The Commerce News
June 30, 1999
Abuse Of Freedoms May
Lead To Restrictions
It is customary on and around the celebration of Independence
Day to wax nostalgic about the sacrifices of the men and women
who helped America gain and retain its independence and about
the freedom we enjoy because of their efforts. But having existed
with unparalleled freedom for 220-plus years, perhaps America
should reconsider just what that freedom means.
So accustomed are Americans to freedoms that not only are they
taken for granted, but they are also taken to extremes. The freedoms
of speech and press and the (somewhat debated) right to bear
arms are being taken to such extremes that it is likely the day
will come when the public will demand that those rights be curtailed.
Freedoms abused will be freedoms diminished. The plethora of
sexually explicit web sites on the Internet, nude dancing and
worse under the guise of freedom of expression, the sale of automatic
weapons and even grenades and rocket launchers, and periodicals
and web sites promoting hatred all fall under constitutional
protection at present. It is inevitable that if they continue
to multiply, people will demand that the government act. And
the only way the abuses of our freedoms can be stopped is by
amending the Constitution.
That poses the gravest danger to our freedoms.
If the founding fathers had been able to envision the extreme
liberties taken with our constitutional freedoms, they would
have made the Constitution less vague and severely limited some
of those rights. When the time comes and public sentiment results
in amendments to the Constitution or, worse yet, a constitutional
convention, rights now protected will be lost.
Perhaps that is just evolution in a democratic society, but on
Independence Day we should consider that the rights we so cherish
could one day be taken away in reaction to those who abuse them.
Just as defending our country against foreign enemies requires
constant vigilance, so we must be eternally protective of our
constitutional rights so when our great-great-grandchildren celebrate
Independence Day in 100 years they will have just as much to
The Commerce News
June 30, 1999
- Concert Was
Great; But It
Can Be Better
The third Bill Anderson concert was the best yet, both from the
size of the crowd to the quality of the artists. Understand now,
that country music isn't my thing, but I've become a big Bill
Anderson fan because of what he's doing for this community.
Here's a guy who has made it big and he donates a night a year
to helping Commerce build a much-needed performing arts center,
bringing major talent with him.
Steve Wariner is a top-drawer country music act. Anyone who begrudged
the $5 to hear him is an idiot. That he would spend a night in
Commerce when he could have played on any stage in North America
shows the kind of clout Anderson has in Nashville and says
good things about Wariner.
But there are some things that can be done, must be done, for
the sake of this event. Here are some suggestions:
·The football stands were far too dark. With so many elderly
people walking up and down the steps, it is a miracle no one
fell and got hurt. Not only do we need to prevent the injury,
but neither the school system nor the Commerce Business Association
wants to see a lawsuit. Lighting is an absolute necessity.
·Make the event shorter. The number of acts Anderson brings
will be the defining factor, but with four Nashville acts and
two local sets, something should be curtailed so the concert
time will be reasonable. Six and a half hours, with no air conditioning
and limited restroom facilities, is too long.
·Eliminate the fireworks. There is no longer a connection
with an Independence Day celebration and fireworks at 12:30 in
the morning disturb the rest of Commerce. Move the fireworks
to July 4.
·Start on time. This would also help shorten the event.
In three years, the concert has not started within 40 minutes
of the time it was scheduled to begin. A lot of the people who
arrived at 6:00 expecting music to start at 6:30 got up and left
before or during Steve Wariner's set. Maybe they came just to
see Anderson, but maybe it was just getting too late.
·Given the number of handicapped people, most of them
elderly, more handicapped parking must be provided. I helped
park cars, and had to tell several elderly people who asked about
handicapped parking that it was full. They had to walk in from
beyond the tennis courts.
·The stadium needs better rest-room facilities - at least
for women. The line to the bathroom was 50 people long at times.
·If there is any hope for the concert growing, we're going
to have to find more parking. If the fireworks are eliminated,
more parking will be available by the elementary school, and
when the renovation of CHS is finished, there will be more room
in the back parking lot. Still, there is not sufficient parking
for a crowd of 10,000.
These problems are solvable. Anderson is providing the talent.
WJJC and the Commerce Business Association are providing the
labor to pull it off, and the concert is growing. You don't have
to be a country music fan to appreciate what Bill Anderson is
doing for Commerce or to have a good time at the City Lights