You have a voice on issues, too

Published 10:57 am Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Guilt by association, surely you have heard the term before?

My mother used to say the term applied to hanging out with certain people that were considered to undesirable when I was a teenager. Young and idealistic I believed people would get to know me and make their decision to be my friend based on that and that alone.

The funniest part is that things aren’t much different when you are a grown-up.

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Over the last week or so people, many that I don’t know have felt compelled to tell me what they think about the articles The Democrat has been running about Binkey Vines and his current issues.

Usually I just listen and let the person tell me one of two things. Either The Democrat is doing a fine job of reporting the issue and it needs to be brought to light or the staff at The Democrat is persecuting a fine man who makes it a daily mission to help others.

Either way, inside I am usually saying to myself “hey, I write about my kids, cooking and the occasional social event, I’m not in charge of anything.”

But to the public there it is every Wednesday, my article and picture in The Democrat which makes me associated with the paper whether I write editorials or not.

Funny thing is that it is just as much your paper as it is mine.

That’s correct, you sitting right there reading my normally light and easy-going column, this is your paper. And what is in it is dictated by you. And as long as you don’t use profanity, you can write a letter to the editor, make your voice heard and express your opinion. And it is an option that most people don’t take advantage of.

Plenty disagreed with the paper’s writings about the mayor’s involvement in the tearing down of the pecan factory. Many said it was just stirring up trouble and making the entire thing into a bigger issue than it had to be. The newspaper is in the business of reporting the news and what is going on in the circuit clerk’s office is news whether we like it or not.

Sometimes things have to be stirred so they can be brought to our attention. The city and its officials are like a big pot of gumbo simmering on the stove. You walk by, glance at it and everything looks just fine, so you don’t get involved or ask any questions and you just go on about your business.

Then, someone else comes along and gets involved and ladles themselves up a bowl and complains about the burnt taste. So you pay a little bit more attention and there, hiding beneath the placid surface of your gumbo is a bottom full of burnt ingredients. Bet you wish you had kept an eye on it and stirred it once in awhile to bring each and every ingredient around to be accounted for.

I’m not here to say if any public official is correct or not in their dealings but I am here to say this to you.

If you are reading this article you should go on and read the entire paper. And then voice your opinion. Write in, e-mail or call your agreement or disagreement with a story.

If you can show them another side to something and show that your information is factual The Democrat will print it. And then you won’t ever be one of those people who had no idea what was actually simmering right below the surface of our multi-ingredient town.

Christina Hall writes a weekly column for The Democrat. She can be reached at