The Madison County Journal
May 23, 2001
'We intend to get our
A most important word to all Americans is sovereignty. Why? Because
that word carries within it the authority of governments to make
decisions for us. In a monarchy, sovereignty belongs to the king
or dictator. In a theocracy, sovereignty is claimed by the church.
In an oligarchy, sovereignty is held by a small elite group of
So, who has the right of sovereignty in this country? The Declaration
of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and
all other founding documents say that sovereignty belongs to
we the people. We Americans, individually and as a group, have
the right to govern ourselves.
Thousands of Americans, in numerous wars, have sacrificed their
lives, their health and their wealth to win the right of our
citizens to be sovereign. Yet today, that right is being ripped
away bit by bit.
Consider this: In poll after poll, the people of Georgia expressed
their desire that the 1956 flag remain the official symbol of
our state. As a sovereign people, we have the right to choose
those emblems that represent us. However, an oligarchy, most
of whom are not from Georgia, decided to impose another flag
on us. They knew that the new flag did not reflect the sovereign
desire of Georgians. But they violated the basic principle of
American society by imposing it on us.
They knew exactly what they were doing. They demonstrated that
by a provision written into the legislation forcing the change.
That bill demands that all state and local agencies of government
procure and fly the new flag. Any city, county, regional or state
agency that refuses to fly the false flag faces an immediate
cutoff of all state money.
This is wrong. This is a slap in the face of every freedom-loving
Georgian. This is wholesale theft of our sovereign rights.
When the people's flag flew over state government, certain radicalized
agencies refused to fly it. That includes the City of Atlanta
and the University of Georgia. At no time were these agencies
threatened with financial assault for not flying the people's
flag of choice.
But now, with a much-despised flag being imposed on our state,
just such punishment is planned for anyone who chooses to honor
the sovereign will of the people and continue to fly the favored
Well, we the sovereign people of Georgia will not so easily give
up our right of self-government As a new bumper sticker now appearing
around the state says, "It Ain't Over!" Already, candidates
for governor are promising to reconsider the Jackson/Barnes flag.
The flag will be a major factor in the election of state senators
It is likely that the question will reach the voters via a referendum
of some kind, and you can bet that the vote will mirror that
We intend to get our flag back, and those who attempted to steal
it from us can expect to pay a high price.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal.
His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. His e-mail address
The Madison County Journal
May 23, 2001
should reinstate Kesler
Everyone knows coaches take the heat. But it's still an awful
shock to see one get burned in a bad way, particularly after
a stellar season.
Last week, Doug Kesler was yanked as Madison County girls' fast-pitch
softball coach. The county school board approved all of the superintendent's
recommendations for coaching positions, but voted unanimously
against rehiring Kesler as the Lady Raiders' coach.
This is despite the fact that the MCHS principal and athletic
director supported the superintendent's recommendation to keep
Kesler as coach.
Ironically, only hours after being canned as softball coach,
Kesler was in Athens receiving the Athens Newspapers' Northeast
Georgia "Coach of the Year" in fast-pitch softball
honor. It must have been a bittersweet feeling for the coach
as he smiled for the camera.
But the recognition was well deserved. Madison County's softball
team, in only its third season of fast-pitch play, enjoyed great
success this past season, roaring into the state tournament with
outstanding pitching and defense. The hitting was inconsistent,
but the team's grit wasn't. And when all was said and done, Madison
County claimed fourth in Class AAA, while improving its three-year
fast-pitch record under Kesler to 72-27, a 72.7 winning percentage.
Not bad in any sport.
Kesler backs up his team's success on the field with a professional
approach. He demands a lot of his players, but he is not a Bobby
Knight. He's not a screamer or a cusser. He speaks a lot of integrity
and he exhibits what he preaches.
So what gives? Why the firing of a such a solid coach?
A common opinion is that one of the board members had a personal
gripe with Kesler and convinced the rest of the board that the
coach should go. There's also been talk that perhaps Kesler was
targeted because he is a close friend of Mac Almond, who resigned
as Comer Elementary principal amid allegations of criminal mismanagement
of funds and other charges.
BOE chairman Robert Haggard said these allegations against the
board are simply untrue, that the board would not go along with
one person's vendetta against a coach and that the Almond issue
was not even discussed by the BOE during its consideration of
Kesler. Haggard said there are several matters, primarily discipline
related, at issue. He wouldn't offer specifics, but he emphasized
there is nothing criminal alleged by the board against Kesler,
nothing ugly "like in Cherokee County."
Essentially, Haggard summed it up as a communication problem,
saying there were problems that the board thought Kesler had
dealt with that the coach was actually unaware of.
Following the dismissal, Haggard talked on the phone and then
met with Kesler. This is a good move and hopefully there will
be a better end to this ugly story. Unfortunately, these talks
should have happened before Kesler's termination.
And whether or not the firing was a personal jab at Kesler -
an argument which by appearances certainly has merit - these
The board did not inform Kesler what their problems were with
him, nor did they give him a chance to defend himself before
he was terminated. The board ignored the recommendations of the
athletic director, principal and superintendent, leaving us to
question the worth of those recommendations.
In a year filled with public image nightmares for the BOE, the
school board shot itself in the foot on this one, offering hazy
reasons for lassoing a good coach away from his team and stripping
some talented players of their leader.
The county school board should reverse its decision to fire Kesler.
And hopefully we'll see the coach back in the dugout when the
season begins in August - where the heat is simply from the weather.
And those sizzling fastballs.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.