A common refrain of Mama’s, particularly during my high school and college years, was, “Don’t get above your raisin’, little girl.”

One of Mama’s constraint refrains was, “None of y’uns realize how much I do for this family. When I’m gone, y’all will all realize it.”

In his most famous dialogue, "The Republic," Plato, via Socrates, explored the idea that a just state would best function under the leadership of a perfectly just philosopher-king.

It may be a truism-in-the-making that one’s political career is over when, as a candidate, you must first apologize for your sex and race, which can mean only one thing: Young or old, you’re a white guy.

It ruins health. It demolishes peace at home. It leads to violence. It prompts open crime. It turns love into hatred.

It must be a grown-up thing, but every time I see Beto O’Rourke, I want to fix him a hamburger. He’s precious.

Needless to say, Jesus’ legacy reflects his life. It was and is a legacy of love, and it cost him his life.

It is important that we people of faith be clear that human tragedy is not the will of God.

When I was growing up in the rural South, things were simple. Life was enjoyable and, though we didn’t know it then, we savored those days.

Something nudged me the other day and sent me to a closet where high on a shelf, tucked back in a corner, was a collection of Mama’s gatherings.

Let’s consider some real news, for a change: Last year was officially proclaimed the fourth-warmest on record; scientists predict that melting ice in Antarctica and Greenland could not only raise sea levels but further destabilize weather patterns; and progressive members of Congress are proposing a “Green New Deal,” the first policy framework ambitious enough to meet the challenge of global warming.

There are 8.5 million Virginians. Surely the commonwealth can find someone to serve as governor whose yearbook page does not prominently feature a picture of a broadly grinning young white man in blackface and another wearing Ku Klux Klan robes.

Chances are, that if you’ve ever heard me speak more than once, you’ve heard me tell the inspiring story of working with Darrell Waltrip in 1989 when he won his only Daytona 500 by taking a big gulp of a risk.

Roosevelt and Hinckley By Ronda Rich Until the presidential election of 1988, Daddy, who always cherished his right to vote, had never cast a ballot for a non-Democrat. He was, as was most mountain kin of ours, what folks in the South call “a yellow dog Democrat.” In other words, they would vote for a yellow dog as long as he was a Democrat

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It is now January, which is named after the Roman goddess Janus who has two heads, affording him the opportunity to look forward and backward at the same time.

Always, as we enter into a new year, I like to look back at the past year and reflect on the memories, especially the good ones.

For the new year, critics of President Trump should resolve not to be intimidated by the potential wrath of his vaunted political base. The only one who should cower before the Make America Great Again legions is Trump himself.

Every two years the General Assembly meets in December at the University of Georgia. This “Biennial,” as it is called, is a time to get to know each other, break bread and start talking about the issues ahead. It is a happy and cordial time, when Republicans and Democrats can fellowship together before difficult votes are cast.

I didn’t just browse. I studied it. I wished with all my heart. Over and over, I read the descriptions. I turned pages down and then I would get a piece of notebook paper and write down the toy or other item, the catalog number and the price.

Every Christmas, when I decorate the crystal-laden tree in our bedroom, I hold up, one at a time, each of the three ornaments that are tinkling bells, ring them and say, “Teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”

President Trump was up early Monday morning, tweeting falsely that investigators have found “No Smocking Gun” that proves he did anything wrong. He meant “smoking,” of course. His vision must be clouded by the haze.

It’s interesting how a simple task will bring back a tumbling of memories and love by touching a tiny piece of tenderness tucked down deep.

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When Miss Independence arrived at the two-story brick elementary school, I walked determinedly through the doors, found a classroom and settled in.

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