Madison County News

May 29, 2008

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MainStreet Newspapers, Inc.
PO Box 908
33 Lee Street
Jefferson, Georgia 30549


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By Margie Richards

Signs, signs, everywhere signs
Local politics are in full swing.
I’d know that even if I didn’t work at the local paper. Heck, I’d know that if I lived in a hole in the ground and just emerged to go to the grocery store.
The signs give it away.
Yes, of course, I’m talking about those signs scattered, with ever increasing frequency, all along our county roads.
They’re in clusters at intersections, in fields and in some yards. Some are big, some are small, some are plain and some are so colorful and fancy they almost obliterate the name they’re trying to advertise.
But what do those signs really tell us, besides the name of a candidate and the office they are seeking? Though I guess there’s something to be said for name recognition, I hope most of us put a little more thought into who we’re voting for than just that a particular name is one we recognize from a road sign.
As I drive around, reading these signs, I wonder if the people who own the property are staunch supporters of the candidate (or candidates) whose name is emblazoned on their lawn, of if they were just too polite to say “no” when asked if said sign(s) could be put there.
I wonder how the folks running for the seats in question feel when they see one of their opponent’s names in someone’s yard, particularly if that person is someone they considered a friend. I’ve asked a few of them, who say it does hurt their feelings, of course. It would surely hurt mine. I’d be wondering what I had done, or had not done, that had offended them. The answer to that question, more often than not, is probably “nothing at all.” They just like the other fellow better, or not. Could be they’re not even going to vote at all – someone asked if they could put up a sign and they said “sure.”
Then again you have to be tough-skinned to run for office in the first place, I guess.
I don’t like the signs – can you tell?
Granted, were I a political candidate, I might feel obliged to put up a few, especially if my opponents were hoisting their own signs all over the place. It’s an ugly and unfortunate custom. They litter the countryside, competing with nature’s finest for attention.
But the worst part to me is that they divide the community unnecessarily. After all, if your neighbor is for candidate “X,” and you’re for Candidate “Y,” putting signs in each other’s faces is not likely to win either of you over to the other’s point of view. So what’s the point?
Since working for the paper makes me feel obligated to stay neutral, at least publicly, I can easily justify not putting up any candidate signs for that reason. But here’s the thing – I wouldn’t put them up any anyway.
I wish the signs would simply go away, along with many other things that are part and parcel of the political season.
I know these signs are a form of free speech, but please be conscientious enough to take them down the moment the election is over. And candidates, please make it part of your civic duty to go around and collect those that bear your name. For many, that means the signs should be plucked from their respective places and discarded as soon as possible following the primary on July 15.
But, cynical me is betting there’ll still be quite a few around competing with Christmas decorations.
Margie Richards is a reporter and officer manager for The Madison County Journal.

By Frank Gillispie

Barr a good choice as Libertarian’s nominee

The Libertarian Party has chosen Georgia’s former congressman Bob Barr as its candidate for President. This is a good decision for the nation’s number three political party.
The Libertarian Party was created 37 years ago in opposition to constantly growing power of the federal government under both major parties. When I first became aware of this group, they had adopted as their platform the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. These amendments were added to the Constitution soon after it was adopted to set specific limits on the power of federal government. It is the opinion of the Libertarians, along with numerous other organizations as well as myself that these limits have been routinely ignored. The federal government is now extended far beyond those limits.
The Libertarians have, in recent years, been overtaken by a radical group who devoted their entire effort to promoting the legalization of gay marriage, prostitution and so called recreational drugs. By allowing themselves to be directed to these narrow, unpopular positions, they have greatly limited their potential.
So far the Libertarians have failed to win any major elections. Their most prominent office holder, Ron Paul, only found success by returning to Republican ranks. They have had some success in local elections winning occasional city council and school board seats.
The fact that their past nominees for president have been little known individuals with no experience in national politics has not helped. Their best showing in presidential elections was in 1980, when Ed Clark ran for president and won 921,299 votes just over 1 percent of the total. He was best known for his anti-war positions.
Bob Barr served four terms in the U.S. Congress as a Republican from Georgia. He joined the Libertarians two years ago after objecting to the failure of the Republicans to control government spending. He is best known for leading the effort to impeach former President Bill Clinton.
Wayne Allyn Root, a sports handicapper, motivational speaker, author and TV producer, was chosen for vice president. He told the Libertarian convention that his goal is to learn from the master, Bob Barr, in preparation for his own presidential bid in 2012.
While I see no chance for Barr to win the presidency, he can very well make an impact on the process by gaining enough votes to move the Libertarians into a more prominent position.
A strong showing by Barr will force the major parties to take note of the desire of many Americans to see the federal government greatly reduced and political power returned to the states and to the people where the Bill of Rights places it.
Barr has an opening in the South to actually win a few states, especially his home state of Georgia. The deep South holds very conservative political beliefs, and the expected Republican nominee, John McCain, has proven to be too “moderate” for their taste.
Barr might do well here. If so, he will do the nation a great favor by forcing the eventual winners to consider limiting the growth of federal power. That would be a good thing.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His e-mail address is His website can be accessed at


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