Sunday, August 15, 2010

“My Birthday Gift…a Cravat*”
by John Alexander Madison
August 15, 2010

For a very long time a neck tie seemed to be the perfect Father’s Day gift for good old dad…the guy who has just about everything. It wasn’t unusual to send another for his birthday and, perhaps, yet another at Christmas time. That tradition did not come without consequences including a rapid accumulation of ties which one may never wear.

Such was the case when I recently found a gifted tie from my sister which I am certain was sent within the last decade (I think). This was not an ordinary tie. It was nice enough to wear right away but it hadn’t quite broken into the group of regularly worn, most favorite cravats. But, alas, with my newly purchased brown suit this special tie become the perfect gift...I just hadn’t realized that for about ten years. Allow me to explain.

The tie was from the Civitas collection called “The City Tie.” The brown, tan and light gold pattern was that of the streets of Nieuw Amsterdam (again, for those of you from Yorba Linda, California that would be New York City.)

The attached card label read as follows: “The City Tie” CI-VI-TAS n. Latin 1. Citizenship esp. as imparting shared responsibility, a common purpose, and sense of community. 2. Beautifully crafted, hand-finished, pure silk ties.

That really says it all…my sister had sent me a beautifully crafted, hand-finished, pure silk tie, I LOVE IT! Thanks sis.

But wait, that also got me to thinking about definition number one...about citizenship. What ever happened to imparting shared responsibility, a common purpose, and sense of community? That’s a tough one to answer. Many of us learned about citizenship in our formative years in high school civics classes. For those of you from Yorba Linda, California civics classes were offered and, I believe, mandatory many years ago…they preceded current class offerings such as “Building Self-Esteem,” “How to Land a Good Job at McDonalds,” “Advanced Body Part Piercing,” “Tattoos Are Colorful,” or “Why Work, Give Socialism a Chance.”

Back on point, one of the first cravats I remember wearing, at age 10, was a bright yellow one tied in a simple knot over my blue Cub Scout uniform. Without reference to the internet I can, to this day, recite the Scout Oath (or promise) for you: “On my honor I will do my best, to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”

Likewise the Scout Law is forever imbedded in my memory (in spite of several gigabytes of lost memory) ”A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent”.

In subsequent years I pursued quite a number of merit badges including ones for cycling, archery, canoeing, first-aid, swimming and citizenship. A merit badge for studying how to be a good citizen...what a concept!

The Boy Scouts of America website discusses America as “a patchwork of communities that differ from each other and may be governed differently. But regardless of how local communities differ, they all have one point in common: In the United States, local government means self-government. Good citizens help to make decisions about their community through their elected local officials." In order to earn a merit badge in Citizenship a scout learns about the rights, duties, and obligations of citizenship, and he can explain how you can demonstrate good citizenship in your community, Scouting unit, place of worship, or school. He must also attend a city or town council or school board meeting, or a municipal, county, or state court session; he learns about branches of government; he interviews a person from a branch of government; and so much more including presenting a program to others about what he has learned. I repeat, what a concept!

In light of the disastrous path down which this one-term 44th President of the United States of America has taken us it seems that the silent majority is alive and well and ready to take back our country this November by ending the entitlement mentality of the Washington, D.C. elite. It appears that quite a few folks agree with Congressional candidate (R- AZ) Ben Quayle when he said B.H. Obama is the worst president in the history of this country.

It would be refreshing to see scores of citizens in every community from coast to coast calling for change…change we can truly believe in…especially in our schools. Civics classes taught the greatest generation and several which followed that it is our duty as citizens to participate in making this world a better place. That effort and attitude can and should resume where it left off some 20+ years ago.

*NOTE: For those of you from Yorba Linda, California “The cravat is the forerunner to the modern tie, and in modern usage one can refer to a necktie as a cravat.” (from

In my view, America has been dumbed-down enough; several generations of Americans have also developed an entitlement mentality, one which cannot be sustained. This country has achieved its greatness through tolerance of divergent views and differing agendas…but we should NEVER tolerate an anti-American agenda…not even from the President of the United States. There should be no reward for arrogance nor his ill-advised politics which are quickly destroying America.

This is a call to all Americans to step up and exhibit the characteristics of citizenship. We are, after all, Americans first. We must learn the language, we must assimilate…just like our forefathers envisioned more than 230 years ago.

Citizenship…as imparting shared responsibility, a common purpose, and sense of community.

Wake up America! Throw the bums out on November 2, 2010…every single one of them.

A good start would be to go to and buy a Civitas tie…it will serve as a daily reminder of what we all must do. ..exhibit good citizenship.

Disclaimer: I, John Alexander Madison, own no stock in this company. However, I am a shareholder in the greatest nation on Earth- the United States of America.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back Mr. Madison. I enjoy your columns and in any event it was getting lonely here.