And most importantly, vote out the others. 

We only have one responsibility in this life. And that’s to leave the world a little bit better than you found it. Picking up arms isn’t the answer. Picking up a book is. 

(Josh Beavers is a teacher and a writer. He has been recognized five times for excellence in opinion writing by the Louisiana Press Association.)

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