The Madison County Journal
April 19, 2000
War was not based on slavery issue
(April is Confederate History month as
proclaimed by Governor Barnes and the Madison County Board of
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Let us consider just one of the historical documents available;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
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
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.
Madison County Journal
April 19, 2000
Appreciates support for Special Olympics
I wrote a letter a few weeks ago to acknowledge the generous
supporters who made donations to the Madison County Special Olympics
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.
Chairperson, Madison County Special Olympics Advisory Committee
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
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
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
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.