Madison County Opinion...

APRIL 30, 2003


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
April 30, 2003

Frankly Speaking
‘Real Georgia Flag’ will not go away
Don’t believe what the Atlanta media are saying about the flag. They are convinced that the battle is over. The Southern Cross is finally dead as far as the state flag is concerned, they say. The legislature has decided that we will decide between the Barnes Rag and the newly invented Franklin Flag. The battle flag will not appear and is not a choice in the flag referendum.
A referendum that excludes the most popular choice in the state is no referendum. It is a fraud. It is another attempt to silence defenders of Southern Heritage. It declares that traditional Southerners have no right to express our opinion about anything. We should simply sit down, shut up and let our superiors make all our decisions for us.
Well, that flag will not fly! The effort of the liberal elitist to wipe out the culture of personal freedom has lasted for at least one thousand years.
And yet, we freedom lovers persist. We will not sit down and shut up. We will not recognize the authority of the Northern liberals to regulate our lives. We will not give up our symbols. We will defend our noble Southern culture against all attacks.
Now, let me fill you in on the latest flag news. First, all five state legislators who represent Madison County opposed the amendment that removed the battle flag from consideration. When you see them, please let them know you appreciate their efforts. They are: Senator Ralph Hudgens (R) of Comer, Sen. Casey Cagle (R) of Gainesville, Rep. Bob Smith (R) of Watkinsville, Rep Alan Powell, (D) of Hartwell and Rep. Tom McCall (D) of Elberton.
Next, you might like to know that the heritage groups are already responding to this insult. The “flaggers” have already been out and about making sure those politicians responsible for this travesty are aware of their displeasure. Efforts are already underway to determine if we will be able to write-in the ’56 flag when the so called referendum is held next March.
A list of politicians who will be targeted for defeat in the ’04 elections is being assembled. The flag fight in the Southeast has already led to the defeat of several governors and legislative leaders. (Ask Barnes what caused his defeat.) The current legislators are being reminded that they will have an opportunity to correct this mistake in the ’04 legislative session prior to the March primary.
Finally, look around you. The “Real Georgia Flag” is flying in yards, or car tags, lapel pins belt buckles and elsewhere. Those responsible for this travesty will be reminded at every turn that they have not solved the flag problem. They have only made it worse!
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
April 30, 2003

From the Editor's Desk
The struggle between feeling and logic
My father told me when I was a kid that while I may feel something, I don’t really understand what I feel unless I can put it into words.
I see now that he was issuing a challenge to me to not let my emotions rule me, to articulate, at least to myself, why I feel anger, joy or sadness, to avoid saying “I just feel that way” without being able to explain why.
I think of a baby and a wise, old grandmother. Both feel hunger. Both can express it. But the grandmother can understand it, can tell you about hunger in her life and what she has witnessed. She has developed a comprehension apart from the feeling.
I’ve certainly been guilty many times in my life of letting my feelings overrule my better judgment, a flaw I will probably always carry. A differing opinion can trigger an emotional reaction in me. I have often heard a person say something that angers me, then assumed that since the person believes A, he must also be B and C. Thus, I cannot like him or respect him. In my feeling of disgust, I put the person in a category that suits my ill will and I dismiss whatever else he has to say.
In my better moments, I see this as flawed reasoning, acknowledging my own ignorance towards that person. I recognize that his years of living are hidden to me, but they do exist. And they have shaped him in ways I can never know. Thus, I can argue vehemently that I am right. But I must profess to wearing a dunce hat when it comes to knowing the years of experience that have shaped the opposing view. Even if I feel I have the better argument, I must also see that I carry a certain weight of ignorance. If I choose not to acknowledge this, I have no humility to offer.
I do not argue against passionate convictions. I have them. But I think it’s human nature to feel a giddiness in professing ourselves right and to turn a blind eye to the vacuums of logic we also hold.
I think this is evident in much of the discourse in our society at all levels, in politics, business and personal interaction.
Too often, an individual becomes a non-factor once his collective identity is stamped on his forehead. And the listener no longer listens, but fumes, ignoring his own void of knowledge regarding an individual and dressing that person in the uniform of a collective enemy.
Too often, individuals settle for the collective stamp on the head, not thinking things through for themselves.
This is true of people, both liberal and conservative-minded. I think this is true of us all at times. We feel comfort in allying ourselves with the right and dressing down the wrong.
In our feeling of elation that accompanies being right, we fail to see that our rightness is always tempered with something else — the heavy weight of our own ignorance regarding what happens inside others.
I think we’re better off if we realize that we drag that ignorance with us everywhere we go.
I feel better about myself if I remember my father’s advice, to not just “feel that way” about those I do not know, to recognize the difference between the baby and the wise old grandmother and to strive to be like the latter.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.

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