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Thinking about Gomer

by Fred Cederholm

We can learn so much about ourselves and our contemporary messes via the comedic caricatures from "The Andy Griffith Show."
I’ve been thinking about Gomer. Actually I’ve been thinking about “arresting,” the Bernanke FED, the National Debt, the wars, Blackwater, and WE the people...

Growing up in the 1960’s, I enjoyed watching the Andy Griffith Show about daily life in the fictional community of Mayberry RFD. A favorite episode was the one where gas station attendant Gomer Pyle asserted his rights as a citizen and challenged the authority of Deputy Barney Fife (let’s call him “B”) by running into the intersection shouting “Citizen’s ah-RAY-est! Citizen’s ah-RAY-est! Citizen’s ah-RAY-est!” Citizen Gomer stopped ol' Barney cold in his tracks while “B” was making an illegal U-turn in front of the Sheriff’s office.

You see, the verb “arrest” not only means 'to apprehend,' it also means 'to stop.' With the trappings of his office--his limo (I mean squad car), his uniform, his side arm, and his bullet--“B” had gotten just too big for his britches.

In a letter to Bishop Randall Creighton in 1887, Lord Acton stated: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” In a comic sense, even ol' “B” in the sleepy little town of Mayberry fell victim to the heady rush of his office. It took Gomer’s initiative to set things straight and bring ol' “B” back to Mayberry from his Olympian fantasies. We can learn so much about ourselves and our contemporary messes via these comedic caricatures from "The Andy Griffith Show."

The FED’s action to ease interest rates on Sept 18th temporarily kept the U.S. equity markets within less than 2% of their all-time highs, but the action trashed the dollar relative to other currencies in the process. EUROs continue to test new record highs. The British pound, the Japanese yen, and even the Mexican Peso have risen relative to the dollar. This action did zip to fix underlying messes created by cheap money--the housing bubble, the escalation of consumer/household debt, or the global proliferation of virtually worthless collateralized debt obligations (CDO’s). The benefits of temporarily propping up some $300+ billion in sub-prime mortgages were more than lost by the drop in the current purchasing power of the dollar to an economy which imports over $800 billion more a year than it exports. Sha-Zamm! Even Gomer knows that 800 of negatives offsets 300 of positives. Chairman “B” and FED Governors... your mission is to control inflation and provide a stable currency for US/us.

Last week Congress (with the help of the national media) snuck through another $850 billion increase to our National Debt ceiling.
Last week Congress (with the help of the national media) snuck through another $850 billion increase to our National Debt ceiling. The proposal also had at least $9 billion for continued military action in Iraq and Afghanistan. It should be noted that the Pentagon is seeking $190 billion more. It took this nation from 1791 to midway 1980 to accumulate $850 billion in total National Debt and now our fiscally profligate Congress hopes We the People won’t notice a bump in the ceiling of $850 billion? What Congress really hopes is that this increase will get them through the 2008 elections! Last week, the use of mercenaries supplementing our troops in the sundry military actions blew up when employees of Blackwater USA were alleged to have killed over 16 innocent civilians in Iraq in an unprovoked retaliation. The duly-elected government of Iraq pulled Blackwater's certification and wanted them out. Our government ignored both the de-certification and the request. We also learned that such private hired guns are so critical to the war effort because they may actually outnumber our regular troops there.

Huh? What? Let me repeat that: “Paid mercenary/consultants may actually outnumber our regular armed forces in Iraq.” Now, Gomer Pyle was by no means a scholar of politics, economics, ethics, or warfare; but he had such a beautifully simplistic and common-sense appreciation for what is truth. Nobody needed to lecture him on what was the right thing and what was flat-out wrong. He already knew that—naturally. He was honest, loyal, and trustworthy. He loved his community of Mayberry and he loved his country—the United States of America. We must learn from Gomer and hold our elected (and appointed) officials accountable for what it is that We the People want.

“Citizen’s ah-RAY-est, Citizen’s ah-RAY-est, Citizen’s ah-RAY-est.”

Enough already... end the policies and actions that are destroying this nation and our reputation worldwide.

I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.

Copyright 2007 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at

Copyright © 2007 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

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This story was published on October 1, 2007.