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 OPINION PAGE - FEBRUARY 23, 2000 - DANIELSVILLE, GA

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Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
February 23, 2000

Frankly Speaking

Give power to
the states
Presidential candidate John McCain wants to get big special interests out of government, or so he says. Well, I can see only one way to do that: move most of our government out of Washington, D.C., and back to the 50 state capitals where it belongs.
You see, when you concentrate all that power in one city, it is easy for the pressure groups to set up an office to lobby for their positions. When you make one, or a small group, of people responsible for most of the political decisions for a nation, these same people can use their massive money machines to influence the decisions of those people.
But what would happen if the federal government were to be reduced to the Constitutional limits? Most of the decision making would shift to the 50 state capitals. Then the special interests would be forced to open 50 offices, and divide their money into 50 separate campaigns in an effort to affect policy.
Just think, if the trial lawyers wanted to push for medical regulations that will keep them busy and rich, they will have to go to each state legislature. If the anti-gun lobby wants to make more efforts to limit our rights to own firearms, they will have to divide their efforts into 50 campaigns. They would no longer have the ability to mass their money into one hugh push to control our nation.
Another advantage in dispersing political power from Washington to the states is more control by the voters. State lawmakers are far closer to the people than are those in Washington. You are likely to see your state senator at the grocery store, or a Little League game. You have far more opportunities to express your opinions directly to him than you have to a U.S. Senator.
Lawmakers in Washington are often thousands of miles away from the voters who elected them. It is much easier for them to support the policy of the special interests without the kind of immediate reaction local legislators encounter. The closer the lawmaker is to the voters, the less influence special interests will have over him. The more distant he is, the more susceptible he is to special interest money.
A long list of federal programs can be removed from Washington and returned to the states. It includes most domestic activity such as wellfare, education, worker safety, crime, health and labor. Let the federal government handle foreign affairs, national defense, a common currency and postal system and actual interstate commerce. Leave the rest to each state government, or to the people as provided in the 10th Amendment.
When government power is concentrated in Washington, it is easy for the special interests to devote all their resources to forcing their will on the public. If they have to divide their efforts among 50 state capitals, they will have far fewer resources to use against the will of the voters.
The designers of our federal system of government did a good job of creating a government of and for the people. That government has been stolen away by the power-hungry politicians and lobbyists in Washington. It is time to break up that power monolopy and return the power to govern back to the states where it belongs.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal.

Column
By Zach Mitcham
The Madison County Journal
February 23, 2000

Zach Mitcham

Yuck mouth
no more
When I was young, I'd put up a good fight when it came to the dentist - so much so that I remember the dentist using a device to keep my mouth pried open.
And while they could keep my mouth wide, they couldn't shut me up. I'd howl and cry and even struggle to get free.
"Now, Zach, be tough," my mother would say. "You're 22 years old. Time to act like a big boy."
Seriously, I've never been a big boy about the dentist. As a kid, I questioned my mother with a shaky voice whenever we drove on the same side of town as the dentist's office.
"We're not..."
"No, not the dentist" she would say, answering my question before I even finished it.
Sadly, there was a Saturday morning TV song I liked that proved prophetically true for me. It was a tune meant to encourage kids to take care of their teeth.
"They call me the yuck mouth, 'cause I don't brush," is how it began.
Though I've always brushed twice a day, I was at the dentist all the time in elementary school. And "yuck mouth" seems an appropriate term for me, considering the staggering decay of my teeth both then and as an adult. (Sound like a real ladies' man don't I?)
The truth is, I've been a junkie of sorts.
For years I binged on Lemonheads, Johnny Appletreats, Alexander the Grapes, rock candy, pixie sticks and jaw breakers. My preference was hard, long-lasting, acidic candy. A friend of mine noted that I like "all that freaker candy." But don't get me wrong. I ate the traditional stuff too, never turning down a good chocolate bar.
And years went by with me keeping a handful of Skittles in my cheek like a man with a chew. I'd often chomp down on a Sugar Daddy with little fear of losing a tooth in that rock hard goo. And if you had Milk Duds, you had a friend.
Mix in my love for soft drinks - I've occasionally downed five or six in a day - and you've got a tooth wasteland, an eventual cornucopia of cavities.
It all caught up with me about 18 months ago when one lower back tooth began to hurt.
I went to the dentist for some relief, unaware that over the next year and a half I was destined for three root canals and 14 fillings.
My dentist, Dr. Brian, sat me down with the X-rays, showing me what my sugar fits had done. "We don't get many cases like yours," he said.
During the past 18 months I've discovered that while the prices are painful, a trip to the dentist is not something to fear. In fact, even root canals are not that bad, at least not while they're being performed. It beats the alternative - the deep, baseball bat to the jaw, pain of an abscessed tooth.
I had my third root canal this past Thursday after about four days of pretty intense pain. I knew I needed a root canal months earlier, but I chose to put it off for financial reasons and since it wasn't hurting me.
But that changed dramatically last week. My face swelled up and the pain killers seemed to do little good. I was told on Monday I'd have to wait 10 days for relief, but the endodontist, who did my earlier root canals, moved me up to Thursday after a cancellation.
I raised my fist in the air that Wednesday, showing a co-worker my excitement.
"I'm getting my root canal tomorrow!" I said, as if I had won a ticket for a month-long cruise.
Of course, if I go on a month-long cruise, I better make sure there's a good dentist aboard.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.



Letter
The Madison County Journal
February 23, 2000

Time to take action on fuel prices
Dear editor:
I want to know why none of the people running for President have said anything about the price of fuel, and what they are going to do about it? I want to know why the people of this great nation are letting this one by? If the cost of fuel continues to escalate, there isn't going to be this great economy to save Social Security and Medicare. I wonder if any of these guys know that when the price of gasoline goes up, it's only a matter of time before the cost of everything starts to go up. Interest rates have started to rise due to the fear of inflation. So why hasn't the government started a fuel for food program for OPEC. I say that when the price of midgrade gas is over $1.30 it's time for the people of the U.S.A. to do something. I say step up U.S.A. oil production to drive the price of OPEC oil back down to reasonable rates. I do believe that it's time for America to flex its might. It's time for gas and oil prices to come down. I call for all the independent and company drivers to park their trucks for three days in protest of high fuel prices. I call for all Americans to park their cars in protest of the extreme price of fuel! I can't believe that with all the offices that people are running for that the cost of fuel hasn't become an issue. I say, let's go, America, and let these guys know we mean business.
Sincerely,
Oris A. Grim III
Danielsville


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