The Madison County Journal
October 3, 2001
Let's return power to the people
Over the past several weeks I have described the way Georgia's
ruling politicians have taken away our right to control state
government. Even in the face of national calls for political
unity, King Roy and his vassals have continued to design a political
system designed to expand their political power. Their actions
totally disregard the rights of Georgia's citizens for self-government.
We the people have two choices. We can do nothing and allow King
Roy to rule without opposition, or we can stage a new revolution.
I have a plan that would, if enough of our citizens are willing
to take part, force the state's ruling oligarchy to return political
power to the people.
Any time you face an enemy, the best way to defeat him is to
use his own weapons against him. Here in Georgia, the weapon
those in power use to keep their power is ballot restrictions.
They make it impossible for anyone not part of the political
system to get on the ballot. They do this by requiring any third
party or independent candidate to obtain nearly impossibly high
numbers of petition signatures. Once petitions are collected,
election officials must verify that a sufficient number of the
signatures are by eligible voters. For state legislative races,
this work is performed by the Georgia Secretary of State's office.
What would happen if hundreds of candidates were to flood the
state with petitions at the same time? With each candidate required
to collect thousands of signatures, the state's election machinery
would be swamped.
The office would be forced to hire large numbers of untrained
workers to check the signatures. Those who are refused ballot
access would have grounds for numerous legal actions against
This effort need not be centrally organized, although coorperation
among the minor parties would help. For example, each voter has
the right to sign as many petitions as they wish. Signing a petition
is not a vote for the candidate. It simply indicates that the
voter agrees that the candidate has a right to be on the ballot.
Several minor party and independent candidates could join together
for a petition drive urging citizens to sign each of their petitions.
Petition collectors need not be concerned if the signers are
registered voters. If the petitions contain ineligible signatures,
that increases the workload for the Secretary of State's office.
The idea is to qualify as many candidates as possible, but even
those who fail to qualify will have contributed to the cause
by swamping the system.
By turning their weapon against them, we can force King Roy and
the legislature to abandon their current abusive election system
and return power to the people.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal.
His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. His email address
The Madison County Journal
October 3, 2001
The ant versus the ant hill
While we pride ourselves on our self-sufficiency and insist that
government stay off our backs, we recognize that we are helpless
alone versus global threats.
We look to our leaders and feel proud when they show strength
as they have in recent weeks. This brings a measure of comfort
But our leaders warn that we should be prepared for a long battle.
It will come in overt forms, such as the attacks we saw.
There is a more subtle conflict at work too, which we will ultimately
fight in our own minds.
The Islamic fundamentalists make it clear they want to destroy
the West, not only by killing people, but by eliminating Western
They want an East versus West war of the world.
It makes sense then to look at a traditional difference in Eastern
and Western thought, the role of the individual.
Many Eastern societies have shown little regard for the individual.
For example, look at Soviet communism. We heard of "defectors."
Those who left Russia, those went against the state. The individual
was not to make such choices, was not to turn his back on the
larger social order.
Look at the Indian caste system. Under this social structure,
a person born as a toilet washer is accorded that position because
of his behavior in a past life. To seek advancement from this
position goes against a pre-determined destiny.
Other Eastern cultures have shared this value system, not necessarily
in a religious sense, but in the idea that the ant matters most
as a member of the ant hill, that the individual should be a
cog in a well-functioning machine, the larger social order.
In this system the individual shows nobility in resigning himself
to a higher cause which is determined for him.
The West, and America in particular, say the individual truly
matters. Our forefathers established a Bill of Rights to ensure
the protection of individuals. We've welcomed millions from abroad
who want a better life. America is truly beautiful in this way.
We have higher purposes, but we have unprecedented freedom to
Still, the view of many in the world is that this freedom of
ours has created a self-righteous, rich and indifferent culture,
one concerned only with our well being. Sure, there's some truth
in this. Many do seem this way. But to judge us as such is surely
And those who hate us resent our financial prowess, which extends
to most of the globe. They hate that we push for basic rights
for individuals, perhaps feeling that we are immoral and unworthy
of setting a moral mandate.
Of course, the fundamentalists are quite blind to their own hypocrisy,
their own moral black hole.
If the goal of extremists is to wipe out the West, then they
will surely try to destroy our basic ideals - the importance
of the individual, the right to privacy, the right to pursue
happiness as you please.
There's anti-terrorism legislation now being considered. It may
be necessary in light of what happened. But don't dismiss those
who voice concern about possible civil liberties infringements
as mere whiners and worrywarts.
We should make no mistake. Any changes which lessen individual
rights will be a victory for our enemies. It's their aim. Their
tool is fear and it's a powerful force. They know a fearful culture
Ultimately, our victory will come not only in defeating terrorists,
but in standing strong by our American principles even as we
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.