Madison County Opinion...

 April 19, 2000

By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
April 19, 2000

Frankly Speaking
Civil War was not based on slavery issue
(April is Confederate History month as proclaimed by Governor Barnes and the Madison County Board of Commissioners.)
A battle is under way in the Southern states by those who would deny a region the right to honor its history and culture. Members of the National Association of Always Complaining People and their allies are trying to force Southern states to remove all symbols of the Confederacy, declaring that they represent slavery and racism. They are wrong.
Claims by anti-South bigots that the Southern states started War for Southern Independence (there was nothing "civil" about it) to preserve slavery are blatantly false. Yet, left-wing media, politicians and other pressure groups repeat this lie at every opportunity. Once the American public is made aware of the extensive historical documentation proving the statement false, these groups will lose all credibility and vanish back under the rocks from which they emerged.
Let us consider just one of the historical documents available; Lincoln's first inaugural address.
In his remarks on Monday March 4, 1861, Lincoln attempted to prevent Southern states from seceding. He quoted his previous remarks about slavery:
"I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it existS. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."
In addition, he quoted the Republican Party platform as saying that each state has the right to "order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment...."
Lincoln made it clear that, while he personally did not approve of slavery, he had no desire to fight a war to end it.
Later, in the same speech Lincoln issued a challenge that reveals his true reasons for invading the Confederacy. He expressed his beliefs this way "....we find the proposition that in legal contemplation the Union is perpetual confirmed by the history of the Union itself."
He continued: "It follows from these views that no State upon its own mere motion can lawfully get out of the union: that resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void....I therefore consider that in view of the Constitution and the laws the Union is unbroken, and to the extent of my ability, I shall take dare, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the states."
Southern leaders did not accept the arguments of President Lincoln. They believed that the association of the States with the Union was voluntary, and any state has the right to leave the Union at any time. Historical documentation supporting the right of secession is extensive. It is based on the concept that governments are established by the people, and the people reserve the right to remove or change any government that moves away from the desires of its citizens. The massive economic, civil and military support given to the Confederacy clearly establishes its approval by Southern people.
While there were a number of disputes that led the Southern states to secede and form the Confederacy, and surely slavery was one of them, the war itself was fought over the single question of the right of states to leave the Union, and the right of the Union to use force in preventing such action. The North won, but most traditional Southerners still feel that the wrong side won.
The Confederate Battle Flag is a soldier's flag. It did not represent any political or social ideals. It represented the valor and bravery of Southern fighting men. Attacks on the battle flag are based on ignorance, intolerance and bigotry. A survey of historical evidence clearly justifies the desire of Southerners to fly that flag in honor of our Confederate veterans and the Southern way of life.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal.

The Madison County Journal
April 19, 2000

Appreciates support for Special Olympics
Dear editor:
I wrote a letter a few weeks ago to acknowledge the generous supporters who made donations to the Madison County Special Olympics "Adopt-An-Athlete" Program.
Since that time, we have received some more donations, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank the additional contributors: The Summit Agency, Inc., Comer Lions Club, Athens Mortgage Bankers Association, Inc., TECHFAB Corporation.
Joan Baird
Chairperson, Madison County Special Olympics Advisory Committee

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By Ben Munro
The Madison County Journal
April 19, 2000

The amazing 'Low-Rider'
"Mom, he looks just like a low-rider," I said with a laugh that one summer day as that strange-looking four-legged friend tumbled out of my brother's car.
With a bewildered and clueless look, the funniest-looking dog I had ever seen in my life suddenly scurried about the yard, checking out the territory he had landed upon.
Now, this dog's appearence was purely comical. He was a fully grown yellow lab, yet seemingly not quite out of the puppy stage with the shortest, stubbiest legs I had ever seen on a dog of that size and breed, prompting my comment that he looked like a low-rider truck.
"He's a dog and a half long and half a dog tall," my grandfather would later say about this stray dog that stumbled into my family.
Anyway, this dog that looked like something straight out of a Disney cartoon rambled euthisiastically about the lawn with a clumsy trot and a goofy look, causing much laughter.
My brother and father had picked up the dog that day because he had been hanging around the chicken house we owned down the street at the time, causing trouble at the poultry operation in the peak production period.
Since a neighbor of ours had a dog of the same breed, we simply assumed he had escaped their cage while they were on vacation and we decided to keep him till they returned from their trip, even though we were up to our necks in dogs at the time (we had three of our own and were allowing a stray mother with seven puppies to stay around our home).
Well, that summer day was nearly three years ago and that comical dog, who we came to call "Low-Rider," has been around ever since.
Now, while growing up, my family has had several good and loyal dogs, but Low-Rider, who was not the neighbor's dog in actuality, has evolved into one of our most beloved canine friends.
And while all those other dogs are gone now - we found homes for all those puppies and the mother dog, and another one of our dogs had to be put to sleep while the other two ran away - Low-Rider has remained rambling about our yard with the same feistiness and energy as always.
But what makes this dog unique, besides his catchy moniker, is that he has more disabilities than any other dog I have ever seen.
We found out very quickly that the dog was blind and nearly deaf and that the reason for his short bowlegs was a bone disorder called osteo-displasia. Thus, his story of survival is truly remarkable.
A blind and deaf dog in the country is not a good combination because they can roam free and fall into the high-risk category of being hit by car.
Aside from this, we wondered, in the early going, that is, whether he would even be able to function with all these disabilities. We thought several times in those first few months that we might need to put him out of any misery.
However, we soon learned that Low-Rider could hold his own with even the most keen-sensed of dogs. Amazingly, he somehow trained himself not go into the road.
Whether it be fear or some instinct, you can even drag this dog onto pavement, he makes a U-turn and heads back to the house in a heartbeat.
The dog can even play fetch. Even though it is a rather lengthy process, Low Rider pursues a thrown ball with his extra keen sense of smell, his only guide, and pin-points the location of his tennis ball in the yard. He can even play fetch by himself as he flicks the ball down the front porch steps with his paw and goes and retrieves it.
The dog is a bundle of energy. Like an ideal linebacker, he goes at everything with 110 percent speed. Whether it be eating a bowl of Pedigree or following us down the driveway, the dog cannot be calmed down. He falls victim to his hyperness at times though because of his blindness as he has been known to run full speed into parked cars or barrell over unsuspecting guests in the yard he cannot see. But he gets up and always comes back for more.
He is the ideal dog in every way, loyal, obedient and like a perfect night watchman, can always be found at his "post" at the top of the porch steps. And even though I am not at home anymore he is the first one to greet me when I come back to visit as if I never even left.
No one could ask more out of man's best friend.
Ben Munro is a reporter for The Madison County Journal.
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