Madison County Opinion...

 August 29, 2001

By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
August 29, 2001

Frankly Speaking

State gov't shows hypocrisy
The word of the day is hypocrisy. For those who are not sure what the word means, it refers to those who accuse others of doing the same thing they do. For example, the Georgia government, under the guidance of King Roy, is attacking small businesses that offer video poker and other games of chance to the public. According to Barnes, these game machines that can be used for gambling are a "cancer" on society.
Meanwhile, the state of Georgia is operating a multi-million dollar gambling industry. They call it "Lotto Georgia." Outlets around the state sell chances to win cash prizes to people who cannot afford to lose. But the great majority of them never win.
Politicians argue that lottery money is used for education. The program is beneficial, they say, and should be encouraged. And encourage they do. Every day, the airwaves are flooded with ads urging Georgians to play the lottery. Every day TV personalities announce the winning numbers and state how much money players won that day. (They never tell us how much money lottery players lost!)
Video poker machines are also beneficial. They give small businesses a chance to survive in a very difficult economic climate. Today, the major chain stores dominate our economy. Small individual or family-owned stores find it extremely difficult to compete with these giants. Video poker machines draw customers to these stores. Earnings from the machines augment the meager sales. For some small community stores, these machines are the only thing that keeps them alive.
The most significant part of the video poker battle is its effect on individual freedom. We are Americans, after all. We are guaranteed by our Constitution with the greatest possible degree of liberty. That includes the liberty to do stupid things like gambling away our hard-earned money.
I am a firm believer in individual freedom supported by personal responsibility. People who exercise personal responsibility do not need a government agency to tell them when to, or not to, play video poker.
They can decide for themselves how much money they have to waste and how to waste it.
I am also a firm believer in equality, especially between private and public business. If it is legally and morally proper for the government to operate a gambling business, then it is equally legal and moral for private businesses to do the same.
Let me repeat. It is stupid of anyone to give away his or her hard-earned money to any gambling scheme. If you have five, 10 or more dollars extra each week, put them in a savings account. Your money will not be lost, and you will "win" the interest the account pays. If people are determined to throw their money away on gambling schemes, then they should have the right to choose between government and private games. One is just as beneficial, and just as damaging, as the other.
For the state government to demand that we "do as I say, not as I do," is hypocrisy at its worst.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at His email address is

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By Margie Richards
The Madison County Journal
August 29, 2001

A Moment With Margie

Shhh...appreciating the sound of silence
The older I get, the more I appreciate the times when it's quiet.
And those times are really getting to be quite rare.
When I was a teenager it seems there couldn't be enough noise - and that noise had an excitement in it.
The Christmas before we were married, Charles bought me a set of "mind blowers" - state-of- the-art speakers at that time, and we enjoyed seeing just how high we could "turn 'em up," often making the windows of my poor old car vibrate.
Nowadays I can barely stand any sound above a quiet hum. I think I'm a victim of "sound overload."
For example, at work, there's the shrill ring of the telephone that demands attention, the buzz of the scanner, traffic going by, etc.
Shopping is a bombardment of sound. Some stores blare rock-n-roll tunes, others make announcements over PA systems, and some do both.
Many restaurants feel the need to play music as loudly as possible - so loudly that you have to often have to scream at your meal companions. I avoid some restaurants because of it, even though they may have great food.
At home, I know my son is awake by the sound of his stereo booming against the walls in the morning.
"Turn it down" is often the first thing I say to him, instead of "good morning."
Then of course there's the phone, the TV, the door bell, the dishwasher, etc., etc., etc.
In the car, there's not only the radio, there's now a phone and pager to contend with.
With all this noise, it's no wonder we're a nervous, neurotic lot. We can't think quietly; we can't reflect on anything. We don't even take time to know who we are.
I'm learning to cultivate quietness, because it's in those times that I know what I really feel and think about the things around me.
I can often find God in those quiet times. Sometimes when I don't hear Him speak, I realize I haven't been listening. He won't shout at me - he won't compete with the phone, the radio, the TV.
Speaking of TV, I saw a show on the Travel Channel some time back talking about quiet places to go. One was a Convent. The Sisters moved quietly through their day; gardening, cooking, going to chapel service.
Visitors and guests who came there for a retreat sat outside and read or meditated quietly, took a stroll through the woods, or spent time in prayer and reflection in the chapel.
Once I would have thought such a place incredibly boring; now I find the idea idyllic.
Although most of us probably can't go on such a retreat, we can find moments throughout any day to cultivate a sense of inner peace. Maybe we should all try turning off the TV, the phone, the outside world sometimes.
We might just be surprised at what we'd hear.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for the Madison County Journal.
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