John Sugg: Kudos on a well-written piece ("Voices of the South," Oct. 28). I spent a good part of 15 years as an investigative reporter (but I think all reporters should be "investigative") specializing in corporate misdeeds and publishing in the old Great Speckled Bird, Atlanta Gazette, Osceola (Cola, S.C.) and for the old Institute for Southern Studies' Southern Exposure.
During the time I saw far too many examples of what you mention in your article. Most of the mills where I covered union struggles are closed or demolished. Corporate polluters (with the notable exception of Georgia Power) that I outed in the '70s fled off shore in the '80s and '90s.
While I think you did a great job in the piece, I think you sold Southerners short. The problem isn't a "Southern thing," or even a current thing. Through the late 'teens and early '20s, my grandfather was an organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in the coal mines of Virginia, Kentucky and West Virginia. I remember as a kid hearing him say more than once (and this is a paraphrase): "I never cease to be amazed at the American worker's willingness to act and vote against his own self-interests."
Looking backward really didn't have much to do with it. The smoke and mirrors of corporate and governmental posturing has all to do with it. Just look at Ohio last week.
-- Elton Manzione, Athens
She's making a difference
On Election Day, gay Q100 radio personality Melissa Carter boldly announced that if Amendment One passed, she would consider moving out of Georgia. "Why should I support a state that takes the same taxes but doesn't give me the same rights as a straight person?" she wondered aloud.
I might surprise a lot of "Bert Show" listeners with the following statement: I don't want Melissa to go anywhere.
Sure, Amendment One passed with a significant margin. But would that margin be any greater if Melissa wasn't around to explain the details of what this really meant? Would more people have voted to prevent gays from having the same constitutional rights as straight people had they not heard Melissa's personal stories of how much this impacts her community beyond just the right to legally say "I do"? I can confidently say yes.
Had I not had the privilege to know Melissa Carter, I would have likely voted "yes" on one. I was ignorant, and I didn't understand the very personal effect that passing this would have on so many people that I consider friends. I was also able to take Melissa's points about the proposal to others. While some disagreed, many agreed. Her passion was viral. It came from her, to me, was spread to others, and probably even affected those who have never heard of our radio station or Melissa Carter. This definitely happens every hour of every day in the Georgia gay community -- in any community fighting for a cause -- but Melissa has the ability (maybe even responsibility) to use her position as a high-profile radio personality on a highly ranked radio station to impact thousands of people at one time. She can't do that if she leaves the state!
I hope Melissa reconsiders her decision to leave. While a difficult pill for her to swallow, I hope she understands the impact she is having on the people of Georgia. She can't marry, but she can make a difference. I will allow her to be disappointed but not defeated. And I say the same thing to people whose voice might not have a microphone in front of it ... don't give up. I promise you: Whatever your cause, you are making a difference. The world would be a lesser place if you didn't speak up.
-- Jeff Dauler
Co-host/executive producer, Q100's "The Bert Show"
Just call me a Republican now
Last Tuesday, I voted for John Kerry. As an independent, I feel obligated to vote for the better candidate, NOT an agenda.
When Bush won the election, I felt we had missed an opportunity to get the country back on the right track with a fresh start. I was sick to my stomach and felt like leaving the country. I needed a way to feel better.
So: I am a Republican now. If 59 million Americans are "right," then I will be "right" too.
If some little old lady has to pay more for medicine so that my pharmaceutical company stock will go up, SO BE IT. Screw her, I'm a Republican now.
If my president wants to change the Constitution and limit someone's right to happiness, SO BE IT. Screw those faggots. I'm a Republican now, and I don't give a damn. God doesn't love them anyway, right?
If I decide to screw someone in a business deal and keep food off their children's table for my monetary gain, WHO CARES? Let 'em starve, I'm a Republican now.
I now think the PATRIOT Act is a good Idea. I know that our wise and prudent government will not use this act against me! I'm a Republican now. They will only violate the rights of those horrible liberals.
It kind of feels good to be shallow-minded and hateful. I don't have to worry about my country or my fellow Americans anymore. "W" will do the thinking for me.
God help and forgive us.
-- Paul Whallon, Euharlee
More than you'll know
Tony Ware: I am the incredibly lucky gal who got engaged at the Oct. 13 Pixies show (Vibes, "They heart Pixies," Oct. 21). We did not even know about the article until a few days ago when our friend mentioned it. I wanted to take a moment to let you know just how much your review/article truly touched me.
I had been waiting for that show for eight months (and about 15 years), so I knew the evening would be unforgettable. But to have Phil propose to me just as the band came out, to have everyone in the place stand up and him to lean down -- well, it was more than I could have ever hoped for. Everything was perfect. For goodness sake, he was even "all dressed in black, I was all dressed in black"!
I had tears in my eyes off and on all night -- glancing down at my beautiful ring, hearing Frank Black's voice echo through the Fox, gazing over at Phil who would squeeze my hand tightly, watching Kim Deal laughing and having a great time. Your review completely summed up my feelings that night. It was magical, in my opinion, an amazing performance.
So thank you for giving us this tangible memory. We had no photos of us that night, but with your writing, you have given us something to frame and hang on our wall as a token of that evening. Thank you so much. It means more than you'll ever know.
-- Hope Winters, Atlanta
(aka the future Mrs. Phil Colvin)
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