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Jeff Whitten: Thoughts on invasions
editor's notes

Sometimes I can’t help but feel helpless.

This has turned into one of those times.

Watching on TV as Russian forces roll into Ukraine – where they’ve run into a buzz saw of bravery – makes me want to go help the Ukrainians, who remind me of something I think gets lost in our daily American lives. Namely, freedom ain’t free.

Yet while I talk the talk, the Ukrainians are walking the walk, fighting for their existence against an enemy all too familiar to those of us who lived and served in the Army during the Cold War, before the Berlin Wall fell and USSR collapsed and everything changed.

And now everything has changed again. I suppose I could abscond and join the Ukrainian resistance, but truth is I’m not sure my wife would let me. And, on those rare occasions I dream I’m back in the Army I’m usually naked and wondering what lunacy possessed me to give up my brilliant high-paying career as a hack weekly newspaper editor to be a ragbag field artillery E-4 again.

Truth be told, I was a lousy soldier and the Ukrainians are better off without me. They’re also better off not having to deal with a bunch of our partisan politicians, including those who say the invasion is proof of the current president’s weakness.

My email inboxes are full of such nonsense, and it begs a question – what would they do if they were in the President’s shoes? Strap on a machine gun and go Rambo-style into the Ukraine? Order U.S. troops into battle? Nuke Russia? What would they do? Flex their pectorals at Putin and demand he would turn around and go back? What?

The one legitimate question to me is whether the president should have taken the use of American troops off the table from the outset.

I don’t know the answer to that, but if he had left that option open there’s a good chance he’d be ripped for that, too. We’re a nation of armchair quarterbacks and nowadays the naysayers and second guessers can’t even wait until the game is over before they declare the players and coaches did it all wrong. No wonder things hardly get done anymore.

On to a more local invasion: If you think it’s crowded hereabouts now, just wait a while. The Center Square is reporting Georgia’s population is expected to grow by nearly 20 percent by 2040.

“According to a study conducted by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia, Georgia’s population is projected to expand by 19.5% between 2020 and 2040 - an increase of 2,094,920 people. If the Cooper Center’s projections bear out, Georgia will go from being the eighth most populous state to being the fifth most populous, also taking into account population changes in other states,” reports The Center Square. “The projected change is in keeping with the trend of the last decade. Between 2010 and 2020, the number of people living in Georgia climbed by 10.7%, or 1,037,698 people.”

Man that’s a lot of folks.

It’s going to take a lot more infrastructure and natural resources like water to support those new folks, too, and let’s remember the growth is not happening solely because native Georgians are reproducing at some crazy rate like rabbits. It’s happening also because people are moving here as fast as developers can knock down trees and throw up vinyl houses and name them something fancy.

Anyway, the projection on population growth combined with the recent announcement by Georgia Ports Authority they expect to grow capacity by another 60 percent (yikes) seems to me more body blows aimed at what was once a nice, unspoiled and uncrowded sort of place where you mostly knew your neighbors and it didn’t take 15-20 minutes and red lights every half mile to get 5 miles.

On the flip side, if you can’t beat them you might as well join them.

I’m thinking about offering up the shed and a spare bedroom or two at the house and the side yard where our well is, lease it all to the GPA for warehouse space, for an exorbitant fee.

What about your neighbors, someone will ask me. Won’t your warehouse complex have a negative impact on them?

Being a newly anointed titan of industry and commerce and not yet used to paying lip service to the proletariat, I’ll be honest in my reply: Us warehouse magnates and our supporters in local government don’t care about neighborhoods, or the people who live in them. If we did we wouldn’t do this to them.

So if they don’t like it they can go smoke a rope. Or move. I hear a lot of states up north are emptying out.

Whitten is editor of the Bryan County News.

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