The term has become to be known as a call for help. Derived from the French word, 'm'aider' which means 'come and help me,' it is as clear as the dots and dashes used to spell out the familiar S.O.S. which stands for Save Our Ship.
Both of the above terms are evident in our lives today although not as literally verbalized. The millions of people who are un or under-employed are hoping a life line will be tossed their way so they do not sink into the sea of bankruptcy or worse.
A juxtaposition of sorts during this period of high unemployment is the fact that many nations across the world celebrate May Day, May 1st as 'International Workers Day.' I guess fewer people will be celebrating this year since there fewer workers.
It is also fitting that as many people get ready to celebrate Cinco De Mayo, the unofficial, and incorrect date of Mexico's independence, America is faced with a political debate centering on illegal immigration. the fight is aimed squarely at aliens crossing our border from Mexico.
(Cinco De Mayo actually commemorates a defeat of the French in 1862 but that's another story.)
But no matter what term we use to define a problem one thing is clear, we seem to be in a constant battle against some enemy.
Yesterday in Manhattan a crudely constructed bomb manufactured by the mind of a lunatic as yet unknown was contained and dismantled. Luck and some observant vendors along with quick action by New York's finest averted what could have been a much worse situation.
The net result was short term chaos and a long term reminder that the battle goes on and it goes on on many fronts.
Sometimes the fight is against nature as thousands of volunteers and concerned citizens attempt to block and divert a massive oil spill from literally putting the finishing touches on the death of New Orleans.
As awful as Katrina was the city was coming back.
Thanks, BP, heck of a job guys!!
President Roosevelt famously said that the only thing to fear is fear itself. I'm afraid he may not have been completely accurate.
I do not fear terrorism although it could get me.
I do not fear the unknown because, well after all it is unknown.
I do not fear many things that perhaps I should merely because that is not a way to live.
But I do fear inaction.
I fear that our law-makers have lost sight of their raison d'etre, their reason to exist! Instead of bickering and posturing and checking the polls to see if they will win elections next November or two Novembers hence they must get back to the jobs for which they were elected.
Thomas Paine said it best, "Lead, follow, or get out of the way!" He also said, "These are the times that try men's souls." I guess he was channeling Nostradamus because he hit the nail on the head for today even though he passed away in 1803!
Some members of Congress complain that President Obama is asking them to do too much. They cannot tackle all these problems because it is too hard! (It brings to mind President Bush and his "It's hard work" whine.)
In 1962 John F Kennedy said, "We choose to do these things not because they are easy but because they are hard." It seems that we accomplished a fair amount of things during that decade.
In America we are told from birth that we make our own future. We can grow up to do anything or be anyone and the sky is the limit. Well let's hope that limit is not falling.
America is Sending Out Signals and crying Mayday once more. Save Our Society!
But this time we need intelligent leadership. And if that leadership cannot be bi-partisan then sobeit!
Hey Congress - Get 'er done.