Madison County Opinion...

October 31, 2001

By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
October 31, 2001

Frankly Speaking

Constitutional rights are not automatic
Who is protected by the U.S. Constitution? Who can claim full Constitutional rights? With the flood of legal and illegal aliens sweeping our nation, this question needs to be answered.
I have my opinion, of course. And my opinion is that constitutional rights are not automatic. Even U.S. citizens can be denied constitutional rights under certain conditions.
Convicted felons, including U.S. citizens, are not allowed to vote. They cannot own guns. They cannot work in certain areas. U.S. citizens under the age of 21 cannot purchase alcohol. Citizens under 18 years of age cannot purchase tobacco or vote. If they are under the age of 16, they cannot obtain a driver's permit.
If it is so easy to deny full constitutional rights to citizens of this country, why do some people object to limiting constitutional rights to non-citizens? Freedom is not automatic. It has to be earned by each generation and each wave of migration.
Our freedoms, guaranteed by our Constitution, were won on the battlefield, in the courtrooms and in the minds of our ancestors. Every native-born American can claim the right of citizenship because of their sacrifices. To keep the Constitution alive, we have made our own sacrifices. That is why the rights of citizenship must not be given lightly to those newly arrived on our shores.
I am not against immigration. We are a nation of immigrants. Many people come here from around the world seeking the kind of freedoms and constitutional protection we take for granted. They are willing to work for those freedoms, just as our ancestors did.
There are others who come to take advantage of our freedoms. They come in search of easy money, or to attack our freedom from within, or to prevent us from fighting oppression in other lands. These people find us an easy target.
People who enter this nation, legally or illegally, have no rights, as far as I am concerned. They have no right to taxpayer services, no right to freedom of movement, of employment or permanent residence until they prove themselves deserving of those rights.
Our government has a responsibility to track all visitors to our nation, to know where they are, when they are scheduled to leave, and to make sure they leave when their visas expire. Undocumented aliens and those who overstay their time should be subject to arrest and deportation for cause without extensive hearings before our courts.
People who come here and earn citizenship are welcome. People who come here to steal away our freedoms must be expelled. People who come here to attack our Constitution through terrorism must be stopped by all available means.
Constitutional protections are the right of citizens. They cannot be claimed by people who are here illegally.
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
October 31, 2001

A Moment With Margie

On the road again with the 'girls'
I read an article recently listing ways to "de-stress" ourselves in these uncertain times.
Besides avoiding continual TV watching on the ever-present subject of terrorism, the article listed doing fun things that relax you - such as spending time with friends.
I took that advice to heart this past Saturday when I rode along with the "girls" (they love to be called girls) on a trip to the mountains.
This is pretty much an annual fall trek for us, and as usual, Virginia drove, Shirley rode shotgun and I hunkered down in the back seat along with another willing (and brave) participant, Sandra.
Now there are certain requirements for these jaunts:
1. We must get lost at least once on our journey, no matter how familiar the route.
2. Virginia, who loves to drive on these trips, must do something incredibly funny at least once. (Oh, and she must also avoid having a wreck - not always an easy task considering her rowdy passengers.)
3. We must laugh (a lot), embarrass ourselves frequently, and by the end of the day we must be too tired to utter an intelligent word (we seldom have all day, anyway).
4. We must gossip shamelessly, talk about every common topic among women, including of course, men, children and sex (not necessarily in that order). After all, we've all been married a long, long, time.
5. Shirley must go through her repertoire of new jokes - which we all enjoy immensely. (No one can tell a joke like Shirley, and her own enjoyment of them is at least as funny as the jokes themselves.)
6. Oh, and last but definitely not least, we must eat an incredible amount of food which we refuse to feel the least bit guilty about.
This year we started out about 7 a.m. with a breakfast at Cracker Barrel before heading up Hwy. 441 into North Carolina.
On the way, Shirley entertained us with her jokes, we talked about everybody and everything we could think of and argued a little (all in good fun).
We toured a large antique mall and flea market Sandra knew about and then Virginia pointed the car south into Georgia again where we stopped in Dillard at the Dillard House for lunch (my favorite part of the day).
After that we headed to the shops in Dillard. Shirley and Sandra went to find a ladies' room and Virginia and I sat outside in the freezing wind and waited for them. Finally in exasperation we went into the shop nearest us to get warm and guess what, found Shirley and Sandra warmly shopping inside the same store. (They had come in another way.)
After that it was on to a produce stand where Shirley and I tried to steal several cabbages from an elderly lady.
Let me rephrase that.
We didn't mean to steal them, but there was this huge mountain of fresh-picked cabbage and Shirley and I saw several nice-looking heads already bagged, just lying at the bottom of that pile, so we picked them up.
"Those are mine!" We heard an older lady say behind us. We apologized profusely, dropped the cabbages and backed away quickly.
Later we thought how funny it would have been if we had just made a run for it. (That was Shirley's idea.)
Then came the part where we get lost.
We turned onto a road to take a look at a bed and breakfast I'd heard about and then decided to see where the road by it went. After some maneuvering, we eventually found our way back to Hwy. 441. We've learned not to panic in these situations; they always work out and we've learned we will, eventually, get home.
(That episode was pretty mild - once Shirley and Virginia ended up at a state prison in Alto while trying to get home from a trip to Helen.)
Shirley decided she wanted a Dillard House cookbook after looking at the one Sandra had purchased, so we backtracked a few miles to the restaurant where she ended up buying a couple as Christmas gifts for Virginia and me.
After that we headed for home, tired, stuffed and happy.
And we hadn't once thought of terrorists, but all I can say is God help them if they had encountered the "girls" on the road.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for the Madison County Journal.
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