The Madison County Journal
February 23, 2000
Give power to
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
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
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.
The Madison County Journal
February 23, 2000
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
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.
"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
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
"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.