Law Givers

Now the law-grinding begins in earnest.  Last night’s State of the State speech by Governor Nixon ends all of the ceremonial stuff that we go through at the start of the legislative session.  From now until mid-May, the people we have elected to work for us in the House and Senate will be increasingly consumed by the making of laws.

A few years ago I kept running across a newspaper column by Dr. Frank Crane while prowling through microfilm copies of old newspapers at the State Historical Society of Missouri. Crane was a Presbyterian minister, an advocate of positive thinking before Dr. Norman Vincent Peale became widely known in newspapers and on radio and TV.   Crane came along when radio was in its infancy. He died in 1928 just as the medium was starting to fly.

Ten little books of his “Four Minute Essays” were published in 1919.  If you look around on the internet you probably can find them.  Although some of them have words or themes that clearly  are in the context of his times, most of his writings have a timeless nature.
For instance, he wrote in one column called “Clean Business:”
“Better than big business is clean business.  To an honest man the most satisfactory reflection after he has amassed his dollars is not that they are many but that they are all clean.  What constitutes a clean business?  The answer is obvious enough,but the obvious needs restating every once in a while.  A lean profit is one that has also made a profit for the other fellow…Any gain that arises from another’s loss is dirty.”

Then there’s this one from volume nine of his ten little books:

I am Law. I am Nature’s way. I am God’s way.
By me comes order, unity. In my hand I hold three gifts: health, happiness, and success.
Those who do not follow me are devoured by the dogs of disease, misery, and failure.
The ignorant fear me, they run from my face, they tremble at my voice; but the wise love me and seek me forever. I am their desired lover.
Fools think to outwit me, and that no son of man has ever done.
I am more clever than the cleverest. I am stronger than the strongest. I am old as God. I never sleep. I never err. I am virile as youth. I am accurate as mathematics. I am beautiful as poetry. I am sweet as music.
Without me there could be no art, no harmony of sounds, no charm of landscape or picture, no government, no life.
I am the secret of goodness. I am the horror of sin.
I am the eternal path, and besides me there is none else. Without me men wander in the labyrinth of death.
Heaven is where I am. Hell is where I am not.
I am efficiency in man. I am loveliness in women.
I am everywhere; in every wrinkle of the infinite waves of water, in the oak, in the brain, in nourishment, in excreta, in disease, in soundness, in the lover’s clasp, in the corpse, in the stars, in the storms.
I whirl. I dance. I flame. I freeze, but always mathematically. For I am more intricate than calculus, more accurate than any instrument.
They that live by me find peace.
They that kiss me find love.
They that walk with me come at last to God.

The people the citizens of Missouri have elected to write the laws of Missouri will be in session until 6 p.m. May 17.

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