More Jackson County Opinions...

 September 20, 2000

Column
By Rochelle Beckstine
The Jackson Herald
September 20, 2000

Vote on the issues
I thank God every day that of all of the countries in His world, I was born into the best of them all­the United States of America.
Sometimes I think that the U.S. is truly the new Eden it was reported to be in the 15th and 16th centuries. One of the reasons I believe this at times is because I see people from every background imaginable all living together in one great place trying to make a go at life. I know it's not perfect; I'm a realist. There are problems. But I truly believe that most people are working toward a better, more God-like way of life where love and brotherhood and patriotism bind us.
So, I can tell you that it hurts when someone makes of themselves a bigot. When they say to me don't vote for Mr. Lieberman because he doesn't pray to Jesus. To this, I would reply that every person is entitled to their opinion and, because of the laws and rights we are granted as Americans, we can voice our opinions in any manner we choose­no matter how hurtful or bigoted such opinions may be. Everyone has the right to base their vote for president on the way a person parts their hair or what state they hail from or even what religion they profess. But I would ask something of each and every one of you. I would ask that you consider each man as a whole­his history and his intentions for the future­before making such an important decision. And I would ask you to give the candidates the same consideration the federal government gives us in regard to employment practices; all persons seeking a job with the federal government are free from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin (executive order 11246). Granted the law requires that the president be a United States native, as it rightly should, but shouldn't our presidential and vice-presidential candidates otherwise get the same consideration we do when applying for a federal job?
Furthermore, with the separation of church and state, religion is not an issue that arises in the course of the day-to-day life of a politician. I cannot think of a single instance in all of my studies of United States history where religion determined a president's or vice president's actions (and I have studied a great deal of history).
To not vote for Gore because of Lieberman is prejudice, pure and simple. It's an ugly prejudice that I can't see God advocating. Never in all my life have I heard repeated to me nor have I read that Jesus said love your fellow neighbor as you love yourself as long as he is not a Jew. I think Jesus would be the first person to advise us to vote on the whole person­what that person stands for and what they intend on doing.
I'm a Christian and a Republican, but only one of those will enter into my decision on election day. I'll watch the debates and read the news. But I can tell you now it won't matter to me if Bush knows a few choice words or if Lieberman attends a synagogue on the holy day, I'll make my decision intelligently without prejudice. Because to allow prejudice to cloud my mind would ruin the high ideals our country was founded upon and negate the lives of the millions who have died for our country. When people say things to me that bring home how much work we still have to do to make the words of freedom and justice ring true, I get angry and I start to think of becoming a Gore Democrat for Mr. Lieberman's sake.
Rochelle Beckstine is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers.

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Column
By Tim Thomas
The Jackson Herald
September 20, 2000


Ironhead gets bumped
Attention, everyone! This won't happen twice, short of the infamous river Styx being filled with icebergs.
This is the week I make peace with Dale Earnhardt. Let's pause for a moment while my fellow Petty and Elliott fans get up off the floor.
Earnhardt ­ Ironhead, as some like to call him ­ has often left his visage on this reporter's bull's-eye. Everyone knows of the Intimidator's favorite tactic ­ bump, run, win, grin, and say it's just racing. It's in the dictionary under cheap shot.
This past week, Earnhardt got a taste of his own medicine, though most folks probably didn't realize it. In Sunday's race at Loudon, N.H., NASCAR tapped Earnhardt on the rear quarter panel and sent him into the outside wall of the 2000 season's fourth turn.
Deep in the trenches of the Winston Cup points race, the Man in Black was dealt a serious blow this week in his quest for a record eighth points championship, thanks in part to NASCAR's decision to use restrictor plates at Loudon.
The decision was about as popular with drivers as a fire-breathing preacher in the middle of the Bulldog Tavern. Still, even though most disliked it, virtually everyone viewed it as necessary. Everyone except old Ironhead.
"This is not racing," the mustached warrior grumbled as he hurried to get away from reporters after Sunday's race. For those who didn't tune in, Earnhardt finished the race in the top 15, but obviously thought he'd have done better without the restrictor. The other 42 guys on the track ­ particularly those who finished ahead of him ­ evidently had nothing to do with it.
NASCAR officials made the decision to use restrictors as a Band-Aid approach to the safety concerns at Loudon. The deaths of Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin earlier this year in the same turn at the track had led some drivers to threaten a boycott of Sunday's event. With little time left (and evidently little desire to seek a more permanent solution), officials sent crew chiefs scrambling last week, desperately trying to make up for the inevitable lost horsepower.
The result was a yawner of a race, with Jeff Burton doing something no one has done in a Winston Cup race in 22 years ­ lead from start to finish.
The result from Earnhardt's seat was a big slide in the points chase for the man who wants to be king. Having won seven points titles already, the aging Earnhardt is seeking to break his tie with reigning NASCAR monarch Richard Petty. Time is against the old buzzard, and the 2000 season has been his most productive in a while. It's somewhat understandable that the perennial paint-swapper would be a bit miffed.
And there, friends, is the rub. After years of griping and wincing and gritting my teeth at his methods, I find myself almost wanting to feel bad for the old goat. Notice I said almost.
So, in the spirit of fair play, I'm wiping the slate clean. Intimidator, you've cost lots of guys wins over the years; now you think the suits have cost you a potential title. I'd say that's just about even.
But I suspect it won't stay even for long. Those old dogs generally return to their old tricks.
Chill out, Dale; it's just racing.
Tim Thomas is a reporter for The Jackson Herald.

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