Madison County Opinion...

JULY 17, 2002


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
July 17, 2002

Frankly Speaking

Show your patriotism: register to vote
Did you really mean it when you flew the U.S. Flag last fall? Was your patriotism for real, or were you simply caught up in the moment?
For some of you, that national pride was a momentary event. How do I know? You are still not registering and voting!
Across the nation, news reports show that even fewer of you are taking part in primary elections. There is no surge in voter registration. As the season proceeds, it is clear that we are back to politics as usual.
I agree with the sentiment that “if you don’t vote, you have no grounds to complain.” I also agree that there are no legitimate excuses for not registering and voting.
Some of you have argued that if you register to vote, you are more likely to be called for jury duty. I have two objections to that argument. First, as a good citizen, you should be willing to serve on a jury if called. Trying to avoid jury duty is an insult to our government system. Jury duty is one of the best ways you have to assure that our nation functions as the founding fathers intended.
Secondly, the voting roll is only one of many lists that are used to pick jury pools. If you have property in the county, you might be called. If you have a driver’s license with an address in the county, you are subject. Just having a mailing address or telephone will give you a chance. All the court officials need is proof that you live in the county and have no criminal record to add you to the list.
I repeat, there are no valid excuses for not registering and voting. If you are going to be out of town, you can easily obtain an absentee ballot. If you are handicapped, you can ask for assistance at the polls.
So, I don’t want to hear any more excuses. The only reason you don’t register and vote is that you simply don’t give a damn! When politicians take your money away and spend it on wasteful programs, it is because you don’t care enough to stop them. Every time elected officials pass new laws limiting your personal freedom, you gave them permission to do so by not voting. When King Roy stole away your flag, and took the right to educate your children away from local boards of education, he knew you would do nothing about it.
If you are not registered, do so now! The deadline to register for the general primaries is July 22. In Madison County call the registrar’s office at 706-795-3649 to find out when and where you can sign up.
Please register and vote. Only then will your opinions count.
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.

Column
By Ben Munro
The Madison County Journal
July 17, 2002

In Other Words

The off season is an unhealthy time for football addicts
If the three bits of essential info you have to know before you can start your day are the high temperature, chance of rain and how many days are left until football season, then you might want to seek counseling for being a full-fledged football fanatic.
And of course, if a friend fits this profile, you might want to intervene.
The dog days of summer can be the leanest of times for those hooked to the gridiron.
The recruiting season was a mere Ritz cracker to hold you over for the late-August football feast. Spring practice was a small drop of water in the middle of the off-season desert.
As much as an inspired Braves’ campaign creates an interesting diversion in July, the true gridiron freak can’t escape the withdrawal symptoms.
Nostalgia is the first sign. Your VCR is in the shop because you pushed the rewind button on Herschel Walker trucking Bill Bates in 1980 one too many times while you should have been watching the NBA playoffs.
Violence is the next warning flag. You find yourself swapping cyber punches with some Tennessee fan on an internet chat site in a heated debate over who’d win in a fight, “Uga” or “Smokey.”
And then before you know it, you’ve become delusional. For example, while walking in the Turner Field parking lot recently, I spotted a guy using a big gulp cup for a make shift football, offering play-by-play commentary as his small son ran passing routes.
Obviously, this addiction can get scary at times.
This usually leads to mass purchasing of as many of those preseason publications as possible—you know, Street and Smiths, Athlon, The Sporting News.
To my pal in the parking lot, these things are the nicotine patches.
Where would obsessed football fans be during those long summer nights without 200 pages of analysis and mathematical forecasts to calm their cravings?
In reality, these rarely accurate publications are junk food for the football mind and nothing more. They’re definitely not a cure.
Maybe a wing of the Betty Ford clinic could be opened up to treat this type of football fanaticism.
Imagine: a room full of guys who look like Chris Farley strapped down to hospital beds while they’re forced to watch 24-hour lacrosse and equestrian highlights.
Talk about tough love.
But the only way to cope is to try to be diverse during the summer, my fellow football fanatics.
Why not give other sports a chance?
There’s promising levels of violence in hockey which should make the average pigskin fan feel right at home. And if they just took out that danged goalie then, well, we’d really be rolling.
It’s a long, tough battle, but if we can keep the right frame of mind between now and September, then we’ve conquered our demons.
Now excuse me while I go find my 2001 Georgia-Tennessee highlight tape.
Ben Munro is a reporter for Mainstreet Newspapers.

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