Madison County Opinion...

 May 24, 2000


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
May 24, 2000

Frankly Speaking

Why I'm a Constitutional conservative
The Bible describes two houses, one built on sand, the other on rock. In the parable, the winds and rain destroy the house on sand, but the one built on solid rock withstands the storm.
The Bible was referring to faith in God as the solid rock. However, the same parable can be made to refer to our American form of government. The foundation of our government is the U.S. Constitution. It is made either of solid rock or shifting sand. In the one case, our government "of the people" will stand; on the other, it is doomed to collapse into anarchy.
The current debate over the Constitution clearly reflects these attitudes. The liberals hold that the Constitution is a "living document" that should be reinterpreted to meet current opinions and attitudes. Conservatives hold that the principles expressed in the Constitution are unchanging and must be applied at all times. I am a constitutional conservative.
Consider the question of freedom of speech. Currently, many of my fellow Southerners and I are coming under attack for our use of Confederate symbols to express our belief in individual freedom and our opposition to an all-powerful government. (That was what the Confederacy was about, not slavery.) Those attacking us throw around the term "hate," using that as justification for denying us that freedom
Let me repeat that it is the anti-South bigots who are filled with hate, not us. But even if their lies were true, it is the unpopular, minority speech that is protected by the First Amendment to the United State Constitution.
If one Midwestern town is allowed to banish cars with "offensive" bumper stickers from city parking lots, and another succeeds in prohibiting the Sons of Confederate Veterans from placing their logo on a sign with other civic groups, then the right to free speech is lost to everyone.
Wash the foundation out from under the First Amendment and all our other freedoms will vanish as well. It is free speech that allows us to defend our Southern symbols. It is a free press that gives people like me a chance to bring these heritage violations to the public eye. It is freedom of (and from) religion that allows us to worship as we choose without Big Brother's interference (except in Waco).
Every bill introduced in the U.S. Congress should contain a preamble stating the constitutional authority for its actions. And that constitutional authority must be clear and precise, not the result of convoluted logic designed to allow any act the government desires to take.
If our government "of the people" is to survive, we must return the Constitution to the solid rock of authority on which it was built. A Constitution standing on the shifting sand of liberal attitudes will soon fall.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net.


Letters To The Editor
The Madison County Journal
May 24, 2000

Unhappy with Fouche column
Dear editor:
Even though Adam Fouche's column of Wednesday, May 17, was supposed to be about a so-called "dress code," the attitude and mindset you (Adam Fouche) presented was that of none other than sheer retaliation and defiance. Surprisingly, from your picture, you look like a nice, clean-cut young man. However, when you proceed to speak to the youth of our nation and tell them to "Defy them. Disobey them. Tell them to leave you alone" regarding anything, you begin to erode the groundwork that we, as the "older generation of years ago" (and I might add, I am only 32), try to set for our children today.
What is wrong with wanting our children to dress in a nice, presentable way? There is a time to be comfortable, to wear your Hawaiian shirt and shorts, to wear a bathing suit, just as there is an appropriate time to dress up. I can tell you, you would look mighty hilarious standing in a wedding party dressed in board shorts and a holey T-shirt. But, when you speak to our younger generation the way you did in your article, that is how you come across-somewhat hilarious, yet very unsettling in the words you choose. I can't help but wonder just how similar some of the statements in your article were to some of the statements in the suicide notes, poetry, journals and diaries of our young people today.
Even though you wanted to play the subject down by referring to a dress code, using phrases like "a revolution is imminent," "I'm wadding society's guidelines in a crumpled ball and throwing them out the window" and "I urge all you teenagers in school to revolt," makes you sound like some kind of revolutionary who is ready to go out and fight a war against the world. You also referred to our school system as "a powerful educational system that attempts to poison your mind and destroy your individuality, your creativity and your sense of self." Just where do you get all of this? You sound like a madman. You know, I seem to remember some of that same kind of attitude in the writings from Dillon Kleibold and Eric Harris' web site prior to the shooting at Columbine.
You also referred to our schools as "Nazi-like regimes." Have you ever been to a communist country? Have you ever had anything in your life except freedom? I doubt it very seriously, or you would not have that attitude. That is one of the problems with young men and women like yourself today: you have always had most everything you needed and wanted. A lot of the time, you have not suffered consequences for wrongdoings. I tell you, Mr. Fouche, I pray that my children never grow up with the same attitude you have. I hope they never even meet anyone with that same attitude. If they did, in my opinion, they would be looking into the eyes of an angry, dangerous person.

Sincerely, Melissa Seagraves, Hull

(Read Adam Fouche's original column)

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Column
By Margie Richards
The Madison County Journal
May 24, 2000

Unexpected benefits
Working at the newspaper sometimes has unexpected benefits.
For one thing, it has brought me lots of new acquaintances, many of whom I now consider friends.
Writing this column has also benefited me in many unexpected ways. I have become re-acquainted with several cousins and other folks who knew my parents and other family members that I have written about on these pages.
For example, when I wrote about my Aunt Donnie, I discovered a cousin, or I should say she discovered me. From my "new" cousin Donna, I became re-acquainted with another cousin, Norene, in North Carolina. She and I have shared several letters about our lives and about our memories of beloved Aunt Donnie. Then there was another cousin, Faye, whom I remember visiting with my mom and dad. Seems Faye now lives in Colbert (and has for some time) and she brought me a delicious homemade pie one day - also after reading about Aunt Donnie. Seems like Aunt Donnie still has quite a few fans after all these years!
And then most recently, when I wrote a column about the pleasure of reading, I mentioned my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Bowen. I had not seen or heard from her since I was ten years old.
But the other fourth grade teacher at Danielsville Elementary at the time, Jane Coile, read my column and was kind enough to send a copy of it along to Mrs. Bowen, who now lives in Maine. Even though Mrs. Bowen left Madison County after teaching here just a few years, she and Mrs. Coile have kept in touch over the years.
It was a great surprise to me one morning when I picked up the Journal's mail and discovered a letter addressed to me from Diane Bowen! I was so excited I could hardly wait to open it. Imagine hearing from someone you have thought of often with admiration for more than 30 years.
I immediately felt as though I were 10 years old again. The first thing that struck me was the familiar handwriting. She began by thanking me for the things I had said about her and how she helped instill in me a love of books. She told me she was still teaching in Maine (lucky kids!) and had two grown sons. (In my mind she is still 22 years old.)
Along with her letter she sent me another treasure - a copy of one of my first efforts as a "journalist" - a copy of our class's very own Fourth Grade News.
Since then, she and I have exchanged several letters and emails, catching up on each others' lives. She even emailed me a picture of her and her sons (she still looks just the same).
While there are good and bad things about every job, I've got to say this aspect is one of the very best about this job.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for the Madison County Journal.




Column
By Mary Ann Robinson
The Madison County Journal
May 24, 2000

My only son is about to leave home
I have tried to write this column several times today. I write a few lines and decide not to use them. So I start over. It's a difficult column to write. You see, like many other parents, I have a child who is graduating this week. Actually, I have two.
Aly is graduating from kindergarten and although it is a milestone in her life and I am very proud of her, her brother is graduating from high school the same day. As I reflect on the past 18 years, memories flood from my mind and heart, and inevitably the tears begin to flow.
Jason is my only son and although he now stands 6'6" tall, he will always be my "little boy." I have often heard that daddies have a special bond with their little girls. I believe moms have the same special bond with their sons. My relationship with Jason is, and always will be, something I cherish and am grateful for.
His life has taken me to places I never dreamed of. From Little League baseball and traveling all over the northeastern United States and Canada for hockey to being baptized at Galilee Christian Church and graduating at the top of his class, Jason has always made me proud to be his mother. I can only hope I have made him as proud to be my son.
As with any parent/child relationship, we've had our share of conflicts during those 18 years, but that's not what I remember when I think of Jason. The good times, which have been much more numerous and so much more important, are what I remember when I see the confident young man he is today. He makes me laugh and fills me with such admiration for the person he has become. He set high goals for himself and worked hard to achieve those goals.
Now it's time to set new goals, to look to the future. In Jason's case, those goals include going to Georgia Tech and moving away from home. In my case, those goals include letting go of my little boy and getting through graduation without crying uncontrollably.
I know I am not the only parent who thinks their son or daughter is special. Just look around. You can see it in the eyes and hear it in the voice of every parent who will proudly sit at commencement exercises this week and in weeks to come. You can see the pride and happiness on each face mingled with just a tinge of sadness that this chapter is coming to a close.
As our "children" graduate from high school and go on to college or begin new careers, we can only pray that we have prepared them emotionally, intellectually and spiritually for what life will bring their way. They are strong enough to endure and humble enough to remember where that strength comes from.
To the parents of the graduating Class of 2000, I offer my congratulations. The road may not have always been easy, but the final destination was worth the effort and is certainly something to be proud of.
To the graduates of the Class of 2000, I offer my hope that each of you fulfills your dreams for the future, that you are successful in your endeavors, faithful to your beliefs and, most of all, happy with the life you choose.
And to my son, I offer my heartfelt prayer that God will continue to guide you and bless your life as you begin this new chapter and reach for new goals. I love you, Jason.
Mary Ann Robinson is a columnist for MainStreet Newspapers.


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