By Jim Heffernan
I’ve been thinking a lot about what it might take to bring more “niceness” back to our daily lives. That was the goal of the recently posted “Civility Pledge” (See below for link.)
Samuel Adams, at our nation’s birth said, “I thank God that I have lived to see my country independent and free. She may long enjoy her independence and freedom if she will. It depends on her virtue.” He knew that what we carry in our hearts is far more important than anything we may write into our laws.
I got an interesting reply from the “Civility Pledge”. A gentleman from North Carolina said it reminded him of “Gene Autry’s Cowboy Code” which dates from his radio show in the early 1940’s, before Rosie the Riveter and long before Gloria Steinem. In the original, there was no mention of cowgirls and all the “theys” were “he”. It was a different time and some of our sensibilities have matured. I’ve upgraded it for the 21st. century. The sentiments are still golden.
Researching the origin of Gene Autry’s code took me into some strange rabbit holes. I came across similar worthy extensions from other people who came before and after Gene Autry.
In 1934, Zane Grey wrote in his 1934 novel “The Code of the West”, “No “written” code ever actually existed. However, the hardy pioneers who lived in the west were bound by these unwritten rules that centered on hospitality, fair play, loyalty, and respect for the land.”
In 2004, Jim Owen added his own gender neutral maxims. He was an investment manager for 35 years and hated what he saw on Wall Street. Casting about for a better way, he proposed that Wall Street operate by the Code of the West. I don’t think they listened, but they should have.
Jim Owen He went further to explain that the Code of the West was based on 4 pillars.
1. Live each day with courage
2. Take pride in your work.
3. Always finish what you start.
4. Do what has to be done.
I’m touched by all these corny sounding mottos and wonder if maybe my head is getting a little soft. Still, I firmly believe that in these days it is far better to be soft-headed and soft-hearted than it is to be hard-headed and hard-hearted.
As always, I welcome comments and discussion at email@example.com
*Civility Pledge Link – https://www.tillamookcountypioneer.net/ive-been-thinking-join-me-sign-the-pioneers-civility-pledge/