Madison County Opinion...

 May 17, 2000


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
May 17, 2000

Frankly Speaking

DOT shouldn't ignore the will of Colbert citizens
The U. S. Constitution guarantees that every state will be a republic. That is, government will be at the will of the governed, and that the people have a right to determine the rules of that government through the actions of their elected officials. The problem is that far too many of our government employees have forgotten that rule.
For example, the Georgia Department of Transportation is widening Hwy. 72 through the center of Colbert. The design of the highway includes an elevated median that effectively divides the city into two parts with limited spaces for traffic to cross from one side to the other.
Virtually every resident of the city of Colbert, along with its elected mayor and council, along with all elected officials of Madison County, have signed a petition to the DOT asking that the design be changed to allow free movement of traffic through the area. But a small, obscure, middle management office of the DOT has chosen to ignore the will of the people of Colbert and Madison County and build the highway as they wish.
Now, the bureaucrats may be right about the design. They may be right that it is the most safe system they can build, although the mayor and council argue that it creates as many hazards as it eliminates. But they are clearly wrong in refusing to consider the desires of the citizens of Colbert and their elected representatives.
You see, if a handful of bureaucrats can overrule an entire city, then our Constitution is no longer protecting us. It is nothing more than ancient, fading document buried in that same museum to which the NAACP is trying to banish our beloved state flag.
Government by the will of the governed is the most fundamental basis for the American revolution and the Constitution that our founding fathers created to regulate our affairs. If that concept is lost, all other protections of the Constitution are lost. If a bureaucrat can overturn the will of an entire city, they can take away our freedom of speech, our right to keep and bear arms, our right to assemble, our freedom of (and from) religion and all the other natural rights the Constitution was intended to protect.
When Benjamin Franklin left the hall where our Constitution was written someone ask him, "What have you given us?"
"We have given you a republic, if you can keep it," Franklin replied.
When government bureaucrats can ignore the clearly expressed desires of an entire city and its elected representatives, it is clear to me that our Republic is lost.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. His e-mail address is frankg@mcga.net.


Letters To The Editor
The Madison County Journal
May 17, 2000

Says Relay for Life teams
should be proud of their work
Dear editor:
It is absolutely unbelievable to me what Madison County accomplished in its 2000 Relay for Life held recently. You should be so very, very proud of yourselves. It was a perfect night, and a perfect setting for a group of dedicated, compassionate and hard-working teams to see the culmination of their energy in creating the magic you witnessed at the Madison County recreation track that Friday night.
Raising $92,000 is a feat not seen by many. I work with many different counties, and for you to raise this much money in a second-year relay makes the others pale. This takes nothing away from their relays, yet you accomplished what it took some bigger counties six years to do; and other surrounding counties, bigger, more populous and in their fifth and sixth years have not raised this! You are a very special group of community leaders and you managed to pull Madison County together in a way not ever seen before. And to each of you in Madison County who came out to see the event, and to every survivor who participated, and to each person who purchased a luminaria - you had a part in this success. You proved that Madison County is good, caring and spirited. You proved that you don't want to sit around and wait on someone finding a cure or answers. You proved that you want to be a part of doing something now that will ultimately save lives later. You proved that you remember those we have already lost, and that their death drives you to try and do something now.
The relay brings your community together despite your color, your background, your economic status or your politics, because cancer doesn't see those differences. It attacks any and all without thought. You chose to try and work together to make a difference, and you did. You were all just a group of dedicated people fighting a common enemy together, and with every survivor that passed, you saw hope walk by. Thank you to each of you for your support of this event. I am blessed in ways I cannot even express to have had the opportunity to witness that Friday night. You are indeed a very special community and a joy to work with. You all share a similar passion, a commitment to find the answers. Keep up the fight!

Sincerely, Karen Lewis
American Cancer Society

Karen's full letter can be found on page 5A of The Madison County Journal's printed edition

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Column
By Zack Mitcham
The Madison County Journal
May 17, 2000

Recreation dept. offers fields of dreams
I'm not sentimental about much. But it doesn't take a lot to make me feel sappy at a ballpark.
And while I carry a camera for the paper, trying to capture special moments, I know newsprint just doesn't do justice to the sights and sounds of the Madison County Recreation Department.
There are the little brothers and sisters in tiny chairs watching older siblings in awe - though many of these little tykes are too busy with a freeze pop to care about what happens on the field.
There are the kids waiting to play, practicing throwing motions on the track field below the playing fields.
There are the kids done with their games, sitting by the fences as their school mates take the fields. But many of the kids who stick around the ballpark have too much energy to sit still. So they become involved in the countless other games outside the fences. For instance, you may see kids catching tennis balls hurled off dugout walls or a youngster using his palm as a bat to smack a crumpled cup.
There is the sweet, solid click of wood on ball. I know some prefer aluminum bats, but the metal clink doesn't have the beauty of the old style.
There are the foul ball rangers, those who keep their eyes peeled on the field, ready to race for the prize of a recovered ball.
There are the scorekeepers keeping track of games with marks that only a baseball enthusiast can follow.
There is the recreation staff sometimes taking a moment to catch some action after hard work to prepare the fields.
There are parents and grandparents gathered behind the backstop in folding chairs, sharing their strong vocal chords with everyone, hoping that their child will hear.
There are the coaches and their words about pitching mechanics, keeping eyes on the ball and offering opponents a handshake.
On the field are the kids, some towering above the others, but all with years of growing ahead. Many parents feel proud when their child smacks a home run or strikes out a batter.
But most parents realize the bigger victories won't show up on a scoresheet. More significant victories may come with the lack of tears after a loss or the smile given to a teammate who really messed up.
Unfortunately, there are the few parents who lose their heads, who let out a profane word at a dropped ball or strikeout. These parents need to realize that it's more important that they make their child proud than vice-versa.
But all in all, you have to feel good about a trip to the ballpark.
When I go to the Madison County Recreation Department on a game day, I can't help but think about the dreams I had and how anything seemed possible when I took the field.
It's nice to see so many kids in the county having the same positive experiences.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.




Column
By Adam Fouche
The Madison County Journal
May 17, 2000

It's time for a revolution
against the dress code
For too long now, the rules, the guidelines and all the silly little regulations have ruled the society we supposedly control. But, a new sun is breaking through the clouds above society's decaying horizon. It's time to end our culture's communist-inspired dress code rituals. A revolution is imminent.
I live in a democratic society founded on basic inalienable rights. I have been given the right to dress how I want to dress. But somehow, this society I live in has found a way to dictate who I am and how I express myself. The time has come for a change.
The older generation of years ago that set the standards we now live by has disintegrated. The guidelines are old and out of date, and, frankly, I don't care for them. We must now make our own rules and decide on new standards.
Sometimes, I want to wear shorts and a Hawaiian shirt to work. But I can't. Society says it isn't acceptable attire in the workplace. Why not? I'm wadding society's guidelines into a crumpled ball and throwing them out my window.
I urge all you teenagers in school to revolt. For too long now you have followed the orders of a Nazi-like regime that wishes to create a generic pupil. It is unhealthy. It is wrong. And as Americans, you shouldn't stand for it.
Take your dress code and tear it up. Burn it in the streets. Throw it in the trash. Read it aloud on the steps of the school and shout out to the world that you are not going to dress like that anymore.
You may not think you can fight against a powerful education system that attempts to poison your mind and destroy your individuality, your creativity and your sense of self. But you can.
Tomorrow, when you go to school, ignore the dress code. Forget the consequences. If you want to wear a tank top, do it. If you want to wear short shorts, wear them. Our country was founded on revolution and protest against what is seen as unfair, and the time has now come to abolish the dress code.
Why must you dress to please others? Why can't you be yourself? Why can't you control your own life? Nothing says you can't.
If you want it, go after it. Don't just sit there and let your life be controlled. Take charge of yourself. Wear what you want to wear.
If enough of you defy the dress code, the system will be powerless. They won't be able to punish everyone. They won't be able to send everyone home from school. They won't be able to stop you all.
With enough protest and enough dissent, the rules will be changed. Politicians don't like protest. If they hear it enough, they will back down. They always have, and they always will. Their position depends on public opinion.
Don't compromise your identity. Exercise your right as an American. Show the government that they might not know what is best for you. Show them that they don't always know what is right.
Defy them. Disobey them. Tell them to leave you alone. You will be doing what is best; you will be doing what is right; and you will be doing what is American. My children, your children, our children will thank us.
We, as a young generation of new leaders, shouldn't have to live by rules made in a society all too different from our own. It is time for us to take our own reins and decide how we want to live.
Adam Fouche is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers.


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