Madison County Opinion...

 September 5, 2001


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
September 5, 2001

Frankly Speaking

Washington predicted future events
George Washington was many things. He was our first president. He was a soldier, a farmer, a statesman, and one of the founders of our nation.
But he was more than that. George Washington was clairvoyant. He could, and did, predict future events.
Among the many predictions Washington made that have come true are the partisan political shenanigans now taking place in Georgia and other states. In his farewell address, Washington warned us not to become involved in political parties. When we put party above the people, we re-create a dictatorship of the kind he led a war to end.
The American Revolution was intended to establish government of the people, by the people, for the people. The U.S. Constitution was designed to guarantee just such a government. But during Washington's eight years as president, partisan politics was already shoving the people out of the picture. When he left office, after refusing to be crowned king, he warned the nation of the dangers of political parties.
Washington's words clearly and precisely describe the partisan fiasco currently taking place in Georgia. Here is what he said over 200 years ago:
"I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects in the spirit of party generally.
"The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension...is its self a frightening despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation on the ruins of public liberty."
Thus, George Washington predicted that partisan political wrangling would produce the emergence of King Roy as dictator of the state of Georgia.
It is time for a new revolution. It is time that we the people take back our government. If we are ever to regain our liberty, we have to attack the current partisan party structure within our state and force access of independent candidates to the ballot. How can we do that? I will make a suggestion next week.
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
September 5, 2001

In Other Words

Will 'the walk' bring back Georgia fan pride?
The relationship between Georgia and their fans has been much like a troubled marriage - a lot of good times in the past, but some stormy moments in the later years.
The once-strong bond has turned sour as a growing number fickle and lethargic supporters has all but killed the pride that used to reside between the hallowed hedges.
But Saturday, that old feeling came back again ­ at least temporarily ­ with a simple gesture from the Bulldogs - a walk.
As part of rookie coach Mark Richt's effort to embrace the pageantry that once made Georgia great, Bulldog fans of all walks of life lined up in droves outside the Tate Center to participate in the revival of an old Georgia tradition - "the Dawg walk."
It was a scene that could have choked up even the most hardened Georgia fan, an outpouring of support not seen in ages in Athens.
Eighty-five poised Bulldog warriors parted a 200-yard sea of boisterous red and black clad supporters giving high fives and slapping backs as the team made their way from the bus to Sanford Stadium before their 45-17 win over Arkansas State.
The show of devotion touched many, including the usually stoic Richt.
"It got a little emotional for me," the coach told the Athens-Banner Herald. "I tried to hide it, but I got a little choked up."
Good. A little emotion is just what the doctor ordered for the Georgia program.
Personally, I hadn't felt that kind of emotion since I walked to my seat in Sanford Stadium in 1989, my first sight of the gargantuan home of the Dawgs. Looking back, I think it was at that moment (fifth grade surprisingly) that I made my decision about where I would attend college.
But ever since then, my notion that Sanford Stadium was a sanctuary for devoted fans has deteriorated.
I don't know if it has been a lack of championships or wins over Florida and Tennessee, but Bulldog crowds have been on life support in the past few years. Too often players try in vain to pump the calm red sea up but merely get a ripple for their efforts.
In fact, at times the only sound you hear at the Stadium is the constant buzz of the airplane overhead carrying advertising banners.
To put it bluntly, fan apathy has been downright embarrassing.
The worst instance I can recall was last year's Georgia Tech game where most of the "loyal" Bulldog contingent were making their way to their cars because Georgia was down 27-3 at the half - nevermind the fact that this is the team that overcame a 25-0 deficit in the Outback Bowl against Purdue in 1999.
I've often said that Georgia fans rank right down with those of Vanderbilt and Kentucky. The only difference is that those two schools have a reason to have uninspired fans; they don't win.
It's a shame that the program that places 11tth in all time wins gets little more than a whimper out of those who support them.
But Saturday provided a glimmer of hope.
Maybe the little pregame pow-wow can spark a revival the anemic Dog fans. Maybe seeing the team walk in as they prepare to do battle - to see the gladiators up close and personal before they suit up-will light a spark in the collectively silent Bulldog nation.
If Mark Richt is to turn things around, he and his team need a home field advantage. I firmly believe that LSU and Tennessee fans give their team a touchdown per home game solely because of the deafening noise they bring to the stadium. Sanford Stadium might as well be a neutral sight.
But if first impressions meaning anything, Dog fans have endeared themselves to Richt.
"I don't want to get too emotional before a game," Richt said of the Bulldog fans' pregame support. "But it felt good."
Hopefully the good vibes will continue for Richt as well as the Bulldog faithful.
Ben Munro is a reporter for Mainstreet Newspapers and a 1997 graduate of Madison County High School.


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