To me, finding a way in local politics to serve Honea Path comes first in my mind. As such I have been quiet lately on the goings on of the Anderson County Council. I admit I did not want to write anything that might prevent me from somehow being able to make a real difference of the lives of the family, friends and neighbors I have here. Eventually, events lead a man to be a man. An event occurs, and a man has to decide whether he has principles or not. As the late Sheriff of McNairy County, Tennessee, Buford Pusser once said, a man decides he either walks tall or he crawls.
I have decided to walk tall. That decision might cause some county officials to choose to not work with me to better the lives of the folks in my hometown over the short term. I wrestled with that in my mind for a long time. I am no fan of former Anderson County Administrator Joey Preston or the the most recent council. I think it is good Preston is gone from Anderson County government and the council members who walked lock step with him got defeated at the polls. However, irregardless of the local short term political consequences, I can not condone the actions of the new council. The new county council's obsession with the past and now its decision to fire Administrator Cunningham without cause cost taxpayers money and do nothing to create jobs, cut taxes or otherwise make this wonderful place that is Anderson County a better place to live. If new county officials choose not to work with me over that observation, I can live with that. They have not done one thing so far to help Honea Path, and again, that is howI approach things in local politics, right or wrong.
While I understand the frustrations of the new council, two things come to mind. First, I think Cunningham has a strong legal case. The county will likely end up paying him some money not to work. Second, the outgoing council spitefully threw gasoline on the political fire with how they handled things last December. The people are becoming the apparent losers in this egotistical test of wills. Forgive me if I don't worry about which side is right or wrong, for I worry about the folks in my hometown and how they face higher taxes, fewer economic opportunities and the like. Someone has to walk tall through this mess, and I am going to do my best to. Someone has stand up for the people of my town, and all the others in Anderson County. We deserve leadership on the things that matter. It is time we in Anderson County found a way to work together on the things we agree need to be done. The people deserve that.
It is time for less drama and more work. If the new council leadership needs to find a way to that path, they need not look any further than the Holy Bible. Jesus talked forgiveness and moving on not to espouse weakness, but to inspire strength. A man or woman who can forgive and move on is free to do what is right, not have their agendas tied to another. Joey Preston and his sidekicks hit me hard when I did not walk lockstep with them. I lost a longtime friendship and had rujmors about me spread that were just incredible. Of course, I admit that there is a part of me that I would love to see those folks pay. It is human. But, is also wrong.
To me, the people of Honea Path's well being means more than to me than seeking any form or justice or vengeance. That is why I turned to the teachings of Christ. Forgive, forget on some level, and be free to serve those who need serving. Besides, as God gives me mercy, I give mercy on others. How many of us, regardless of who we think we are, want justice and not mercy? I will not let the former council members or Mr. Preston decide one thing I say or act upon for the people of Anderson County. I hope the new council finds the same empowerment.
If some in Anderson County government are inclined not to work with me because of my principles, I will be disappointed. But, I can live with that. Someone has to say it is time to move on and worry about the business of the people first. I will never apologize for that or back down off that notion. Whatever service I can offer my town or my county, it will always be done in commenting about or doing things that I think are right, not in response to those who did wrong. It took me a long time to come this point. It is not politically correct and those who spend their lives planning the next political campaigns certainly think I am a fool. But, I say, let God deal with justice and do what is right for the people. That is how to truly make a difference in peoples lives.