Banks County Opinions...

MARCH 26, 2003


Column

By: Angela Gary
The Banks County News
March 26, 2003

What are protesters accomplishing?
I was driving through Athens late Monday evening when I saw a small group of protesters to the Middle East conflict in front of the arches at the University of Georgia.
This bothered me. I am a firm believer in freedom of speech and believe they had every right to be out there. I just don’t see what they were accomplishing. I don’t think the president is going to call off the war because some people in Athens, Ga., are unhappy about it.
I’m sure he was well aware that there would be both support and opposition to the war effort.
While I don’t believe the protesters were accomplishing anything, I do believe they very likely hurt many people who passed by.
The wife of a solider or the mother of a solider very likely passed by and had tears in their eyes when they saw this protest. Yes, I know the protest was of the war and not the troops but for family members, I’m sure it’s not easy to separate the two.
All of the negative publicity about the war effort has to be hurting our troops. We are at war. These brave men and women are far from home fighting for us and they need to be hearing positive comments about what’s going on. To do otherwise is certainly a freedom we have, but it is inappropriate. I realize many people won’t agree about this.
The war is an emotional topic and has been debated across the country. I’m not interested in a debate. I support the troops and I support the president. I realize other people feel differently. I don’t have a need to convince them to have my point of view.
I just wish the protesters would handle their position differently. Send letters to the president, send letters to the congressmen. Just get off the streets and stop sending a negative message to those service men and women who are fighting for us.
Another thing that has been distressing to me is the “celebrities” who are speaking out against the president and the war. The are paid huge salaries to entertain us, not to spout off their political views.
Yes, I realize that they also have the freedom to speak their mind. We also have the freedom to decide to no longer support their careers with our hard-earned money.
Charlie Daniels, an outspoken country musician, summed it up best when he released a letter to those speaking out against the war effort.
“You people need to get out of Hollywood once in a while and get out into the real world,” he wrote. “You’d be surprised at the hostility you would find here. Stop in at a truck stop and tell an overworked, long distance truck driver that you don’t think Saddam Hussein is doing anything wrong. Tell a farmer with a couple of sons in the military that you think the United States has no right to defend itself. Go down to Baxley, Georgia, and hold an anti-war rally and see what the folks down there think about you. Please visit Clarksville, Tennessee. and the 101st Airborne...please visit those REAL Americans...America is in imminent danger. You are either for her or against her. There is no middle ground. I think we all know where you stand. I will stand with the soldiers, airmen and sailors. The hard working men and women of this great country.”
I never thought I’d be saying Amen to Charlie Daniels, but I am.
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate editor of The Jackson Herald. She can be reached at AngieEditor@aol.com.

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Column

By: Phillip Sartain
The Banks County News
March 26, 2003

A pest in my nest
The day just started out bad. I was extremely busy with work and things weren’t going my way. On top of everything else, there was a giant blowfly slowly circling the stratosphere of my office. In other words, there was a pest in my nest.
He was round and fuzzy, and so heavy that he could hardly sustain flight. On any other day, I would have just swatted him out of the sky with the flick of my wrist. But with no fly swatter, he was able to dive-bomb me every five minutes or so, and then fly away with impunity. That really bugged.
I buzzed my loyal secretary. “Would you come in here, please?”
In a matter of moments, she was in my office ducking and bobbing as the fly circled. “I’m very busy,” I told her. “Will you take care of this fly for me?”
“Ooohh, no. Shoo, nasty, get away,” she waved with her hands before scurrying out of my office.
“That’s not really a good show of loyalty,” I called after her. “I’ll remember that.”
I finally called the local hardware store and asked if they carried fly swatters. “What?” the salesman asked.
“You know, a long piece of wire with a plastic waffle on the end. Like your grandmother used to have.”
“Oh, yeah. We don’t sell those anymore. All we sell are live flytraps. They’re more sensitive to the feelings of the fly.”
“Since when do we have to be sensitive to flies?” I demanded.
“Ever since a bunch of nuts showed up at my place dressed like flies and chanting ‘Flies are our friends.’ It almost ruined my business.”
“Well, what am I supposed to do?” I asked while ducking another dive from the fly.
“Hey, it’s not my problem. But whatever you do, don’t tell anyone that you talked to me. Those fly protesters are a bunch of pests.”
I tried to be sensitive to my airborne friend, but it continued to bump into my forehead, so I grabbed the morning paper and wandered my office waiting for the right opportunity. All I got for my trouble was ink stains on my hand and a wrinkled paper I couldn’t read.
Then I called a pest control company. “Yes, this is Eliminex. Can I help you?”
“Yes, I have a fly problem.”
“Okay, we’ll use the S.W.A.T. team. How long have you had an infestation problem?”
“I don’t have an infestation problem,” I explained. “I only have one really big fly that’s terribly annoying.”
“Oh, then, you’ll have to kill it, we don’t handle small jobs. We only deal with mass extinction type problems.”
“I have tried to kill it. But I’m very busy and I’m just not up to the task.”
“Sorry, but we can’t help. Try the health department.”
So I called the health department. “Yes, this is the director, how may I serve you?”
“I have a problem.”
“Maybe you need an inoculation,” she offered.
“Maybe so, but right now, I’m trying to deal with this huge fly.”
“Hmm. Where is the fly now?”
“It’s in my office.”
“Oh, well then, I’m afraid that’s a private matter between you and the fly. If it goes public, call me back.”
“But what should I do in the meantime?”
“Try the Fly Hotline.”
Like a fool, I called. A lady answered, “Flies are our friends, how can we help you?”
I paused for a second, and then I responded, “Yes, there is a fly trapped in my office, and my secretary has been trying to kill it. I’m worried.”
“Well, we’re glad you called. We’ll send a rescue unit right away. Maybe the fly can be saved.”
“Good idea. I’ll leave the door open. And one more thing.”
“Yes?”
“Go easy on my secretary. She doesn’t understand flies the way you and I do.”
“We’ll send a counselor.”
Even before I could hang up the phone, I was feeling a whole lot more sensitive.
Phillip Sartain is an attorney in Gainesville.


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