More Jackson County Opinions...

OCTOBER 9, 2002


Column
By:Angela Gary
The Jackson Herald
October 9, 2002

Things I can’t write about in news stories
In my 17 years in the newspaper business, I’ve covered hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of meetings. In writing the news articles on these meetings, I strive to write a fair, balanced story. I’m sure I don’t always succeed, but I certainly give it my best try. Anyone who knows me personally will attest to my being honest and straight-forward.
The place for opinions in a newspaper is on this page, the editorial page. I’ve heard lots of comments over the years that I have strong feelings on, but I can’t stick my thoughts into my news coverage. I thought I would use this opportunity to share a few of MY opinions with you.
It seems that large lots and large homes are the only thing acceptable to some people. I just wish these good folks would realize that there are plenty of good, hard-working, clean, Christian people who shouldn’t be labeled low class just because they live in or even rent a small home or mobile home on a small lot. I know plenty of people living in mansions who don’t have one bit of class.
Some people apparently define low class as how much money you have in the bank. To me, it’s something very different. It’s someone who doesn’t work when they are physically and mentally able to. It’s someone involved in illegal or immoral activity. It is someone who is not clean or who doesn’t have a neat appearance. None of these issues have anything to do with how much money a person has.
Another thing I’ve heard more times than I can count is that “everything you read in the newspaper isn’t correct.” Every time this is uttered at a meeting, I can be assured that most everyone will look at me to see if I gasp or shudder or even cry. Well, I don’t do any of the above. I actually agree with the comment.
Newspapers are put together by people and people aren’t perfect. Sure, we make mistakes. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t. Unfortunately, thousands of people read our mistakes. I will say without a doubt that we make very few mistakes and when we do, and are notified about it, you will see a correction in the next week’s issue.
Our record is pretty good. We don’t make a lot of mistakes and when we do, we own up to them which is more than some folks can say.
I did hear one comment at a recent meeting that I agree with and I wish more people agreed with. Elton Collins said: “Reasonable people can agree to disagree.” This made me smile. I can’t tell you how many times we get fussed or cussed out about our editorials or columns. What people don’t seem to realize is that these are our opinions. I don’t tell someone their opinion is “bad, very bad” if I don’t agree with it. I respect them, just as I expect them to respect me. I was told just last week how bad one of our editorials was. Again, while the gentleman didn’t agree with the sentiments expressed in the editorial, he didn’t have to label our opinion piece as “very bad.” I respect his opinion, which just so happens to differ from mine. Why couldn’t he do the same?
I also have a thought about petitions—they are not worth the paper they are written on. Who knows what information the person who signed it was given by the person who brought it by their home. The person with the petition could have, and likely often does, only give one side of the issue. If someone sits through a meeting and hears both sides of an issue and then decides which side they agree with, that’s a different story all together.
Angela Gary is associate editor of The Jackson Herald and editor of The Banks County News. She can be reached at AngieEditor@aol.com.

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Column
By: Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
October 9, 2002

Just trying to understand anything
Thanks to all of you who tried to help me understand church (lower case). I may or may not have made any progress.
Now, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist, or a prophet, to know that that means I am still in the dark.
Churches (lower case, please) and church people do a lot of weird things. Yes, I am a church people (people?). So yes, I am one of the weirdoes. As if you didn’t know.
But you know what? There is one area of our good ol’ American culture that is just as inexplicable as religion. That would be politics.
I need your help again. I need you to help me understand Democrats and Republicans, a.k.a. liberals and conservatives. If you were a moderate, like me, caught in the middle between these two extremes, like I am, you would understand my dilemma.
But why am I complaining? They don’t even understand themselves. The liberals are conservative and the conservatives are liberal. I can prove that. I may be a moron when it comes to politics, but I ain’t no idiot. Bear with me.
First, I want you to back off from the TV and quit watching those nasty political ads. They contribute absolutely nothing to anybody’s understanding of anything.
Now, I want you to go to the bookshelf and dust off the second greatest book ever published. In case you threw it out with your other books when the all-knowing computer arrived, let me help you with a few definitions.
Liberal: “generous, plentiful, abundant, tolerant, not narrow in one’s views and ideas, broadminded; not strict or rigorous; favoring progress and reforms; giving the general thought, not a word-for-word rendering; broad and sympathetic as opposed to literal and pedantic; free in speech and action.”
Sort of makes you want to be a liberal, doesn’t it? Read on.
“Free from restraint; not restricted by law or morality; disregarding commonly accepted rules or principles; not restrained in sex activities; lewd, lustful, sensual, wanton.” (Ever know a politician like that?)
Sort of makes you want to be a conservative, doesn’t it?
But let’s be fair here. Sins of the flesh afflict Democrats and Republicans alike. The only difference is liberals buy their beer in Jefferson and their liquor in Arcade and Pendergrass; conservatives drive to Athens and Gainesville to buy theirs.
Here’s what the second greatest book says about conservatives:
“Of or belonging to a political party pledged to preserve established traditions and to oppose radical changes in national institutions; inclined to keep things as they are; opposed to change; cautious; free from novelties or fads.”
Here’s the somewhat exaggerated bottom line: Liberals want to change everything; conservatives don’t want to change anything.
If you will allow me one more slight exaggeration, we are talking about uncertainty and chaos vs. status quo and stagnation. We are talking about the two Cs: change or conserve.
I don’t understand why it has to be either/or. Can’t we have both? But then we’d have to follow the late Lyndon Baines Johnson’s advice: “Come, let us reason together.” Reasoning together may be a thing of the past.
Let’s face it: the liberals are so wishy-washy (remember Zig-Zag?), you don’t know where they stand. They are like the weather: very changeable and unpredictable. You’d like them to be a little more stable.
You’d like the conservatives to be a little less rigid. You’d like ’em to loosen up a bit, welcome a little change. But they are guardians, custodians, keepers. Preservers, if you will. Their inclination is to keep things as they are.
You’d expect the conservative to be out there hugging a tree, protecting it from the guy with the chain saw.
But no, our conservative friends are out there cutting roads through our national forests and opening them up to loggers. They are changing the landscape and the environment.
That’s what the liberals are supposed to be doing — changing things. But no, here they are protesting, lying down in front of bulldozers, doing all sorts of weird things to prevent change.
What is going on here?
It’s not just about trees. It’s also about energy. Conservatives would like to change wildernesses into oil fields. Liberals want no part of that. They want the wildernesses conserved, preserved, left alone. They sound just like conservatives.
Closer to home, there’s a new subdivision under construction on a farm near you. The builder, a.k.a. developer, may or may not be a Republican conservative. I’m betting he is. Any takers?
Whatever, he is changing that farm that has been in the Farmer family for 200 years.
Meanwhile, the liberals, who are supposed to be all about change, have become historical preservationists and are standing in the way of change.
The conservatives argue that they are standing in the way of progress.
Come, let us reason together? What a stupid thought!
Please, can anyone help me understand politics or religion or economics or whatever it is I don’t understand? Being a moderate caught in the middle between liberals and conservatives is tough. It would help if liberals acted like liberals and conservatives acted like conservatives. We moderates wear a few masks, too. Would that all of us knew what we are, what we believe, and what we are about.
Three questions: What exactly are the moderates trying to moderate? What exactly are the liberals trying to liberate? What exactly are the conservatives trying to conserve?
I have an idea. But that’s another story. Stay tuned.
Virgil Adams is a former owner and editor of The Jackson Herald.


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