Madison County Opinion...

 September 12, 2001


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
September 12, 2001

Frankly Speaking

Politics, Georgia style - Part II
Last week I wrote about George Washington's warning to us concerning the abusive nature of political parties. Let me tell you more about just how massive that abuse has become.
The two major parties have taken total political control of our state and nation. Here in Georgia, the Democrats have a narrow lead. Currently, they are engaged in an all-out effort to keep control at any cost.
Unfortunately for us, they are paying the cost with our money!
Whether we want to or not, you and I are paying the bills that allow the major parties to control our lives. For example, every day that the Georgia legislature is in special session to "reapportion" the state we pay the bills. The charge runs to thousands of dollars each day.
Why is it taking so long? The controlling Democrats are twisting and turning the Georgia map every way they can to gain an advantage over the Republicans. They do not care if they rip communities apart. They do not care that they are creating a system that pits race against race, urban against rural, North against South. Nothing matters to them but keeping their own petty kingdoms intact.
The districts being drawn will cost us in other ways. Any person seeking election in Georgia will find campaigning far more expensive. With stretched-out districts that ramble from one side of the state to another, candidates will be forced to purchase advertising in multiple markets. They will have to travel long distances simply to stay in contact with their constituents. We will have inferior representation at a much greater cost.
Don't forget that the State of Georgia finances primary elections for the major parties. You and I pay millions of dollars so that the two major parties can select their candidates for the general election. That constitutes vast payments of taxpayers' money to private political organizations.
Then, having forced us to pay for the major parties' primaries, they deny us the right to run independent or third-party candidates. By requiring anyone other than Democrats or Republicans to obtain absurd numbers of petitions in order to get on the ballot, they protect the political power brokers from any serious outside challenge.
The political system in Georgia today constitutes out-and-out thievery.
The politicians take our money to finance their partisan squabbles. They seize the election process and keep all but their own off the ballot.
They take away our right to form a government of the people, by the people, for the people. In its place, they have created a government of the politicians, by the politicians, for the politicians. As far as they are concerned, we the people are a hindrance to be swept aside.
This week I have described for you the kind of political system we now have in Georgia. Next week, I will describe the system we should have.
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 Zach Mitcham
The Madison County Journal
September 12, 2001

From the Editor's Desk

The awful aftermath
We share a collective fury as a nation. Now begins the hunt for the culprits and the fight to conquer the seeming helplessness we feel in light of such a great tragedy.
One thing many have mentioned is donating blood. Even if there is sufficient blood for those injured Tuesday, a potential positive from this horror is building the nation's blood supply to an unprecedented level.
We have listings of potential blood donor sites on the front page.
Of course the physical and emotional wounds may never be mended for those who suffer directly from these acts. Numerous families will never be the same.
The nation, too, will be different.
In essence, we've had our comfort ripped from us like a pillow taken from a sleeper. We are awake, alarmed and confused.
This is, by far, the most significant event of this new century and the most notable happening in at least a generation. It will be remembered at the close of this century. Hopefully, people 100 years from now will say the 2001 horror was an aberration, not an event ushering in a new era of wide-scale terror.
But the possibility of assaults on a grand scale is certainly real. We hear of more and more nations with nuclear capabilities and the threat of biological terrorism.
We are a hated nation in some corners of this world, as evidenced by the awful jubilation in Palestine.
The effects of this terrible Tuesday will extend for years in our foreign policy dealings and domestic safety procedures.
We will certainly snap out of a longtime complaceny over national defense. Expect the current debate over implementing a Star Wars defense system to pick up. Some will push harder for this now. Skeptics will insist more vehemently that combating terrorists with a portable nuclear or biological arsenal won't be possible with a Star Wars system. Perhaps finding methods to detect potential domestic terrorists will prove more popular than missile defense.
Obviously, we can also expect going to an airport or a high-profile building to become less convenient as more safety measures are implemented.
And as the horror of this attack begins to wear off, many will curse the increased safety measures as some convenience is sacrificed. But people should keep the broad perspective at those times, remembering why those extra safety precautions are taken.
Still, what really comes next can only be a guess.
And personally, it's hard to deal with this shock, to carry out regular job duties amid such chaos. Writing sports stories seemed so trivial to me Tuesday as more and more horrific reports reached our office. I questioned whether my Dad was scheduled to be on a plane and was relieved when he called.
The references to Pearl Harbor are frequent today and probably appropriate. Dec. 7, 1941, was a day that will live in infamy. And from now on, Sept. 11, 2001, will share that billing.
Let us get those who did this.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.

 


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