Harold Kuehle lived life large

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

HAROLD KUEHLE ... a good friend and a warrior in life, died last week. He used a wheelchair after a high school football injury but never was confined by it. He was bigger than most people and was tall among men.

We spent many hours together in various Jaycee, governmental, religious and civic involvements. Our articles last week captured his patient, non-complaining, example-setting style of life as did the fine homily by Grace United Methodist Church pastor ANSELM WILLIAMS at Harold's funeral.

The service was led by Scripture and music suggested by Harold and his wife PEGGY, who dealt with Harold's six-year struggle with cancer and the inevitability of the final months which they faced with Christian spirit.

I saw them both three weeks before Harold's death and could see understanding in his eyes. I gave him my book "When Character Was King" by Peggy Noonan, which I had found to be so positive and inspiring in this time when we all need such input. The next day I received a religious tape and book that Harold wanted to share with me as they were important to him and Peggy.

At the funeral, a song that was said to be Harold's favorite was sung at his request. The music was beautiful and so was the message. The lyrics are as follows ... I can see why Harold liked it ... especially if you knew Harold:

Lord of the Dance

Words by Sydney Carter

I danced in the morning when the world was begun, and I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun, and I came down from heaven and I danced on the earth. At Bethlehem I had my birth.

I danced for the scribe and the Pharisee, but they would not dance and they would not follow me; I danced for the fishermen, for James and John; they came to me and the dance went on.

I danced on the Sabbath when I cured the lame, the holy people said it was a shame; they whipped and they stripped and they hung me high; and they left me there on a cross to die.

I danced on a Friday and the sky turned black; it's hard to dance with devil on your back; they buried my body and thought I'd gone, but I am the dance and I still go on.

They cut me down and I leapt up high, I am the life that'll never, never die; I'll live in you if you'll live in me; I am the Lord of the Dance, said he.

Chorus: Dance, then, wherever you may be; I am the Lord of the Dance, said he. And I'll lead you all wherever you may be, and I'll lead you all in the dance, said he.

History's narrative: The hardest thing to convey in writing history or teaching history is that nothing ever had to happen the way it happened. -- David McCullough, interviewed by Roger Mudd in "American Heritage: Great Minds of History"

Fiscal policy can stimulate the economy ... by changing the incentives taxpayers face. The principal measure of incentives is the marginal tax rate: the tax you will pay on your next dollar of income. A reduction in marginal rates increases the reward for working, saving and risk taking; and higher rewards produce more effort and more rewards produce more effort and more economic activity. So to get growth you cut marginal rates.

Ronald Reagan was fond of saying that an economist is someone who sees a policy work in practice and wonders whether it will work in theory. Economists can argue about the effect of tax rates, but in this century we've had three demonstrations of tax cuts boosting growth: The Reagan tax cuts and the boom from 1983 to 1990. The Kennedy tax cuts and the prosperous 1960s. And the Coolidge-Mellon tax cuts in the booming 1920s.

In all periods other things were happening, of course. Peace in the 1920s and the Vietnam War buildup in the 1960s. Budget balance in the 1920s and deficits in the 1980s, and so on. But the one unifying feature is that all three tax cuts focused on reductions in marginal rates. For stimulus, a tax cut should focus on marginal rates. -- Excerpt from "Thinking Things Over" by Robert L. Bartley in The Wall Street Journal

Incumbent heaven: Members of Congress don't have the equivalent of faculty tenure, but you wouldn't know it by the election results. So many incumbents won by such large margins that Saddam Hussein could have sent election observers to critique the lack of political competition.

Overall 98 percent of House incumbents won, and four of the eight who lost had been thrown into new districts with other incumbents. Seventy-eight candidates had no major party opposition, including six of the 10 seats in Massachusetts and seven of 25 in Florida. An astonishing 189 members won with 70 percent of the vote, and 352 of 435, or 81 percent, won with at least 60 percent.

Out of California's 53 House seats, only four candidates won with less than 60 percent, and only one with less than 55 percent. That was for the seat Gary Condit made infamous. In New York, 26 of 29 races were won with 60 percent or more, in Illinois 17 of 19 and in widely competitive Texas a mere 24 of 32. We know it was a good incumbent year, but this is ridiculous.

A large cause of this jury-rigged democracy is the bipartisan gerrymandering that carves out "safe" districts. Add in the natural advantages of incumbency, such as access to money and media, and we are getting close to something like lifetime tenure for the House. Win one election and you can stay as long as you can stand the company. The 52-seat GOP gain in 1994 now looks like the exception to this modern rule, a rare confluence of Newt Gingrich's daring, an usual number of retirements and public anger at Bill Clinton.

The other exception is Iowa, where district lines are drawn by a nonpartisan panel, and where four of the five House races this year were won by less than 57 percent. They're called elections,. The rest of the House should try them sometime. -- The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

If you want young people to take notions like right and wrong seriously, there is an indispensable condition: They must be in the presence of adults who take right and wrong seriously. -- William J. Bennett, author of "The Book of Virtues"

Gary Rust is the chairman of Rust Communications.

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