Madison County Opinion...

 August 22, 2001


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
August 22, 2001

Frankly Speaking

Political correctness creeps closer
to Madison Co.

Political correctness is creeping closer to Madison County. Some group is now demanding that all Georgia high schools that use a minority group as a sports mascot change their school name. Currently, they are after Oconee County to drop their name of the Warriors, and quit using Native American images to represent their sports teams.
Why is that demand a threat to Madison County? Many of you may not know that the Madison County High School Red Raider is a Mexican Bandito, sort of the Robin Hood of Mexico. He is the invention of Texas Tech University. Madison County is one of only a handful of high schools that have adopted the Red Raider as their mascot.
When we voted for the Red Raider to represent our school back in 1956 (I was a sophomore) there might have been five or six people of Mexican descent living here. Now we have a well established Mexican community.
I guess it is possible for a few of them to be offended by our use of a Mexican symbol to represent our high school, but to the best of my knowledge, none of them have said so.
I have never understood why any ethnic or cultural group would be offended by having a school named for them. To me, it should be an honor to receive such recognition. As a traditional Southerner, I am pleased when a school chooses to call itself "Cavaliers" or "Rebels." These are terms frequently used to describe officers and soldiers of the Confederate army. They recognize the history and heritage of the South and I applaud those schools who continue to defy political correctness and embrace Southern culture as a part of their identity.
But just in case someone is offended by the Red Raider, perhaps we should think of a new name for the school, one that honors an ethnic group that will not be offended. The name should reflect the fact that we are a rural southern community. I suggest four possibilities, one that relates directly to Georgia, one that reflects our agricultural economy and two that mirror our close relationship with Appalachia.
Which would you like? Shall we become the "Crackers," the "Rednecks," "the Hillbillies" or the "Ridge Runners"? I am quite sure that none of us rednecks or crackers care. And I can only think of one person who objects to being a hillbilly or ridge runner: Senator Zell, the Mountaineer, Miller.
The Red Raider has represented our school well for over 40 years. The Warriors have been an equally outstanding mascot for Oconee County High School. Let's all ignore this political correctness foolishness and leave things as they are.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. His email address is frankg@mcga.net.

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Column
By Rochelle Beckstine
The Madison County Journal
August 22, 2001

Post mortem: Beyond Mainstreet
Well, it's been nine days since I left my corner of the Jefferson office for the great beyond and I'm doing all right.
I sleep later in the mornings. I can get up when the sun rises again instead of crawling out of bed at 5:30 a.m. so that I could get me ready, Piper ready, drop her off at my mother's and feed her just before I walk out the door for work. Piper and I get up at 7:30 and leave the house at 8:15.
The store I manage in Buford (being a fireplace store) does a lot more business in the months ending in -er so I spend a lot of the day reorganizing and cleaning. My biggest day was Monday when I had three phone calls in 20 minutes and then nothing for the rest of the day.
I had a lot of excitement that day too because the air conditioner broke. Several people I spoke with asked what was wrong with the thing, but my knowledge of air conditioners begins and ends with turning the fan from auto to on. The servicemen arrived and pointed out the big block of ice attached to the unit. They said the pipes were frozen so I thought if I left the door open to the air conditioner closet, then maybe they would unfreeze and we would have cool air again. Apparently it's a bit more complicated than that because they came back with a whole new motor to the thing and spent the day trying to install the sucker.
Meanwhile, the phone is ringing. My three customers called. I called some vendors. My grandfather called four times to find out how things were going. Customer service from Lennox called me back five days after I left a message requesting some information. I thought it was rather funny. I waited on hold for about half an hour on Wednesday to get to the point where I could leave a message requesting a return phone call. Then, five days later, they call back to answer my question. It's a good thing it wasn't too important.
By noon, the store felt like a sauna and Piper was spitting the ice water from her sippy cup all over her dress. We walked about a mile on the showroom floor with Piper in her umbrella stroller sucking on her feet. It was an enjoyable day.
My trip back and forth to work has reminded me of several things I'd forgotten. Traffic is miserable. The Braselton exit off of I-85 backs up onto the expressway at 5 p.m. in the same way the exit for Hwy. 120 in Duluth backed up six years ago. (That was before they closed the exit for a year to make it a four-lane exit.) It's scary to see that Braselton has really grown that much. I'd seen the new subdivisions, but the traffic jam made all of the growth real. Almost like the Nothing in the Neverending Story 2. The thing just consumes everything in its path. I guess we learn to live with it because I don't see any way to stop it.
The second thing I noticed was all of the new DOT construction. It's a good sign of growth. Roads are being widened, bridges are being built and bypasses are being added. DOT workers seem Beckstineto be fond of the power they wield. Several times I've stopped at their STOP sign. The worker looks at my immobile car. Then at me, the driver. Then he glances at the sign, acts surprised that it reads STOP instead of SLOW and waves me on through. He doesn't bother to switch the sign, then he wouldn't be able to stop the next car. I was inspired by one worker's zeal for her job. She acted as though she was an air traffic controller, signaling traffic to move through the DOT work area. When it was time to stop, she would walk out into the middle of the road, holding up both arms straight out, indicating traffic should halt. She did this on top of switching the sign to STOP. That's going out of your way.
Reading back over this it seems I have too much time on my hands. But I just can't help thinking about that DOT worker versus my customer service rep. It's interesting.


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