Monday Morning Water Cooler Talk for June 25, 2012

And that Government of the People, by the People, for the People, Shall Not Perish from the Earth—Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

What seems like lofty words should be the cornerstone of every American’s belief in the government. The concept of democracy is built around a government led by the people, and the people should be the focus of the decision-making process. Unfortunately, it appears that many of our leaders are more than a little confused.

It seems there is a belief, by many politicians, that what Lincoln meant to say was, “And that government of the politicians, by the politicians, for the politicians, shall not perish from the Earth.”  The cold, hard reality is that many elected officials have one goal and one goal only – getting re-elected.

No truer example of this has been seen than in the debate over the redistricting of the City of Columbus. What appears, on the surface, to be simple process, has been anything but easy. In many people’s eyes, Councilmen Mickens and Karriem are trying to pull a power play to ensure that they are re-elected.  If it is true and they are trying to stack the deck, then obviously we can judge that they do not have the best interests of the community at heart.

Race, politics and the past have a strange way of colliding.  Mississippians are often uncomfortable to speak about it, but be advised voters of Lowndes County: we are not the only state that has a racist past. We are just the one that has movies made about it.

The nasty reality is that you do have voters who vote for people because they are either white or black. They like to be led and surrounded by people who look like them. And, no matter how you try to polish the proverbial piece of raw sewage, it’s still about making judgments based on race.

Both blacks and whites do it. They vote on race alone. Fortunately, there is a word in the English language for this phenomenon.  It is called “ignorance.” And, it needs to stop.

The next redistricting meeting should be filled to the brim. There should not be an empty seat in the chamber. The politicians should get the message that the community is watching, and if they don’t do what is best for the community, they can join the long list of people who sit around telling people they used to be in politics.

The voice of the people has to be heard. In Caledonia, it seems as if “inaction” is the action of the day. No one is condoning Mayor Gerhart saying, “stick it where the sun don’t shine.”  He already knows it should have not been said. However, it is obvious that Caledonia’s mayor and aldermen are at war. And, it doesn’t matter which side you are on. The battle is going hot and heavy, and there is no end in sight.

Meanwhile, as Nero fiddles in “Hotdonia”, the chaos grows.  The water department is split apart, the mayor and the marshal are in a “Texas Death Match” and the community suffers.

Add it all up and the Town of Caledonia could be facing five law suits – three involving the water department, one about the Marshal’s office and one in regards to zoning. For a town of about 11 people, that is a lot of law suits. Period. Good for lawyers, but bad for town business.

In the county, and after much peace, Leroy and Harry – by far the two most powerful politicians in our community – went after it in public, a few weeks back. No one can deny that if Leroy talked to Ralph Billlngsley as hateful as has been reported, he deserved to be chastised, maybe even in public.

Nevertheless, here is the problem. It would have been nice if someone other than Harry had brought it up. Maybe Jeff Smith, Bill Brigham or John Holliman could have taken the lead. But, as we all know, there was a better chance that a certain mammal would emerge from someone’s nether region, than that happening. So, it just turns into being about Harry and Leroy, and the fact that Billlingsley may have been treated unprofessionally was lost in the turmoil. And, that is unfortunate.

Nowhere does the craziness rear its head higher than in political appointments.  Just when you thought it was safe to go back to a CCVB meeting, the School Board fell into lunacy.  The last couple of months have been a comedy of errors, and it would be funny if they hadn’t been dealing with such an important position.

From the beginning of the Superintendent search, until their last meeting, they have become the “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” of city boards.   The last time a disaster of this level occurred, someone ran a big boat into an iceberg.  It has been a titanic failure.

And, cloaking incompetence in “we are here for the children” language is laughable. If you were here for the children, you would listen to their parents. You know, the ones we call citizens.

In the end, it is about the citizens. It is about the people paying the taxes. It is about the moms and the dads working with their kids. The people paying everyone’s salaries.

So, if you are an elected official, board appointee, or a public servant and you don’t like answering to the community or the media, please quit. It would be better for the area and better for you. We need community leaders who understand they are there to do the will of the people.

Note: To the teacher in the Project LACE UP video who said that God removed the other superintendent candidates so that Dr. Liddell would get the job, we hope that that is not the case, since one of the candidates lost her husband to a heart attack during the interview process, and that’s not the God that the rest of us serve.

Joseph B. St. John

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5 Comments on “Monday Morning Water Cooler Talk for June 25, 2012”

  1. charles divel Says:

    It gets me Joe so many claim they have served the public. The way I look at it is if you are drawing a salary, you are serving yourself. Some have the attitude that they are government and therefore better than others. Nice work man.


  2. Lisa Bowen Says:

    we both know that they are only in it for the money, the almighy dollar. they are only in it for their own personal agendas. God will get those that are that selfish and only think of themselve and relatives and friends. when the mayor said he would pave all the streets in this city, he insured that the streets where his friends and relatives lived were paved before we, my tax dollars, ran out of money. i drive these streets every day. why on earth are only some, obviously his people, paved? this entire community government scares me and makes me want to vomit. i cannot believe the selfeshness of these elected officials. the only explaination for their unprofressionalism and discord in open public for all the world to see is indeed not ignorance, but stupidtiy. they no better, but got the “big head” and act like that in public because WE let them get away with it and continue to elect them, as you say because of race. that too, is stupid, not ignorant. the difference is that i KNOW the difference between these two terms. the voters continue to not look at any mannerisms of who they vote for, as long as they vote for their race. that is not ignorant, that is STUPID! all these polictians who behave in that manner are pure stupid and all should be sued and brought to justice for their usually unlawful manners. however, we the voters continue to do nothing. everone is scared because, now the police cheif will harass, illegally, anyone who does anything about anything. but, yet, he gets PAID also by our tax dollars. this is all unacceptable. but what can we do. please advise in open forum or let us contact the fbi and attorney general. please, begin a “paper trail” and list of the legalities (or illegalities) of each person in local government. maybe we can come up with something less scary than the community lives in now. it’s bad enought we are presided by a muslim president who has sold our country to china and japan, two comunitst countries which at any time could take our collateral. what can we do? any ideas? would love to hear them.

    frightened living in our community, also america, at this time. praying more than ever.
    also, lisa bowen.


    • Lisa Bowen Says:

      i meant know when i said “they know better”. see what fear does to you?


      • charles divel Says:

        I somehow knew what you meant Lisa. I wish there were more people like you to voice their opinoin. I know some fear repurcussions etc. I believe many are ignorant cause of laziness. They don’t pay attention to the world around them except maybe sports or gossip. I have one friend at least who doesn,t vote He said it doesn’t make a difference. I told him that he would not enjoy the things that he does now, if it wasn’t for people voting. Racial voting is stupid.

  3. Jim Says:

    They are not there for the public. They are always looking to get a free meal, free transpartation and a free trip. They just got back from the coast. ALL FREE !!! I have had business people to say they would ask for any thing free. These two worthless need to go.


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