Madison County Opinion...

 October 18, 2000


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
October 18, 2000

Frankly Speaking

Sovereignty of states upheld
I am pleased to announce another victory in the battle to preserve the sovereignty of the states as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
The Supreme Court ruled this week that those people living in the District of Columbia may not have a voting representative in the U.S. Congress.
This ruling is another small step toward accomplishing the goal of the Confederacy, returning power to the states.
Don't D.C. residents deserve representation? Am I being unfair in supporting this decision? The answers are Yes and No!
When the founders of this nation wrote the Constitution, they set up a system in which each state was sovereign. That is, the right to govern rests not in the federal government, but in the state governments. The federal government was carefully limited to areas that required joint actions by the states.
Because the right to govern rests in the states, it is only as a citizen of one of the several states that we have full political rights. People who live in areas under U.S. control that have never achieved statehood are part of the nation's commonwealth. They can elect local governments, but cannot be part of the federal government.
There are provisions for people who have temporary residences outside of an established state. They can vote in their home state as long as they maintain a permanent residence there. People in the military, even when stationed overseas, can still vote in their home state's elections. People living temporarily in D.C. as part of the government can vote back home.
So, how can we give the 100,000 residents of Washington D.C. the right to be represented in Congress without violating the Constitution? There are three possibilities: amend the constitution, grant statehood to D.C. or return the residential areas of D.C. to the state of Maryland.
If we amend the Constitution, it will result in a greater weakening of the principle of state sovereignty. That important principle has already been weakened by ever greater encroachments by the federal government. We need to return power to the states, not take more away.
The District of Columbia was established as a seat for the federal government that would be entirely outside any of the several states. Our founding fathers felt, correctly, that if the capital of our nation were located within a state, that state would have an advantage over the other states. Therefore, granting statehood to D.C. would defeat the purpose for which it was founded.
I am of the opinion that our founders never intended to have permanent residents in the District of Columbia. They planned a system in which all federal personnel, elected or otherwise, would come to the district to serve the nation on a temporary basis. Once they complete the term for which they were chosen, they would return to their permanent home within the states. I think that all residential areas of the district should be returned to Maryland, the state of its origin. The additional population would qualify Maryland for one additional representative, giving these people a seat in the House. They would be represented in the Senate by Maryland's senators.
This plan would remove the need for Congress to oversee the administration of this population. They would look to the state for those services normally provided by state governments. Congress would only have to care for federal buildings and regulate those areas of temporary housing needed for temporary government employees.
I urge our representatives to support any effort to return the residents of D.C. to Maryland. Doing so would give the citizens of the District full representation in Congress while preserving the principle of states rights.
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 18, 2000

A Moment with Margie

A squirrel named Tooty Fruity
She was not much bigger than my thumb when I found her, and most of that was her head. I knew she was a baby something, but it took me a few minutes to decide she was a squirrel.
My son Zack and I found her after we heard a high-pitched screaming noise in our backyard one windy night.
We both grabbed flashlights and went to investigate, finding the little creature curled up at the base of an oak tree, with one of our cats sitting nearby getting ready for a bedtime snack.
Zack scooped her up and I found a shoe box and an old rag to wrap her in. Though she had no visible signs of injury, I didn't hold out too much hope she'd be around the next morning.
But she was, and after rounding up some kitten formula, a couple of syringes and some advice on getting started from my pals at the local vet, I began to coax her to eat.
She had little fur and her eyes were still tightly closed. I called a couple of people who had raised squirrels for advice and to see if they were interested in raising another. But although they gave me moral support, none were willing to take her in.
So, faced with the fact that I now had taken responsibility for this helpless creature, I developed a game plan for caring for her.
There for a few days I showed up for work armed with a shoe box, what amounted to a diaper bag complete with formula, and a heating pad.
But she soon outgrew the shoe box and I transferred her to an old 10-gallon aquarium and began coming home to feed her at regular intervals, or having another family member do it for me. She did only a few things, but she did them very well; she ate, she slept and she pooped - a lot.
At first she ate only a small portion of a syringe full of formula, then a whole syringe full, then two, three, six and sometimes even eight.
Her eyes opened the first weekend I had her and she gradually began to toddle on uncertain feet. I wasn't satisfied she was clean from my wiping her off, so one day I got the bright idea to bathe her in the bathroom sink. Everyone thought I was nuts, but she loved it, as long as I let her hold onto one hand with her front paws while I gently bathed her with the other. Afterward I wrapped her in a soft washcloth and held her against me until she was warm and dry.
I think we both enjoyed that part.
Those first few weeks I felt as though I had an infant once again. But although it was confining, I kind of enjoyed it too. My daughter Miranda had just left for college and my baby boy had started his first year in high school - so you might say I was needed again.
Soon, she began to eat the crackers and nuts we tempted her with and right around six weeks she "weaned" herself completely.
Now she is a "real squirrel" - bushy tail and all.
She loves nothing better than salted sunflower seeds and is absolutely passionate about peanuts.
Charles built her a tall cage so she can climb around and is teaching her to box.
That's right, she'll stand on her hind feet and "box" with her front paws, counter-punching his fingers.
I'm thinking of taking her on Letterman.
I've tried not to get too attached, knowing I'll have to let her go next spring, but it's hard. After all, how can one help loving a smart little rodent with a fluffy tail named Tooty Fruity?
I can't.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for the Madison County Journal.


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