Madison County Opinion...

OCTOBER 2, 2002


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
October 2, 2002

Frankly Speaking
Expect flag to have impact in governor’s race
The question is, “What effect will the flag fight have in the November elections?”
The answer appears to be, “More than the liberal media are willing to admit.”
A unit of the University of Georgia conducts a quarterly survey of public opinion. In their spring survey, they included questions about the new flag and the way it was changed. The results make it clear that a large majority of Georgians are not happy with the change.
The survey asked, “Do you like the new state flag for Georgia or do you dislike the new state flag.” Those disapproving were 44.6 percent, with 31 percent approving. Twenty one percent had no opinion.
When asked if they approve or disapprove of the way the flag was changed, 58.74 percent expressed disapproval. Only 31.24 percent approved of the method.
When asked if the flag will affect the way they vote, 38.31 percent agreed that it will, and 54 percent said it will not.
These figures were obtained before news of the governor’s payback to legislators who voted for the new flag became public. Recent news stories have revealed numerous cases where the flag change supporters are receiving special consideration for grants from the governor’s “emergency” fund.
Another event that may increase opposition to the governor because of the flag is the recent Confederate symbol ban at Cherokee High School. After the ban was announced, 150 students came to class wearing Confederate tee shirts. All were sent home. Numerous parents, students and Southern Heritage activists have protested the action with protests at the school and the Board of Education.
Will the flag cost King Roy the governorship? I think it is one factor that is keeping the governor’s poll figures below 50 percent. Another is the gerrymandering of election districts that splits up many counties and creates districts that are nearly impossible for representatives to properly serve. Another is the governor’s education program that has angered many teachers. And another is his support for a “northern arc” highway that would benefit many of his key financial supporters.
King Roy is having problems in this election. He has spent millions of dollars on TV advertising without moving his poll numbers to any extent. Everywhere he goes, he is greeted by flag wavers. Numerous editorial writers around the state, especially in South Georgia, are becoming more and more critical of his programs.
King Roy must depend heavily on the black vote in Atlanta to retain the governorship. Even there he has a problem. Supporters of the defeated McKinneys are threatening to leave the Democratic Party, or stay home in November.
Some writers say that King Roy is running scared. It looks to me like he has good reason.
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 Zach Mitcham
The Madison County Journal
October 2, 2002

From the Editor's Desk
There are photos we need to preserve
A photo never changes.
Well, actually, it does. It changes as we do.
A seventh grader’s yearbook shot is one thing during his seventh grade year. It is quite another during his 70th year.
The photos we have of ourselves and of our family members don’t begin as artifacts. Instead, photos of ourselves are often testaments to our self doubt about a bad haircut or a goofy smile.
It’s only years later that we can look at our pictures with third-person objectivity, recognizing that there was historical significance in what style we were wearing at the time or where the photo was taken.
Many people failed to recognize the importance of Civil War photos after the war. They were sickened by the reminders of death and disease. So they threw away thousands of pictures of the conflict. Ken Burns’ documentary about the Civil War notes that many plate glass negatives were even used in windows in garden houses, with the images of soldiers and citizens gradually fading away under the sun.
This is truly a loss to recognize.
We know that the first thought in a flood or fire — beyond the safety of loved one — is not about a TV or couch. It’s the family photos and keepsakes, all that can’t be replaced.
So we hang on to these things, put them in photo albums and shoe boxes. Many go a step further and research their family tree, trying to hook the sunken treasure and pull it through the murky water of the past.
And while there is much interest in these pursuits, it’s difficult to establish cohesion in the efforts. Because these are generally personal endeavors, not community projects.
Of course, there have been those over the years who have worked hard to preserve historical landmarks, records and mementos in Madison County.
But with each passing generation, the county’s connection to days long gone dwindles, unless efforts are made to document the past in an organized fashion.
That’s why the drive to archive pre-1950 Madison County photos (see story on Page 1) is so important. When pictures and records are tossed away or forgotten, the loss is not just the family’s, it’s the community’s.
If those keepsakes are cast away, no one will see how that old church used to look, how that family dressed up for an outing in their carriage, how the house they lived in looked compared to how it appears now.
Old photos and stories help new generations develop a love for their community. They see that there is still a connection, still a life to the people and places long gone.
If you have pre-1950 Madison County photos, you can call the Madison County Library at 795-5597 to arrange for those photos to be scanned. The pictures will be returned to you.
And you will have done a real service in helping broaden the scope of county history.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.

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