This past Wednesday evening, Sharon and I along with our dear friends Dick and Jacquie Burlingame from the Lake of the Ozarks were fortunate to score tickets to see Mr. Karl Rove speak at the College of the Ozarks, near Branson, Mo. Mr. Rove, a Republican strategist, commentator, and noted author was to speak about the media and politics in todays’s America. Mr. Rove did not disappoint, however; he also did not talk about the media! While Mr. Rove was the star attraction on this beautiful Ozarks fall evening, the real attraction was this beautiful educational gem and the students that attend. More about Mr. Rove later, first let’s talk about “Hard Work U” and the students privileged to attend this terrific school.
After being bombarded with scenes from our own University of Missouri where fragile students cling to flagpoles because they somehow feel threatened by the world they are preparing to enter, it was wonderfully refreshing to see young men and women move confidently about this campus with a purpose. As might be expected, the presentation was heavily attended by hundreds upon hundreds of well dressed, appropriately groomed and eager students. These young people were polite and exceedingly respectful, reflecting perhaps, the Christian education they were receiving here. For those who may not know, there is no tuition at this College, rather students are required to work on campus 15 hours per week in a job normally performed by salaried and hourly workers. They may be found in the kitchen, dining halls, or just about anywhere that needs an application of human energy and service. It is a unique and obviously enormously successful concept.
The college band performed flawlessly before Mr. Rove spoke and was backed by a terrific choir as they led the National Anthem and other renderings that reeked of patriotism and unity. When the colors were presented by a ROTC honor guard the audience, to a person, stood silently with hand over hearts in respect for the flag and what it represents. The pride in America was palpable and tremendously gratifying. Among the honorees on the stage was a retired Marine four star general, who could not stifle a slight smile reflecting his appreciation for the America he fought for over a lifetime of service. The night belonged to a student body that instilled confidence in the future of this Republic, guaranteed by their belief in the core values that are under constant attack in other notable institutions of higher education. The four of us came away profoundly impressed by our experiences this night.
About Mr. Rove. To our surprise, Mr. Rove delivered a refreshingly non-partisan message of hope and confidence in the future of America. He described Washington D.C. as a mess, but assured the audience this was nothing new as he regaled us with story after story about the rancor and division that has existed in our government since this country’s inception. His recall of dates, times and history reflected his genius, background and unique understanding of the legislative and governing process. He reminded us that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were candidates who had the lowest approval ratings, going into the election, that America has ever seen. His overriding theme was that America is the greatest nation on the face of the earth and that we always find a way to save the day, in spite of the horribly divisive politics that seem to prevail in this age. It was a perfect reminder of what we are capable of, delivered in a place where optimism trumps pessimism decisively.
We came away refreshed. Our optimism in the future of America seems guaranteed by the energy and enthusiasm of a student body that reflects a belief in God, Country and what is right. I came away convinced that, in this place, there would be no cowering in a corner when presented with the inevitable challenges that life presents to us on a daily basis. Instead, these young, hard working people will set about solving the problem with a generous application of hard work and principle. After all, their efforts are being closely monitored by a God they believe in and trust deeply. We’re going to be okay America, our future is in good hands.