Madison County Opinion...

 November 15, 2000


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
November 15, 2000

Frankly Speaking

Take the profit out of glorifying violence
Early Sunday morning, I encountered an elderly black man who was looking for change to purchase a newspaper from a rack. After I helped him find the quarters he needed, he showed me a story on the front page of the Athens paper about three bodies being found. One of the three was his 21-year-old son. He had been shot and killed on Friday by someone he believed to be his friend.
Every day we see stories of this type in the newspapers or on TV. We see them so often that they have little impact on us. But meeting this grieving father brought the full horror of the crime into my own life.
What do I say to him? What can I do to help?
The answer is, very little. I am not a trained grief counselor. I was able only to offer my condolences. For one of the few times in my life I felt helpless, and that is probably the most frustrating thing about the experience.
As I usually do when something bothers me, I decided to write about it. I doubt that this article will be of much use in combating violent crime. Those who are prone to violence seldom read newspaper columns.
But the effort will help me work through my own frustrations.
Why have we become such a violent people? Why is life so cheap that we can read a headline like "Police Probe Three Deaths" and not be affected by it? The answer to these questions is simple. We are planting the seeds of violence throughout our culture because it makes money!
The newspaper put that headline on the top of the page so we will buy more newspapers. Movies and television are full of murder and mayhem because that sells tickets. People pay to watch automobile races because they want to see the wrecks. Even our music today often glorifies rape, abuse and greed for personal power. We allow this to happen because money is the only thing this society considers valuable.
It will take the entire society to stop the violence. And the only way to stop it is to take the profit out. We must teach our children, by our own example, not to spend money on movies, comics, recordings, video games or other toys that glorify violence. When violence stops being profitable, the purveyors of violence will turn to more wholesome products.
When we spend more time taking our children to concerts or the museum, or reading to them, or accompanying them to church, or bringing them along as we volunteer for community service, they will learn that there are more important things in life than what we have, or how much money we make. What we teach our children today will determine the kind of society we will have tomorrow.
In his letter to the Galatians Paul said, ".....for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he reap."
If we sow the seeds of love and kindness, we will have a strong, supportive society. If we continue to plant seeds of iniquity, we will have a society in which murder and mayhem are the rule.
Our daily activities are the seeds of tomorrow. What will our future harvest be like?
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. is frankg@mcga.net.


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Column
By Margie Richards
The Madison County Journal
November 15, 2000

In Other Words

Bush-Gore, with a sports twist
This whole delayed election we're having is like being trapped in the middle of a week-long NFL instant-replay challenge by the Democrat "coaching staff" (if you like to put a sports spin on things).
The officials are huddled, the play has been played and replayed, but the nation (as of the time I write this column) must wait to see if the call stands that George W. Bush is the 43rd leader of our nation.
You see, as a sports writer, you can look at anything from the gridiron point of view.
The Bush campaign seemingly picked up the win in Election Bowl 2000 late in the contest last Tuesday night, just pushing the ball across the electoral college "goal line," and all the major networks signaled touchdown.
Bush partisans erupted with exuberance in Austin, Texas, on national TV, ready to rush the political field. The fortunate son of the 41st president had vanquished Al Gore, the right-hand man of the leader of the administration team that ousted Bush's father from office.
So Bush and Gore shook hands at the political 50-yard line, exchanged pleasantries and coach Al conceded the race. The Republicans win one in a squeaker.
"Not so fast, my friend," as Lee Corso, the famous ESPN college football analyst would interject. Gore's staff told him that Bush might have gotten too good a spot in Florida and they don't believe the election is over. "No touchdown!"
Suddenly, those valuable electoral votes from the Sunshine State got taken off the scoreboard and confusion ensued. If Larry Munson, legendary voice of the Dawgs, were covering elections, he would surely have chimed in with: "Old Lady Luck is trying to break the Republicans' hearts right here!"
So, as it stands now, a week later (at the time I write this), the election referees have yet to award the game ball in Decision 2000 to either Bush or Gore.
This year's election definitely had its share of drama-enough to rival even the best of sporting events. There were the momentum swings, the premature celebrations and the controversies - all the elements of a good rivalry - during the latest battle in the long-time war between the Republicans and Democrats.
But sometimes games can drag on for too many overtimes. And this election is about in its eighth overtime and it's starting to get old.
Al Gore and the Democrats challenged the replay once and lost, which is all you get in the NFL. But they didn't like those results, so they challenged it again with a different twist, a hand count - which is subject to human error and fraud.
He'll probably keep counting till he finds something he likes.
Gore's actions tipped the iceberg, which will give Bush the fuel to start recounting votes in close states that he lost, which means this thing should be likened more to a marathon than a football game - there is no end in sight.
Even if a winner is announced, neither side will budge, probably reverting to a whirlwind of legal action as a last-gasp effort, keeping this election more contested than who won the Georgia-Georgia Tech football game last year. In the meantime, a new president is supposed to be sworn in by January. Hopefully somebody new will be occupying the oval office by the year 2001. If there is a deadlock still, Bill Clinton might figure out some way to stay in the White House even longer because of this. He's already been there eight years too long.
No matter who wins this political game, the decision will be contested and protested by both sides in the history books, dividing Democrats and Republicans as much as Alabama and Auburn.
So now both parties' fans await the "referees'" decision, watching the on going political drama play out on the great jumbo-tron that is the nation's networks and news services.
Hopefully for our nation, the game clock for Election 2000 will soon hit 0:00.
Ben Munro is a reporter for the Madison County Journal.


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