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Letter to the Editor

Wandering Minds and Wondering Fools

web posted September 10, 2009
Dear Editor,
Recently there has been a call for us to consider allowing the Wandering Minds section of the Edgefielddaily.com to be shut down. Some of the reasons for this request are that it hurts the county, or it allows others to see our dirty laundry being aired in public, or that it stifles growth because the outsiders looking in may not like what they see.  Such a pity some see with blinders.
It’s obvious the call to censor or shut down Wandering Minds is nothing less than an attempt to squelch our voices. You see those in power, or those puppet masters pulling the political strings behind the scenes to benefit, not the people, but themselves, would surely adore having our voices silenced. For without our voices, without our curiosity, and without our desire to ensure that citizens of this county and of this nation are served well, we should all be able to figure out where we would be, if it were not for free speech. Even with the God-given right of free speech, look where we are heading.
If it were not for free speech we would already have nationalized healthcare. If it were not for free speech we would be unaware and uninformed of what goes on in  Edgefield. And if it were not for free speech, surely there would be a lot of citizens of this county who would not know who the real puppet master is in the county. But because a few have voiced their opinions, have voiced their concerns, have voiced tidbits of knowledge, the dirty dealers have been exposed.
Yes, there are times when postings have been a little terse, a little personal, unfounded, merely smear campaigns, or just downright untrue.  Regardless of what news media or news outlet you read or hear from, you must always weigh both sides. Trust, but verify.  Confirm through multiple sources. I, myself, have been the target of a few tasteless and baseless comments posted on Wandering Minds. However, the way to combat those types of individuals is to follow with a post consisting of facts that mitigate or refute any baseless opinion or charge. Once you ram the facts down the throats of those obnoxious, ill-informed, uninformed, mealy mouthed individuals, you shut them down quickly.
Rigorous and open debate is healthy. Never, ever, take the right of free speech lightly. In countries where free speech is not a right, dictators, tyrants, and authoritarians often govern those countries and go to great lengths to oppress those who practice or engage in free speech,.
Words, baseless accusations, smear campaigns, character assassinations,  especially those spoken by the puppet masters or authoritarians, can be hurtful and destructive.  If it were not for free speech, the alternative, as is the case in those other countries, could be death.
We have a right to speak out. We have a right to speak out against our government. We have a right to scrutinize public servants. We have a right to insure we maintain our freedom and liberty, and part of that liberty is the freedom of speech. If we shut down a medium such as the Wandering Minds than we have given forth one inch, of which those in charge would surely take one mile.
If it were not for the likes of Wandering Minds, blogs, or other social networking sites, look at what this county - just this county, a microcosm of our national politics - would have to burden-Mount Vintage (Rainsford) would probably be operating with impunity; the assessment in ’95 would have remained and most of us that fought it would have lost and been stuck with higher property taxes, while the Edgefield crowd and Council members were enjoying a reduction; Rainsford would have gotten away with unloading and shoving the industrial park property down our throats with the alleged intention of centralizing a High School which turned out to be a mere 8 miles closer than STHS; Wayne Adams would still be the Administrator; the teachers would be giving up their stipend under the “Voluntary Submission Form”; Bibbs would still be living the Suite Life; the School Board would have gotten away with playing the race card;  and on, and on, and on.
To suggest Edgefield County loses business and growth opportunity because of Wandering Minds is silly.  The first thing any big business looks at is the school district, then beyond that if it passes muster.  Big business also looks at the politics, and if they saw what we as citizens see, who would want to come and be a part of Edgefield, owned and run by a puppet master that screws everyone he has dealings with, and in essence turns everything he touches into fecal matter.  Yeah it may have turned into gold for a moment, for him, but after that, those left holding the bag would be holding fools gold.
Those that see this, also see there are other places much better, more promising, and move.  Hence, there goes the tax base, and who ever is left behind has to suck up the increased taxes to pay for the pet projects and boondoggles of the puppet master. And soon, the tax burden becomes too unbearable for those left behind, and they too have to leave or surrender their life’s enjoyments to pay the puppet master. Realistically, one must ask, “How much business have we lost because of the puppet master’s shenanigans?” I am actually surprised he has not tried to confiscate land through the recently used tactic of claiming eminent domain.
You see, we are on to something.  Not only here in Edgefield County, but as a nation.  We the People have grown sick and tired of government intrusion and the thugs who have infiltrated our public servant corps and fleecing all of us for their own personal gain.  We are on to something and they don’t like it.  We are speaking out and they don’t like it. Their response - they call for censorship at the national and local level.
And yet, after all this has been brought to light, we still have those who defend the puppet masters, join in on the chorus of censorship, and still wonder why we cannot grow like surrounding areas. Wondering fools.

Jim Jackson


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