The people's voice of reason

"Peoples' Paper" 19th Anniversary May God Grant the Alabama Gazette many more years!

Empty screen before me once again, hands at the keyboard [see Mark 9:43-47 below] contemplating what to address for this month’s column...

• The ray of hope for corrupt politicians upon reversal of Felon Hubbard’s 5th count of the twelve jury convictions?

• The adulation of McCain? Boycott gubernatorial race voting to reduce signature requirements in our ballot access restricted State?

• The Anita Hill DC flashback?

• Explain the deleterious history of Nazis to those who are too blind/ignorant to understand they are the current iteration of hegemonic national socialists?

‘Crash’ and the Gus bust LSU result? Or another ‘Ten Years After’ type piece on the 2008 ‘market’ crash…This dilemma is nothing new, never a shortage of topics to consider for the space I’ve been blessed with as an Alabama Gazette columnist, a blessing worthy of some reflection upon this 19th Anniversary issue. Sound accomplishment in a world of ‘disappearing print’ these past decades.

Ending the ‘teen years’ is strong evidence to suggest the Gazette has survived the formidable years and has undoubtedly been a righteous input in the ‘Heart of Dixie’ in general and on Goat Hill more specifically. I do not consider myself one of the ‘marquee’ writers; I think Ronald Holtsford is the best, Steve Flowers most read but I’m nonetheless delighted and honoured to be a writer for this wonderful paper for half of those years. I’ve addressed High School graduations, penned letters to Godchildren and nephews as they brought their teens to a close and often found Scripture worthy of the occasion. So I thought it apropos, poor wordsmith I’ve been throughout the years to submit the following text:

1 Corinthians 15:33 - Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 - Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

Matthew 24:4 - And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you.

Isaiah 52:7 - How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

Mark 9:43-47 - And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

Ezekiel 9:11 - And, behold, the man clothed with linen, which had the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, I have done as thou hast commanded me.

2 Thessalonians 2:11 - And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,

Ephesians 4:29 - Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Isaiah 21:2 - A grievous vision is declared unto me; the treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, and the spoiler spoileth. Go up, O Elam: besiege, O Media; all the sighing thereof have I made to cease.

Exodus 23:1 - Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.

John 12:38 - That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?

Acts 6:3 - Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

Romans 10:16 - But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

2 Corinthians 6:8 - By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;

1 Timothy 3:7 - Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Philemon 1:6 - That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.

John 8:44 - You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

Revelation 12:9 - So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Philippians 4:8 - Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things honest, whatsoever things just, whatsoever things pure, whatsoever things lovely, whatsoever things of good report; if any virtue, and if any praise, think on these things.

Little surprise I’ve included Philippians 4:8 as the closing Scriptural text - remembering Loretta Grant’s nomenclature of my column space, THINK. The Bible is filled with many passages on the importance of honest reporting, shunning deception and righteous communication. Charlton Heston’s powerful charge for Herod’s soldiers to “report it well!” as John the Baptist in “The Greatest Story Ever Told” [1965] left an indelible mark in my memory as a child knowing this honest reporting would not bode well for John. Still today, those who speak Truth to the corrupt and powerful often do not fare well in this world.

H.L. Mencken is most widely cited for advancing the role of the press to ‘comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable’ although expressed long before by journalist Finley Peter Dunne (1867-1936) asserting the accomplishments of newsprint in society, “Th’ newspaper does ivrything f’r us. It runs th’ polis foorce an’ th’ banks, commands th’ milishy, conthrols th’ ligislachure, baptizes th’ young, marries th’ foolish, comforts th’ afflicted, afflicts th’ comfortable, buries th’ dead an’ roasts thim aftherward.” Given the responses I’ve received, there’s no doubt the Gazette has in fact ‘comforted and afflicted’ these past decades. I’ve found those comforted by columns written on things no other media covered more satisfying than afflicting the comfortable and corrupt. I do find it revealing when the ‘Facebook community’ blocks a link to what I’ve written - it speaks loudly about what their ‘community standards’ are in fact. Playing a role in getting a corrupt county commission to follow the law in

bonding an engineer not following access management policies harming rural travelers and mostly black churches; addressing RSA fraud on auto allowances; helping investigation into our first ‘Gig City’ in Alabama to name a few have indeed been rewarding. I remain saddened by those who accept corruption and deception if the courts and the restricted ballot box allow with little regard for the ultimate Judge of our posterity into eternity. I rejoice at the rare Rep. Wren result who does come to contrition and sufficiently rebuked earning our forgiveness and welcome back as a prodigal son.

In closing, this may be my last Anniversary column as a Gazette writer and econ instructor as I bring teaching to a close after 30 years. I have no doubt what I’ve communicated and reported in the Gazette far exceeded all my

professional publications in educating the public and making a difference. I pray the Gazette sees fit to allow me to continue in their blessed endeavour. Many thanks to all the wonderful souls who’ve made the Gazette what it has matured into these past 19 years and especially all the readers. As the Greeks say, “Chronia Pola!” - i.e., may God grant the Alabama Gazette many more years filled with blessings!

Postscript: enjoyed comments sent on the “Write on Voter; Right ON!” column, esp. reminders of the Fayette County result where 2,556 voters re-elected Sheriff Rodney Ingle as a write-in a few years ago. Ingle cited his family and supporters’ aggressive door-to-door, social media and billboard campaign for the result. Ingle's name was not allowed on the ballot because he did not win as a Democrat in the primaries saying, "In a primary, you have to vote for the party and that's what happened there. A lot of my votes crossed over to the Republican side." Further reason to allow voters to participate in both duopoly party primaries wrongfully funded by taxpayers. Ingle defeated two Republican candidates and another write-in candidate. Secretary of State John Merrill found only three modern victories in Alabama where a candidate won an election as a ‘write-in.’ Lowell Barron's 1983 election to the State Senate is the most often cited write-in win; Arthur Crawford won the 2012 Hale County Probate Judge race as a write-in. The incumbent in Lee County Commission (District 5) race running as a write-in is looking a little more hopeful…


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