Madison County Opinion...

 October 4, 2000


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
October 4, 2000

Frankly Speaking

No vote is ever wasted
No vote is ever wasted. I say that in response to those who refuse to vote for third-party candidates because they "have no chance to win."
The purpose of any election is for "We the People" to express our opinions.
If the system works correctly, the eventual winner of any political race will have to take into consideration all ideas and beliefs that receive support in the election. For example, much of the talk, and it is just talk at this time, of campaign reform by the two major candidates resulted from the third-party efforts of the original Reform Party.
The current race represents a clear opportunity for the public to speak out by supporting third-party candidates. The two major parties have little to separate them. They differ only in a matter of scope.
The Democrats are, as usual, for big government and big spending, with just enough control to prevent another round of massive federal debt. The Republicans speak out for the same programs with slightly less spending.
In either case, we get the same kind of bureaucratic boondoggles we have now. If you are satisfied with government as it now exists, either Bush or Gore will keep it going.
If you are unhappy with our current government, you can say so by supporting one of the third-party candidates.
Georgia voters were denied the opportunity to see the full slate of Presidential candidates by restrictive ballot access rules. In Georgia, it is harder to get your name on the ballot than in any other state and most former Soviet nations. Two of the smaller parties managed to get on the ballot, and a third qualified their candidate for write-in votes.
Pat Buchannan, representing what is left of the Reform Party, is on the ballot. For those of you who think the government's efforts to increase international trade are damaging our local economy and allowing all the good jobs to move to other nations, a vote for Buchannan will best reflect your beliefs.
Harry Browne is the nominee of the only third party to gain access on all 50 state ballots. His Libertarian Party supports massive reductions in the power, scope and influence of our federal government. If you believe the federal government ought to get out of welfare, education and law enforcement, then the Libertarians are for you.
The Green Party failed to gain ballot status and qualify their candidate, Ralph Nader, as a write-in candidate in Georgia. Nader and the Greens believe that international corporations are running roughshod over the workers, the economy and the environment. If you agree that government needs to place greater restrictions on big business, write in Ralph Nader on Nov. 7. None of the other minor parties were able to get on the ballot in Georgia.
If your favorite is not on this list, you should confront candidates for the Georgia House and Senate demanding that they support ballot reform in Georgia so that the voters will have more choices next election.
As I said, no vote is ever wasted. Buchannan, Browne and Nader were all candidates in the last presidential election. In each case, if they gain substantially more votes this time than in 1996, it will show the major parties that their ideas have growing support and should be given serious consideration. If their support is falling, then it is clear that their ideas have been rejected by the people.
If you find the platform of one of the major candidates is nearest to your beliefs, vote for that candidate. If you support the ideas of a third party candidate, do not hesitate to support that campaign. We are a nation of law, not of personalities. When you vote, you are expressing your opinions, not taking part in a beauty contest. When you vote your true belief, your vote is as important as any cast for the eventual winner.
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.

 


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Column
By Ben Munro
The Madison County Journal
October 4, 2000

In Other Words

'Remember the Titans' offers a deeper side of football
Leaving the theater Sunday, the gridiron was calling my name.
Adrenaline was pumping and wild thoughts of football glory raced through my head while I contemplated the sports story I had just seen unfold on the big screen - "Remember the Titans."
"Why didn't I play high school football?!" I asked myself.
Well, maybe because I was a mere 5'8" and 130 pounds at MCHS and had no athletic ability.
After a football practice, I would have probably more resembled Hwy. 72 road-kill than a football player. So after I calmed down, I reflected more deeply on the movie I had seen.
If you never played football, "Remember the Titans" will make you temporarily kick yourself for the wasted opportunities in your four high school golden years. But the football flick digs beyond hits, runs, passes and the glory of winning - it digs to the heart of the game.
It tells of the bonds formed with others you go to battle with and lay everything on the line with - those you share the blood, sweat and tears with; the enemies who are turned into friends.
The story takes place in the racially turbulent early 1970s in Virginia during the integration of schools. Denzel Washington plays a black coach who is appointed to the head coaching position at a newly integrated high school, bumping the school's successful white coach out of a job.
The faction lines are quickly drawn among the community and team. Washington is left with the task of keeping the black and white players from killing each other while also attempting to mold them into a skilled football unit in a social setting just waiting to self-destruct.
But that's where the masterpiece of the movie starts, showing the racially divided team and coaching staff come together over the love of a game while the outside world is immersed in turmoil.
And this illustrates what is pure about athletic competition.
Football is a violent game that young men from an assortment of backgrounds play. From what I've seen, you put your safety in another's hands and a bond grows from this. If your blocker doesn't pick up his block, some defensive end is going to put his helmet through your chest and laugh at you while you wallow in pain.
And after trading shots with teammates in the trenches and beating each other black and blue in practice, a respect soon grows. One realizes that each is sacrificing for the ultimate prize - winning.
And you begin to see yourself as a part of a family of sorts.
And winning knows no color - one of the underlying messages conveyed in the movie.
I see this all the time when I watch sports, especially football. Guys who wouldn't usually associate with each other, from totally different backgrounds, battling side-by-side in athletic wars for the pride of the colors they wear on their uniforms, not the color of their skin.
Football knocked down the racial barrier at that Virginia high school in the movie and became the racial bridge as it has everywhere.
Amid all the current howling over discrimination and problems with race relations from various groups, I believe something like this gets lost.
So what would a person like Jesse Jackson who is constantly bringing up negativity in black-white relations say to this? He would have nothing to say, because he feeds off complaining, always preaching something is wrong.
It's good to see something come along that helps us to remember what is right.
Ben Munro is a reporter for The Madison County Journal.

 


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