Madison County Opinion...

 July 12, 2000

By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
July 12, 2000

Frankly Speaking

Non-partisan elections would be fairest setup
Once again we are coming up on a general primary, and the same problems and complaints accompany it. People ask me why they can't vote for anyone on the ballot. I have to tell them to blame partisan politics. Voters must choose one party or the other in the primary. They cannot select one candidate from the Democrats and another from the Republicans.
A primary is a tool for private political parties to select their candidates for the general election. Each party gives candidates an opportunity to register for their primary. The winners of the primary then become the candidates for the general election in November. Therefore, when you vote for someone in the primary, you are not electing them to office. You are choosing them to be on the general election ballot.
As I said, a primary is a tool for private political parties to choose their candidates. But in Georgia, this private party function is financed by public money. I have a real problem with that. I am bothered also by the fact that Georgia law dictates the date and form of the primary and decides which parties are allowed to take part. Currently, only the Democrats and Republicans are given an opportunity to offer candidates in the general primary. Their candidates are automatically on the ballot.
All other parties such as the Green Party, Reform Party, Libertarian Party, Constitutional Party, Natural Law Party and the newly formed Southern Party are subjected to severe restrictions, making it almost impossible to get their candidates listed on the ballot. Georgia has the most restrictive ballot access laws in America.
The current system makes the two major parties a part of state government and I cannot find anything in the state constitution that permits that. The Georgia election code determines who is a political party and how they will name their candidates. It also determines who may vote in a party's primary. State and local money is used to conduct primaries for the two major parties, but not for any of the smaller groups. I my opinion, this is highly illegal.
The State of Georgia along with its cities and counties is required to conduct a general election for the citizens to choose their representatives. And that is all they should do. These general elections should be open to anyone who meets minimum qualifications, and those rules should apply to all candidates.
If political parties wish to choose candidates to represent them, they have the right to do so by whatever means they choose. However, a candidate should not be required to represent any party in order to gain access to the general ballot. If a party decides to hold a primary to choose its candidates, the party should pay for the primary. If a party prefers to use caucuses or nominating conventions to choose candidates, again, it is the responsibility of the party to cover the cost of the conventions.
We, the taxpayers of Georgia, should pay for only one election and any necessary runoff in each election cycle. The state should play no part whatsoever in the affairs of any political organization. And that includes selection of party candidates. All parties and individuals should have equal, open access to the general election ballot.
Only when elections are for the people, not for partisan politics, will we have truly representative government.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at

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By Ben Munro
The Madison County Journal
July 12, 2000

'The Munro Doctrine'
Everybody has an opinion on everything, whether they say it or not.
I don't usually get on my soap box and preach my views on things because I really don't think many people would put much stock in what I say because, to steal a line from my favorite Lynyrd Skynyrd song, I'm a "simple kinda man."
But since I have my own column, I thought would be a shame to waste this valuable column space without spreading my wisdom at least once.
You see, when you get to be my age, 21, you pretty much know it all (or at least you think you do). Given that, here is a miscellaneous, mixed bag of the way I see things with no particular order - a document I think I'll call "The Munro Doctorine."
Love it or leave it, I say - God bless the U.S.A. It's fine with me if you burn an American flag, just be sure you're on a boat headed on back to the Old Country or fleeing to Cananda while you do it. We don't need you here.
We welcome all of our Northern visitors down here in "God's Country" - just be sure you have your passport and proper identification in hand with you when you cross the Mason-Dixon line. This should be strictly enforced with fines.
Clause I: If you live in the South for over 15 years, you can be eligible for honorary Southern citizenship.
Clause II: The Northern colony of Florida is not included in "God's County." If I could saw it off the United States and left it drift off into the Atlantic, I'd gladly do it.
The major sport of our nation is football. Don't take my word for it, just look at television ratings and attendance figures. All other sports should revolve around it like the planets revolve around the sun and like electrons revolve around the nucleus of an atom.
Clause I: Baseball receives an exemption from this because America gave birth to this sport that the rest of the world decided they wanted to play.
Clause II: No weddings should be scheduled for fall Saturdays. All your family and friends will be busy tailgating at the Georgia game.
Clause III: Sanford Stadium should be declared a national monument while Florida Field should be condemned, and Steve Spurrier should be put in jail with O.J. Simpson as his cell mate.
Switching gears now....
Guys, go find yourself a nice girl who doesn't care about what kind of car you drive, what sport you play, what fraternity you are in, etc. And if anyone finds a girl like this who actually exists, please e-mail her number to my address posted at the top of my page next to my mug shot.
Clause I: The "socially acceptable" age limitations for those who actually care what other people think are as follows:
Title I: If you are older and want to date a high school girl, be sure you were in high school at one point in time while she is in high school. For example, while you were a senior, she had to be at least a freshman.
Title II: Once a girl is out of high school, everything is fair game.
Title III: In the case of older girls - go for it.
Title IV: If you don't care what people think, more power to you.
The person who initiates a phone call has conversation responsibility of keeping the talk interesting and flowing. The one receiving the call must drag on through a grueling conversation until the initiator "lets you go."
Switch gears again....
If you don't play your own instruments, you aren't a band, you're an act.
Example: Led Zeppelin, Lynryd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers were (great and legendary) bands. The Backstreet Guys, N-synk and other disgraces of the sort are frauds..I mean acts.
You can never go wrong with khaki shorts, a T-shirt or polo shirt, baseball cap and a pair of tennis shoes. As far as hair goes, I don't understand guys putting all this gel or grease or whatever in their hair. Grease is for fried chicken, not your head.
Switching to that last gear.....
Move over Willie Shakespeare, I don't understand all your sonnets and midnight summer's dreams. Lewis Grizzard is the greatest writer that ever lived. The man loved and wrote about dogs, Georgia football and good Southern food. We should be incorporating his works into the school reading ciriculum.
Well there you have it. The random thoughts and opinions from the guy who has been around and (thinks) he's seen it all. Maybe some of my ideas will become bills and passed into law.
Ben Munro is a reporter for The Madison County Journal.
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