Marilyn Writes

Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall began her career as a journalist with the Wyoming Eagle in Cheyenne. During her 20 year banking career, she wrote extensively for The American Banker, Bank Marketing Magazine, Trust Marketing Magazine, and other major industry publications. The American Bankers Association (ABA) published Barnewall’s Profitable Private Banking: the Complete Blueprint, in 1987. She taught private banking at Colorado University for the ABA and trained private bankers in Singapore.

Monday, December 05, 2005

What goes around, comes around

September 8, 2003 Grand Junction Free Press Page 10

(c) Copyright 2003, Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall, All Rights Reserved Grammy's Axioms, Special to the Free Press

By Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall

Axiom: For every action, there is an equal reaction. As we give, we receive. What goes around, comes around.

     There is no axiom that proves more powerfully than this one that each of us eventually gets precisely what we earn BB or, deserve.
     It is difficult to understand because people do not get their just desserts within 48 seconds or minutes or hours of when they hurt another. In some cases, it takes years. In others, it takes a lifetime.
     People complain about the corruption of the political system in America today but do little or nothing to keep up with important issues of the day. Perhaps that=s why the old axiom says people get the government they deserve.
     Just think of it! All of those people who get polled on the streets of New York City by David Letterman and on the streets of Los Angeles by Jay Leno each get to cast a vote in local and national elections.
     You know the people I mean... the ones who do not know the names of the president, vice president, and secretary of state of the United States. They are the ones who think Anchorage is in Turkey.
     For every voter who bothers to become informed, there are ten who do not. A certain percentage will vote a straight party ticket even if Attila the Hun is running for office. They say to themselves, "Better the scoundrels from my party than theirs." Or, they vote for the guy with the best or most colorful commercials on t.v.
     As we give, we receive. What goes around comes around. The result of these ideas are quite apparent in our failing social structure.
     People complain about the schools... when was the last time you went to a school board meeting? When was the last time you dropped in at school or attended classes with your child when permitted? How active are you in the Parent-Teacher Association?
     Have you investigated the personal background of the person who teaches your child? How about school board members who ask for your vote? In Berkeley, CA recently, a high school special activities teacher was arrested for prostitution -- her street price was $250 per "activity." She wants to be reinstated in her prior teaching job and the teachers union is fighting for her to achieve that objective.
     What we give, we get.
     Do you know what is going on at your child's school? Do you know precisely what information will be taught to your child? If not, do not be surprised if your child learns something about which you disapprove. When you give someone absolute power, it usually gets abused. When you do not stay involved in your child's school, you give the school system absolute power.
     For every action, there is an equal reaction. If your involvement in the schools your children attend is weak, the reaction of the schools to your needs will be equally weak. It is a law of nature.
     How about charities?
     Do you know how much of each dollar you give to a charity actually goes to the cause for which you make the contribution? Or, how much goes to pay organizational costs like salaries and job perks? It only takes two minutes to find out. Go online to
     Is it really necessary to go to this kind of "extreme"? After 9-11, Bill O'Reilly at FOX News found that two charities both had hundreds of millions of dollars sitting in the bank. People gave the money for a very specific reason. Both charities promised the money would promptly go to that cause. They were to give the money contributed to their organizations to the survivors and non-survivor families of the 9/11 tragedy.
     Months later, the money was not being distributed as promised. Why? Because both charities were making a small fortune on the interest paid for the huge deposits sitting in banks.
     O'Reilly's coverage of this abuse ended it. It was a pure and simple outrage... but we need to remember: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. An $800 million deposit gives an organization that no one holds accountable a lot of power.
     Both charities expected no trouble. No one ever checked on how they did business and they did nice ads promoting the good job they did. Why would anyone check on them? Because what goes around comes around. Because unleashed power corrupts.
     When people, organizations and governments become too big and too powerful, their primary objective is serving themselves instead of those they are supposed to serve... those who pay them to serve.
     The nicest thing the public can do for school boards, charities, churches, elected officials, and businesses is to maintain and exercise the power the public has over all of them.
     Somehow, it seems to me we have given up our power to control those things for which we pay hard-earned bucks.
     I remember the days when people would buy one share of stock in a local company and attend the annual board meeting. If questionable bookkeeping techniques were used, that one share stockholder would stand up and ask about it. Because people used to perform due diligence -- and do it publicly -- there was no place to hide. Thus, few people did things that required them to hide.
     What was Ronald Reagan's philosophy when dealing with the Soviet Union? Trust... but verify. It is what we need to do. Trust public employees and elected officials... but check on them to verify they are serving our needs, not theirs.
     One thing regarding these laws of nature -- what goes around comes around -- worries me more than any other right now.
     At this point in our history, there are forces trying intimidate Christians into giving up their beliefs, their holidays, their customs -- maybe even their God.
     Readers should know that I am not a religious person. That is, I do not go to church. I spend hours each week pondering the meaning of the words of Christ. I meditate on the Old Testament. I do not go to church. The reason I do not appears in Revelations.
     We get what we deserve in life. I did not say we get what we earn... a lot of people do not earn the lifestyles they live. Nor did I say we deserve what we get in death... the victims of 9/11 certainly did not deserve their fate.
     What I am saying is that if we abuse, we will be abused in life. If we lie, we will be lied to, and if we hate, we will be hated. Eventually.
     Today, society appears to reward abusers and penalize those who live their lives following a moral compass. Why?
     Remember, there is a difference between short-term success and long-term failure. We tend to see people during their high exposure years of success … like the guys who ran WorldCom and Enron. Their success -- achieved with no moral standards in place -- was just short-term.
     I fear removing the Ten Commandments and the symbol of the Cross from public buildings and lawns as the ACLU continually says we must. One of the e-mails I have received several times lately is about someone mourning the loss of the Twin Towers. It goes something like this:
     "Why, oh why, did God let this happen? How could He let two airplanes fly into these two buildings? How could He let so many innocent people die such horrid deaths? Why does our Creator hold His children in such low regard? This tragedy makes me wonder if there even is a God." The voice broke into sobs.
     A voice comes from beyond the blue of the sky, saying:
     "My Commandments have been removed from your classrooms. My Commandments and My Name are gone from your public buildings. Your judges say it is illegal to use my name at your sporting events, your graduation classes... even in your Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom.
     "I did not punish anyone with this horrible tragedy. Rather, I was doing what you requested of me. I left you alone. The tragedy of that day came from the hearts of men, not the hand of God."
     I believe what John Everett said when he spoke at the First Assembly Church this weekend. He spoke again at Mesa State College on Monday. Everett is a fire captain who worked at the Pentagon to help clean up the mess in the aftermath of the terrorist attack against America.
     "God was there," he said simply. I believe it.
     I believe God may simply be giving us what we want -- a secular (Godless) society.

It's about lawlessness, not racism

April 27, 2004 Grand Junction Free Press Page 10

(c) Copyright 2003, Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall, All Rights Reserved Grammy's Axioms, Special to the Free Press

By Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall

Axiom: Until you see all other people as your equal or potential equal, you are not theirs.

     According to former NBA star Charles Barkley, “The only thing liberals have done for blacks, is give them an inferiority complex.” Barkley is black.
     Because my granddaughters are half black, his comments are precisely what worry me as they mature and grow to be productive adults.
     They have had stable childhoods with both mother and father in the home. They attended charter schools in the suburban Denver area. Statewide tests place them among the top ½ of 1 percent of all Colorado students in their grades. I find it insulting that the University of Michigan thinks my granddaughters need 20 points added to their SAT scores to compete effectively with white kids. What arrogance!
      Many of our colleges and universities are taking a leading role in race intolerance. Jeanne McDonnell, a freshman at the College of William and Mary wrote a recent Washington Times editorial. She tried to enroll in a five-week seminar called the Summer Transition Program. It was designed to help develop good study habits and test-taking skills. She was denied admission because she was white. The program was for minorities only.
      Separate graduation ceremonies for blacks are offered at Vanderbilt, Stanford, California University, Michigan University and Pennsylvania University, among others. University administrators also make racially segregated student housing available. What would happen if a white student requested a “white only” dorm room or a segregated graduation ceremony for “whites only.”
     “Racism” (or, sexism and other “isms”) is defined as one person with social, legal or employment power over others who physically or socially abuses a person because of the color or shape of that person’s skin. I read that to mean that when one holds power over others and abuses it because of race, one is a racist. I do not read it to mean that only whites can be guilty of racist attitudes and acts.
     A letter to the Free Press editor in the April 21st issue about my illegal immigration article on April 19th suggests that because I quoted an expert who says human feces “deposited” by illegal immigrants in the Arizona desert is a biohazard, I am biased against Mexican illegals. The writer showed his own bias because I did not mention the word “Mexican.” I said “illegal aliens.” He assumed I meant Mexicans and accused me of making inflammatory statements.
     Truth is truth. Facts are facts. "Dear Reader: The act caused inflammatory reactions, not my reporting of the facts. People sometimes appear to have problems differentiating between the cause of a message and the messenger."
     I do not get upset when people disagree with me. Feel free to write all the letters you want to the editor disagreeing with me. Unless you have an axe to grind, I assume you will quote me accurately. The writer of this letter interpreted what my words meant. His interpretations were biased and he lays his bias at my door. He did not quote me, he interpreted my words. I usually have little trouble saying what I mean.
     As for the writer’s suggestion that I become familiar with Migrant Services in Palisade, I contribute to the organization regularly. I agree that Mexicans employed by our orchards are skilled, hard workers. I strongly support a monitored worker exchange program with Mexico. I do not and will not support a violation of America’s borders, Mexican or Canadian. Either we are a nation of laws or we are not. The word “illegal” is placed before the word “alien” for a reason… a factual reason.
     The writer was correct when he said immigration has a long and complicated history. There is, for example, Aztlan. It is a name given to the area of the United States ceded by Mexico at the conclusion of the Mexican-American War in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. Certain Mexican nationalists believe a separate country called Aztlan will be carved out of the United States and "re-conquered." Mexicans refer to it as "la reconquista." That is a fact, not a bias.
     The writer was incorrect when he says I portrayed “illegal immigrants as bloodthirsty.” I did not use that word. I did, however, quote the fact that warrants have been issued for illegal aliens in 1,200 of 1,500 murders in Los Angeles. I did not suggest the people sought for these crimes were Mexicans. I said “illegal aliens.” It is a fact. I have no idea if the illegals cited are of Mexican origin.
     As it pertains to my illegal immigration article, it is the lawlessness I oppose.
     People who consider others their equals treat them with respect, regardless of skin color. That applies to the attitudes of non-whites toward whites as well as the attitudes of whites toward non-whites.