More Jackson County Opinions...

AUGUST 11, 2004


By: Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
August 11, 2004

Ready or not, here comes more stuff
I did not actively participate in the recent political campaign. Oh, I did write that July 14th column, “Fed up with religion and politics?” But I didn’t take sides. I blamed everybody.
The primary election is over, and we ought to let it go. But I can’t. Those “Comments heard on the campaign trail. . .” still bother me.
First, my compliments to the interviewer, listener, note taker — whatever — who took down the statements, quoted them verbatim, and committed them to paper. I suspect that a very good editor was involved. Or perhaps the quotes were fed in Bill Gates’ Microsoft Word, where they were spell checked and corrected before publication in The Herald.
Either that, or we’ve got some really smart people in Jackson County. My hat’s off to the Hoschton resident, the South Jackson farmer, the Maysville business owner, the Braselton housewife, the Dry Pond resident and farmer, and the 15 other citizens who volunteered to comment.
I have read your comments several times, and have yet to find the first mistake. Your English teacher has to be proud.
I wish I could write a column like that. I depend on the word processor, expect Mike to edit my stuff, and trust a great proofreader — and I (we) still don’t get it right 100 percent of the time.
Anyway, “Comments heard on the campaign trail. . .” is another example of “They said.” Who th’ heck are they? I wish they would stand up and identify themselves. Tell us what they think about politics now. And if they talk funny, like most of us do, and say “ain’t” and “aw rite” and “aw shucks” and “aw (worse),” and “dumb (censored), that will be hunky-dory, too.
And believable.
And Thomas Jefferson said:
“The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” — Letter to Colonel Edward Carrington (January 16, 1787).
“I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” — Letter to James Madison (January 30, 1787).
“What country before ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? . . . . The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” — Letter to William Stevens Smith (November 13, 1787).
And check out Henry Ward Beecher’s line atop the The Herald’s Opinions page: “Private opinion is weak, but public opinion is almost omnipotent.”
* * *
The thing I like about political campaigns is that I hear from a lot of people I’ve never heard from before, and will never hear from again.
On July 16-21, Shirley and I were in Alexandria, Va., and Washington, D.C., visiting the newlyweds, Mary Beth and Brice. When we got back home, Shirley said she better go check the answering machine. She was gone a long time.
When she returned to the den, I asked, “Any messages?”
“Just a bunch of politicians wanting us to vote for them.”
* * *
That prompted me to search the shoebox for the note I made prior to that world-shaking vote on the Georgia flag a year or so ago. I jotted down five names.
Roy Barnes called. Tommy Irwin and Andy Young called. John Lewis and Tyrone Brooks called.
I’m some important guy, right? Respected for my opinion, influence and power.
These big wheels started talking almost before I said “hello.”
“Is this a recording?” I asked. They just kept on talking and talking and talking. They were still talking when I hung up.
I’m betting these guys hate telemarketing. But when it comes to politics and self-serving agendas, politicians will use anything — even things they hate.
May I make one small correction? I really don’t like hearing from politicians, especially when it’s a recording. I hate it!
* * *
On our trip to Alexandria, Shirley, Mary Beth, Brice and I had dinner (twice) at the Chart House on the bank of the Potomac. If you ever go there, be sure to dine there.
Jennifer was our server.
Jennifer is a special ed teacher at a Virginia middle school.
“I make more money waiting tables at the Chart House than I do teaching school,” she said.
That says a lot about America, doesn’t it?
* * *
Well, it was good to be back home in Georgia. And a little embarrassing.
We did not need a state line sign or a welcome center to tell us we had arrived. The billboards and trash did a perfectly wonderful (terrible, awful) job.
There’s even more visual pollution and junk here than in South Carolina, and a whole lot more than in North Carolina, Viriginia and the District of Columbia.
That says a lot about Georgia, doesn’t it?
Virgil Adams is a former owner/editor of The Jackson Herald.

Jackson County Opinion Index


By: Susan Harper
The Commerce News
August 11, 2004

Commerce – Then And Now
We’re seeing quite a few newcomers in the library these days – many wonderful additions to the community – and some of them are actually not newcomers: they’re Commerce natives coming home to retire. Meeting or greeting them, I recall a conversation with a friend who said, with genuine puzzlement, “Why do all these folks come back?”
“How can you ask?” I said. “Look at you; you like it so much you never left!”
Many of the new-to-me faces, however, belong to real newcomers, and when I meet them I sometimes wonder (and occasionally ask) what Commerce looks like through their eyes.
They tell me that it’s “still green” here: still rural enough to be pleasant and beautiful. Parents mention the school system right away – they checked it out in advance, most say – and many checked out the library, too. I also hear about the “charming downtown area,” the recreation department, and the fact that we have our own hospital.
I assume that people see these good things, not only as good in themselves, but as signs of good city government and management. I know I do. But sometimes I also get a sort of double vision, with the present overlaying the past in a transparent way. Walking across the railroad tracks one day, for example, I seemed to see flecks of coal glinting between the ties, as they did when I was a summer visitor here, back in the “olden days” when the trains had coal cars.
There was an ice plant here back then, and a chicken-packing plant (both in the general vicinity of what is now ABC Pawn Shop), and the train did a lot of switching right there, to my brother’s intense delight, as this was almost directly across from our grandmother’s house. The sequence of events in Gran’s house went like this: we heard the train whistle, my brother shouted, “It’s the TRAIN!” at the top of his lungs, and then we all winced, because we knew that the next sound would be the screen door going blam! as he raced outside. That whole memory came back to me just from walking across the railroad tracks one afternoon.
Driving my mother to church Sunday morning, I had another such memory: I saw Mr. Bob Sanders (Cud’n Bob, he was to us) just as clearly as if he were still at his post. In my childhood, Cud’n Bob stood outside the Methodist church every Sunday morning and distributed sticks of chewing gum to all the children. This was a big thing, a free treat, plus we got to make our own choice. I started pondering my selection when I woke up. Grape? Clove? I felt free to choose something exotic, since I wasn’t paying for it. Such largess!
Memories like these color all my perceptions of Commerce, and I think what they suggest is that this has always been a jewel of a town: a unique and slightly magical place. My sister thought it was paradise, and I think she may have been right. Come to think of it, she usually is.
Susan Harper is director of the Commerce Public Library.
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