By: Shar Porier
The Banks County News
October 20, 2004
What a documentary!
After seeing it, I can understand how it came away with the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
Its one of the most moving films Ive seen.
When the movie hit the part about the 2000 election, it brought back a lot of uncomfortable feelings.
Back then, I referred to the morass as the 2000 de-election. It was a depressing situation.
I sat there in silence as the right to vote for almost 200,000 Floridians was revoked. Many were not even permitted to vote in the November 7 election after registering. Just why they were refused the right of every American has always been, and remains, a question with no good answer.
Then there were those ballots that the staff of the secretary of state decided to just toss, on questionable grounds.
It was disgraceful.
But, there was more to it than a blatant take-over power-hungry pack of mongrels. Sure, the foul-up just happened to take place in Florida, governed by Bushs brother. It just happened that the Florida Secretary of State was Bushs campaign manager. It just happened the votes that were disqualified were those of minorities. It just happened that the election was taken away from the American voters and placed in the hands of nine Supreme Court Justices.
I actually had a bit of hope when that happened. They were the protectors of our rights, our constitution.
When their ruling came, I felt a deep, deep loss; a hopelessness. To this day, I feel the same sadness, the same grief. That was bad enough to deal with.
But, wait, now theres even more! The scene shifted to Congress in the movie.
Congress had convened to ratify the election.
15 brave members of the House of Representatives, all African Ameri-cans, stood up and objected. They saw what had happened and they were not going to go quietly. They sought an appeal of the supreme courts decision. They were disturbed at the disregard shown to minority voters, the disenfranchised. (I think the word victimized is more appropriate.)
However, there was a procedure that had to be followed and Al Gore made that rule very clear. He interrupted each of the representatives and asked if the appeal being read had the signature of a senator. Without that, the representatives could not seek an appeal or move for a denial of ratrification of the election.
None of the appeals had the required senators signature. Not a single signature.
One woman stood bravely, speaking forcefully over the chiding of Gore and said it was a sad day when Congress would allow the Supreme Court to chose a president and not the people.
What? Wait a minute. I had to stop the tape. No senators signed? Not one?
They held the power to counter the justices? And they did nothing?
Something wasnt right here.
Why wouldnt the Democratic or even the independent senators sign the appeal?
This made no sense to me.
How could they do this to us? One senator stood between an honest election and a take-over?
On that day, Americans lost their rights and their freedom. The men and women we sent to Washington to represent us failed miserably when we needed their help the most. We pay them, honor them, support them and they jump ship? The cowards.
The whole world was watching. Everyone knew this was going down dirty. We all were waiting for someone to take a stand for us and battle this hostile take-over. We all needed it to end honorably, cried for it to end honorably.
This was a time to cast aside political parties and affiliations. This was Americas honor at stake!
It was bad enough to have been shamed by this overt regime called Bush/Cheney, but Congress, too?
There was no one to trust. The whole lot of them sold us out.
The right of government by the people, for the people was ripped from the constitution that day.
Well, all right, I get the picture. Its up to us. It is up to us voters!
This year, we could end up facing the same predicament. Its another close race. Every vote will count.
Or will it? Will every ballot cast be counted correctly?
That responsibility begins with us. We have to acknowledge our part in the process and accept that duty as a priority.
We have to do our part take our time, slow down, pay attention, ask questions. The poll workers are there to help.
The Banks County News, along with other newspapers across the country, will print a sample ballot in the October 27 issue. Cut it out, look it over.
When we go to vote, we have to know what were doing. We cannot be complacent and trust that everything will turn out fine. There is no Election Fairy.
Its the only thing we can do to prevent a repeat of the 2000 de-election.
Shar Porier is a reporter for The Banks County News.
By: Angela Gary
The Banks County News
October 20, 2004
Plenty of talented actors in county
I love theater and am always delighted to see Banks Countians on the stage when I go to local productions in nearby Commerce. Banks Countians are involved in both the Cold Sassy Players and the Renegade Players.
The most recent Cold Sassy Players production, The Man Who Came to Dinner, was just a few weeks ago. As usually, I spotted several familiar Banks County faces on the stage, and read about others that Im not familiar with in the program.
Grant Reed, who is active in the Banks County Chamber of Commerce, was the first local face I recognized. I have read about him for quite a while in our chamber stories, and met him in person at the recent Heritage Days festival.
Grant had two roles in the production, a nutty professor and a deputy. He did a great job in the dual role.
I also know Evan Bell through the chamber and was delighted to see his performance as Dr. Bradley, the doctor who had aspirations to be a novelist. His first play was a production of The Man Who Came to Dinner when he was a student at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts.
Kay Bryant is a substitute teacher in the Banks County School System. She portrayed the nervous Harriott Stanley and brought laughter from the audience in her performance.
Thomas Roper, who portrayed Mr. Baker and a deputy, is a senior at Banks County High School and this was his first time on-stage. He also did a fine job and will likely be seen in other Cold Sassy productions.
The Cold Sassy Players always do a great job, and The Man Who Came to Dinner was no exception. In addition to the Banks County cast members, there were many others from Jackson and Madison counties who brought their characters to life and brought plenty of laughs from the audience.
I saw several Jackson County folks I know, including Susan Stephenson, a long-time family friend; Roy Grubbs, a candidate for chairman of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners; Mark Day, a Jefferson artist; Rod Hooper, manager of City Tire and Auto Service in Commerce; and Barbara Moore, wife of Jackson County state solicitor Don Moore. Its always fun to see people you know in another role. In another Cold Sassy production, my dentist, Dr. Joseph Clark, was the tin man. That was a fun show too.
Other cast members in The Man Who Came to Dinner included: Andrea Bloodworth, Elaine Barfield, Rick Bennett, Jeff Caughey, Cathy Crocco, Jason Dyar, Dannette Flint, Claire Gaus, Jordan Halley, Jared Hettrick, Jessica Martin and Thomas Roper.
I really enjoyed the show and look forward to the next Cold Sassy Players production. Its great to have the opportunity to go to theater in our area.
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate editor of The Jackson Herald. She can be reached at AngieEditor@aol.com.