Madison County Opinion...

AUGUST 28, 2002


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
August 28, 2002

Frankly Speaking
State has no business financing partisan politics
Many democrats in Atlanta are upset because so many republicans crossed over during the recent primaries and helped vote Cynthia McKinney out of office.
Joseph Lowery, Atlanta civil rights activist and liberal Democrat, is now insisting that voters be required to register as by party, and only registered party members be allowed to vote in the primaries. I will take that argument one step further.
I have argued for many years that the state government has no business being involved in party politics. I am especially opposed to the state conducting and financing primary elections for the purpose of selecting candidates for the major political parties.
A political party is a private organization. As such, each party has the right and responsibility to determine who is a member and how they will select their candidates. They also have the responsibility to finance that selection procedure.
The state government should only be responsible for the general election in November. They should set a single rule for access to the general election ballot. Every candidate, no matter what party, if any, he or she represents, should have the same access to the general election ballot.
That means that if a member of the Constitution Party has to collect signatures of five percent of registered voters in order to qualify, then Democratic and Republican candidates should have to meet the same requirement. The fact that the Democrat or Republican Party nominates a candidate for a political office should not give them any advantage over minor or independent candidates.
If the Democrats want to conduct a primary to select their candidates, they should organize the primary, determine who is eligible to take part, and pay the cost. If the Republicans want to hold nominating conventions, as they did before the state took over the process, they should determine the date, place and eligibility of electors who take part.
In addition, each party has the right and responsibility to make rules and set standards to determine who is eligible to run as a representative of their party.
The ridiculous reapportionment plan recently imposed on the voters of Georgia is the result of state interference in the political process. The massive taxes we all have to pay are a result of government control over the election process.
In order to return government to the people, we have to take the election process away from the politicians. That includes the conduct of primary elections, nominating conventions, rules on membership of political parties and all other actions involved in selecting the legislators and officers of state and local governments. Only then will “We the People” be able to have a government of our own choosing.
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 Kerri Graffius
The Madison County Journal
August 28, 2002

Guest Column
Thinking about life after college
Something happens to you after you graduate from college. You start, well, thinking.
Not necessarily thinking about the things you just learned from your post-secondary education, but all of the things that just lingered in the back of your mind for a while.
It seems like once the dean slaps the diploma in your hand and your parents officially cut all financial ties from you, your mind starts in the head spin of thinking about the future.
Thinking about paying off college loans; thinking about the first job; thinking about getting married; thinking about saving some money; thinking about investing some money; thinking about buying a home; thinking about starting a family; thinking about your career path and thinking about all those complicated concerns that ride along with those thoughts.
It’s amazing how insecure you become after college.
Yet, before I graduated from college, I planned my future as much as possible. I attended all those stupid career fairs, I wrote and rewrote my resume throughout the years and I kept a close eye on the financial market to determine my prospects at getting a decent job.
But, despite all of that planning, I wish someone would have just told me how hard life can be after college.
Sure, you hear your parents moan, “Just wait until you have to pay the bills,” and the occasional “motivated speaker” will drill the old “Life is hard” line into your head, but no one actually puts it smack-dab in your face and says, “Life is not only hard, it really isn’t everything you want or expected it to be.”
Yeah, yeah, it sounds pretty canned there too, but it really doesn’t become the all-out honest truth until you learn it on your own accord.
After I graduated from college, I worked in a public relations firm in Atlanta for a few months. At the time, I was living in Athens and commuting everyday to Buckhead. Needless to say, I was sitting in my car for four hours each day. By the time I worked in my little cubicle for eight hours, hammered through Atlanta traffic and got something to eat in between all of that, I soon realized that was not the kind of life I wanted.
But, it took some hard thinking and a few emotional nights for me to come to that conclusion.
You see, no one ever warns the bright-eyed student that the road on the other side of the mountain can be treacherous, mysterious, cruel and unforgiving. No one says to you, “You know, you could fail.”
No, in school we’re told to demand the best from others for ourselves and to make that five-year plan and live by it.
I always hated that question in school.
“In five years, where do you see yourself?”
Gee, I don’t know, hopefully not answering the same question again.
Really, I don’t know what will happen in a few years. Sometimes I just stop thinking about the future and let it lead me to wherever I’m “supposed” to go.
The other day, someone said, “If you’re not going to be anyone in life, just be someone in high school.” My boyfriend James, who just graduated from UGA, had a similar comment about figuring out that life may not be as “glorious” as your former days. He’s also in the frustrating position of finding a first job in the diminishing computer field.
However, I still find myself looking for my future’s answers in “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Financial Planning in Your 20s and 30s.”
How much money should I save? When should I start a family? What kind of benefits should I ask from my employer? What kind of interest rate should I look for when buying a home?
Sometimes, the questions about my future just keep spinning through my head.
And I’m not the only 20-something considering all of life’s answers right now. Practically all of my recent-graduate friends are taking a second look at what really matters in life. Is it happiness? It is money? Is it spirituality? Is it social and/or political prestige? Is it job security? Is it family? Is it more education?
The point is, we’re starting to realize we’re finally adults. And while some of us are married, maybe we have a house and a few of us already have kids, we’re still just thinking about what’s ahead for us.
Kerri Graffius is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. Her email address is kerri@mainstreetnews.com.

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