I am a regular reader of the Bryan County News, and found my blood pressure rising after reading three separate articles in the June 25th edition.
My first concern was the front-page article regarding the statue of General Robert E. Lee in Gregory Park. I was shocked and saddened to see Mayor Carpenter jump on the emotional bandwagon of the last month and call for its removal. Making decisions and legislating during a time of heightened emotion is always bad policy. The notion that all statues that people find offensive need to be removed is truly idiotic.
One must ask the question, why do we put up statues in the first place? Often it is to honor or remind the populace about certain qualities a person possesses. In the case of General Lee, he was a stunning tactician who fought for a side he believed was right. The Civil War was about much more than slavery. Lee, and other people of the past, are honored for great accomplishments made at the time. It is absurd to take a 21st century viewpoint and politically correct “morality” and apply it to people 100-200 years old. No one in the past is perfect, nor are we perfect. I shudder to think how people 100 years from now will judge our actions today.
With this policy, we can never erect a statue of anyone, for something about that person will always be found “offensive” to someone. Should we remove all statues of Martin Luther King, Jr. because he was a minister who cheated on his wife? Of course not. We honor the man for his great accomplishments in promoting civil rights. Leave statues alone; they are part of history, whether is it good, bad or ugly. Thankfully there is a state law forbidding its removal. At least now it can be a starting point for conversations about our past and our future.
The second article was about the proposed ER in Bryan County. From the article it was clear that one of the city council members, Mark Ott, was being pilloried for even questioning the project. For my part, I’m glad that at least one member of city council is willing to question projects going forward, and not just rubber stamp every idea that comes along, regardless of whether it costs the city money. Kudos to Mr. Ott for wanting to apply the brakes and get more information about forthcoming projects. The lack of leadership leading to the willy-nilly spending we’ve seen occur in the city could certainly benefit from more oversight and fiscal responsibility, which Mr. Ott seems willing to provide.
Lastly, the article about the tax increase made my blood boil for two reasons. Why are we looking at a property tax INCREASE when the article clearly states the tax digest has grown 8%? We should be looking at a tax DECREASE based on that. I don’t see why we have to pay more taxes for a new school when that should have been budgeted previously! As also mentioned in the article, the state requiring children on school buses to sit away from each other is another example of government bureaucratic absurdity. If only 11 children can be on a school bus, what is the point? Delivering all these children to schools without buses will be a logistical nightmare and snarl traffic for hours, all to keep students apart who are going to be next to each other in class anyway! Where is the logic?
It is hard not to be frustrated when I see the unraveling of society into chaos and absurdities. Thank heavens most people still have common sense. Too bad our government is lacking this essential virtue.
Betsy DeBry, Richmond Hill