By James Cook, Times Editor
I debated all weekend with myself. That may sound crazy, but sanity is relative and some of my relatives have none so it should come as no surprise that I like to debate myself.
The debate was over what I should write about this week. What exactly should I express my opinion on this time? There was so much to choose from. There was turmoil at the middle school on several fronts, politics is always an easy target and of course I could try to find humorous things that have happened and play off those.
But I decided to actually act like a grown up this week. So I have two points I would like to make and then I will let others decide how they wish to proceed with their lives or opinions.
My first point has to do with the county and how are we preparing for the upcoming World Equestrian Games which are just a mere 358 days away. Sure, we in Powell County have no huge horse farms, but we do have riders and those who participate in horse shows.
But I was not looking at it from a selfish, what is in it for me and mine attitude. Nor am I looking at it from the why am I not included frame of mind. I am looking at it from the position of how can the county benefit from those games?
The answer is clear. Tourism.
Now I know that some believe that tourism will save us all and others think it is a waste of time. But it is the timing that will decide just how successful we want our county to become. Sure a bike race may bring a little revenue and some headaches. But what if the county, the cities and the tourism commission got together to try to bring the thousands of visitors expected for the games to Powell County.
I’m not talking about staying here; we don’t have that many available rooms. But tours, day trips to see the Red River Gorge or the largest natural bridge in the east; how about showcasing some of our talents with the musicians we have here, the artists, the craftsmanship and then maybe, just maybe we can entice some visitors to come our way.
Sure I think we need new businesses in here and jobs; of course I believe we need better infrastructure, we need to provide better opportunities and yes, I believe we need to do something quick. Face it Washington and Frankfort will never act as quick as we need them to. But the most important thing we need is a concerted effort to get behind a once in a lifetime chance to grab for a piece of the pie that will be in Lexington next year.
Other communities are already planning and I would dare say are ahead of us. But we have two things they do not – the beauty of the Red River Gorge and hopefully a community eager to prosper.
But if we choose, we can debate it, argue over it, and try to see what we can get out of it individually or how certain cities or politicians may get ahead. Or we can pull together as a community, a county, as neighbors, friends and families at least just this one time to make a difference for all of us and our kid’s future. You decide, but let us not wait too long or all we may be left with is stable duty.
Now my second point and this one gets under my skin. How can a financial institution remove American flags from the right-of-way in front of their business, flags that were there to mark and honor a U.S. Marine’s funeral procession route? This Marine died in combat, regardless if you agree with the war or not, he was still one of ours.
Their reason was simply this – they did not want to offend anyone by leaving the flags there.
Did not want to offend anyone! Who were they going to offend? Because if you live in this country, born here or moved here, it is that flag and those who fight and die under that flag, protecting that flag, for the freedoms that flag guarantees us that are most sacred. If a U.S. Flag offends you, then do not sleep one more night under its protection. Do not spend one more dollar, nor work in a country where you are offended by the flag.
The bank has offered an apology. One of their biggest accounts has withdrawn their accounts and others are following. Where was this you ask? In Gaffney, South Carolina and the institution was the Bank of America. You remember them; our tax dollars bailed them out.
Offended? Yes I am, not by the flag but by those who are too timid and too afraid to stand up for what is right. If we don’t stand up, who will? There is an old saying used by many others before me including Robert Kennedy and other notable speakers. It is originally attributed to a paraphrase of a teaching by a famous Jewish religious leader named Hillel. It goes something like this: “If not now, when; if not us, then who.”
So I ask you, when will we stand up and if we don’t, then who will?
I’m just saying . . .