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Great and Good

by Stan Crader

Great ain’t always good.

My next novel will feature a group of court-house-bench codgers who gather daily to test their adversarial bond. Their discussions begin somewhat innocuous and inevitably escalate into debate and occasionally evolve into fierce full-blown arguments. The goal is to provoke the reader to thought beyond the story. To that end, I’m developing topics about which the learned group will vehemently discuss, for example, the difference between good and great. One of the codgers will claim the difference between good and great is simply a matter of degree. Another will argue that to the uninformed, a matter of degree would seem so, but actually the two words are mutually exclusive. And through their debate the reader will be provoked to consider the following.

Great denotes size and power; good has a moral component that isn’t required to be great. It’s possible for a country or a person to be considered great without having done anything good. History books are full of countries that have achieved world dominance and then crumbled, Rome being the traditional example, and more recently, The Soviet Union.

America rapidly achieved great world power dominance and has maintained that status longer than any other country. America is great but she’s also good. America has maintained its greatness because she is good. America, as a country, provides charitable goods and services to more people worldwide than any other country, by far. And Americans, as private citizens, provide more charitable services worldwide than most countries.

One curmudgeon will mention confirmed cases of political corruption and another will acquiesce that America is not perfect and then follow up with numerous examples of Americans rescuing the helpless at home and abroad. In an effort to support goodness, a third codger will mention the founding father’s faith and the debate will then move to the misconception that began the separation of church and state debacle.

The goal will be for the reader to consider the seemingly subtle but significant difference between good and great and a short list of examples of America’s greatness, due to its goodness. The codgers won’t settle the literal definition of the two words since the discussion will migrate to the goodness of America, born largely from the faith of Americans. And then the debate will center around the founding father’s faith, including a discussion of George Washington’s first action as president, praying at St. Paul’s chapel.

The fever pitch adversarial jawboning will be exceeded only by the codger’s exhibition of love for God, country, and each other.

Stan CraderStan Crader was born and raised in Bollinger County Missouri. Coming of age in rural Missouri provided him the material for many of the rich characters in his books. He credits the variety of jobs and the people with which he has worked for providing him his creative foundation.

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