Wednesday, July 11, 2001
to the real issues
I would like to personally thank Mr. Aleshire for his critical evaluation of my criticisms regarding certain critical aspects of our local government (The Citizen, June 27). His cynical commentary on pessimism is reminiscent of the man that once stated that there is absolutely no such thing as absolutes.
Mr. Aleshire also pointed out how selfish it was for me to make an appeal on behalf of my neighbor, Gary Hinkle, who recently lost his wife and children in an auto accident. Somehow running for mayor on a platform that is critical of the decisions and the actions made by the current administration convert an appeal for your neighbor into a selfish act. Using this type of reasoning, I am now officially incapable of doing a good and decent act without it being an act of selfishness. I am "negative" if I oppose certain political actions and I am "selfish" if I try to do something good. I hope Mr. Aleshire sends a check to help my neighbor, and since he is not running for mayor, it will most likely be viewed as a virtuous deed.
Mr. Aleshire wrote that I should consider moving to Atlanta. Well, I did live there previously. As an Atlanta native, I have witnessed the demise of the northern half of the metro area. My family located in Peachtree City for the quality of life, and we are set on fighting to make sure we retain what makes our city strong. If we do not address these issues, we will have Atlanta moving to us.
I was astonished to read Mr. Aleshire telling me, "I didn't see any flags flying from your car or your home on this past Memorial Day." Did he actually drive all the way from his house on Morgan Turn to my house on Terrane Ridge to see if I was flying a flag on Memorial Day? Perhaps he was cruising the entire city and logging all the households not flying flags.
Besides, Mr. Aleshire was incorrect. I have prominently displayed a flag on my cars for the past 12 years with exception of the time that I was in college and owned an old green and white Southern Bell van that I bought for $1,000. Mounting a flag sticker on that dilapidated vehicle would have been a form of desecration to the flag.
Since I will be the target of further attempts to vilify me as a person so as to deflect having to address the real issues that concern us the most, I will confess now that I also have the Jamaican flag on the back of my car. My wife is from Jamaica and she is very proud of her heritage. Her family fled Jamaica in the 1970s when it was on the verge of going communist, as Cuba had done earlier. Ann Marie takes great pride in being an American citizen (20 years now) although she occasionally forgets the words to the national anthem.
My wife is not very knowledgeable about American history as they studied British history in Jamaica. They learned of the American Revolution from another angle. Instead of being heroes, the revolutionaries were viewed as negative and selfish. In the fight for their quality of life (and rights), Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and so many others wrote letters that were printed in local newspapers that exhorted the colonists to confront a government that was perceived as unethical, unrepresentative, fiscally irresponsible and a lot of other things.
I am certain that the British were telling the negative colonists that if they didn't like it that they should move to the Dutch West Indies. In fact, it is highly possible that our Independence Day, July 4th, is regarded in Great Britain as the day that the Americans failed to maintain a positive outlook regarding their government.
A short time later, guys like Madison, Hamilton and Jaye began writing letters to the editors of local newspapers initiating a debate on how our government should function. They encountered some critics that stated that the Articles of Confederation were just fine and that expecting an enhanced unified form of government that would better serve the people and create checks and balances was an absurd notion. Well, the negative guys who did not like the way things were heading won out and the U.S. Constitution was ratified. Was Thomas Jefferson flying a flag on the day of ratification?
Mr. Aleshire, I will make you
a deal. I will not spy on your home on national holidays or any other
day. In return you can do the same. In addition, we ought to discuss the
real issues like growth, crime, the Lenox bond bailout, the city's looming
budget crisis, taxes, regional traffic, etc. Let's initiate a debate (the
kind with opposing views, sometimes referred to as negative) and diagnose
problems, discuss solutions and entertain new ideas. Let's encourage our
community to ponder its future. Let's keep Atlanta from moving to Peachtree
City. The website for my mayoral campaign is www.SteveBrown