Opinions are whatever you read into them

In the truest of classic form, my year is ending as I duck that two-sided sword. Everyone knows that when you express your opinion, someone, somewhere will disagree. Often times, however, out-of-the-blue, comes disagreements with opinions you never had in the first place.

My case in point is the phone call our managing editor, David Johnson received from a reader who was highly offended that I and, according to the caller, others at the Gazette, had repeatedly misspelled the name of our president-elect. The caller went on to say it was obvious that we were inclined toward the Republican persuasion and that if we didn’t stop disrespecting the president-elect, he was going to do something about it.

Whew! What a call. In all fairness, the caller is right, to repeatedly misspell the president-elects name is disrespectful, if intentionally done, but, in my case, Sir, it was complete-comatose ignorance. I actually had it in my mind that I had seen two r’s in Barack somewhere and that’s how I went on to spell it. I suppose I should perform some act of repentance, but then I wouldn’t want add my over-reaction to this problem.

For the record, despite our caller’s accusation, this newspaper did not support John McCain for any office, at any time, for any reason, not did it support Barack Obama for any office, at any time, for any reason. No one who writes anything here, would ever intentionally disrespect Barack Obama until he proves he is deserving of such disrespect.

While we recovering from that barrage of Barack misspelling atrocities, I am approached by one of our county’s well-known Republican practitioners who says, “Did you get all of that Republican hate out of your system?” I answered quickly, “Probably not, but why do you ask?”

I knew it must have been one of my columns where I expressed my opinion about the national economy and the bailouts, and. because most all dedicated Republicans are circling their wagons around George W. Bush and trying to push blame for all our economic woes on every president since Herbert Hoover. We chatted about that for a few minutes and he admonished that I was also offending 95 per cent of the people in Union County. I’m assuming he meant they’re all Republicans, although the latest numbers might indicate a few more Democrats in the county than five percent.

Anyway, right here at the end of 2008, with high hopes for 2009, it is proven, once more, that if someone is ardent enough over an issue, he or she will read any opinion offered in such a way as to take offense regardless of what the opinion says.  Actually, it is that same kind of blind partisan politics that got us where we are today.

It is my opinion that anyone’s political leanings should be toward those in office who are honest and truthful, no matter what labels they carry. If you have any knowledge of local, state and/or national politics then you already know we have relatively few to support.

With all that said, it is my hope that 2009 will bring us a surprisingly good and effective national government, capable of addressing and solving many of our economic problems while reinstating our position in the world of nations. We must forget partisan politics, racial prejudice and support this man for our own survival’s sake.

Without a doubt, our state needs leadership that we can trust to work in our best interests. We need leadership that can keep us economically sound without giving away the family farm, over and over again. We need leadership that will look us in the eye and not lie to us.

It appears that leadership is going to have to come from the legislature, since the executive branch of our state government has already demonstrated that it is not interested in the health and welfare of the people of Mississippi, only in purchasing economic development with our money.

Locally, 2009 brings to New Albany an opportunity to join the progressive communities of this state with qualified, concerned, truthful, honest leadership. There are many people in our community who would resemble that description of a leader were they to assume the necessary responsibility needed to serve their community in this time of opportunity. New Albany cannot continue down the path it is now following.  We have the chance to bring our city back to the place it was when someone dubbed it “The Friendly City.”

“The Friendly City,” a city friendly to those who visit for business or pleasure, but friendly, more so, to it’s own citizens. City officials who eagerly seek opinions and advice from the people who live and work in the city. City officials and employees who are courteous and polite to even the least of the city’s residents.

We have the opportunity to restore all that has made and will make New Albany a great city, and to renovate a city government into a body of officials and city employees truly representative of the community. If those who already know they are qualified and capable will step forward and run for the offices available and those of our community who truly care about the future, will get out and vote, we can, in 2009, see a rebirth of this community.

The Toyota delay can be a blessing for New Albany and Union County, as it will give us another chance to get our city and county advantagously positioned for the growth that will come. All we have to have are the right elected officials and public policies in place to take advantage of the opportunities for all our citizens, not just a few.

We have lots to do and no time to waste. There are those who are dedicated to keeping things at status quo. They will not go away quietly, but will continue to do as they please as long as the people of New Albany will allow them to do so.

The time has come, if we are ever to rid ourselves of those who would only represent themselves and a select few.

The time is now.

About Chris Elkins

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