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I am writing to express my displeasure with the manner that the staff of The Lebanon Enterprise have conducted a judgment of my receiving and forwarding e-mail.
I receive somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 or more emails daily; most are trash attempting to sell something and are disposed of. Many come from people, up-standing people who once lived in our community with various ideas and opinions. I often find these humorous, reminiscent, self-reflecting, or sometimes intriguing. Frequently with no opinion of my own toward the subject, I will forward them on to friends and relatives so they can think about the topic too.
This past week I received many emails disposed most and sent a few on to others. One in particular that spoke --not against anyone--but that was written as to why certain practices are looked on as racial, while others are not; I do find this concept unexplainable. Being the mayor of my small town, I am always trying to find the most fair practices and thoughts toward helping and promoting my people. The subject matter concerned such practices as why do we socially permit certain races to have colleges, beauty pageants, etc. yet other races are not permitted to do so under law? I sent this letter to my brother and a few close friends.
Lo and behold on Tuesday my brother spoke to me that he received a much upset call from the editor of The Lebanon Enterprise. First I was wondering why and then how the editor of the local paper would receive this and secondly why they would be upset. My brother often assumes that the almost unbridled power of the media can be steered to promote a cause, so he had sent this email to the newspaper staff along with notations that he added toward his views.
Wednesday my brother again receives a call from the newspaper and the editor wished to speak with me. At that time I was not available, so I attempted to call the paper shortly afterward and find that Stevie Daugherty had left for the day. That same evening as I walked to City Hall I noticed the paper's news editor, Stephen Lega, sitting outside City Hall before time for a special called meeting. The expression of his face let me know that this was not to be a pleasant experience nor was the rarity of his presence there only to gather news of the meeting. I was so upset that this man had already assumed that I was prejudiced and racially motivated, and then told that I should not have sent this particular email to my brother, and that someone in my office should know better and be more careful.
This letter is for those sitting on that high judgmental chair. At first I thought I would not do anything toward this, but the more I thought about it, the more I refuse to let the local newspaper define the person that I am in the article they planned to write. I read many books, research publications, magazines, etc. and what I read and refer to others does not give my endorsement nor belief on that subject. When one of the local newspaper people exclaim to me "that scares me" by something I have read, that concerns me. If we are too worried about the perceived correctness of what we read or study how can we ever learn the truth. Now one thing I do believe is that we should be fair in what we do. Earth will never be totally fair, but we should make every attempt we can in being as fair as we possibly can. I take great responsibility in being elected to Mayor of Bradfordsville for the past 22 years. I know this is a blessing that God has entrusted with me, and I hope that I do not fail Him to look out for my people in ways that please Him. I do not think any one group of people should receive any greater rights than another group--not by race, by family, or by friends. We are human beings, created in the image of our God, and by that we all should be given the utmost highest consideration for fair treatment.
Back in 1777, when John McMurray cultivated this area to prove that a living could be made in this valley we call Bradfordsville , a dream was being born. This community was the first west of the Allegheny Mountains to have ecumenical and interracial worship. Records show this in the Liberty Meeting House where Presbyterians helped to establish the first Marion County church in 1785 that blacks and whites worshipped together. Later Bradfordsville was nearly completely burned by confederates in the Civil War due to the lofty standing of our community against slavery. William Clarke Quantril pillaged, murdered, and burned Bradfordsville in 1865 as the Civil War came to a close. At the present there are not many different races in Bradfordsville, probably due to the shortage of jobs, but not due to hate. Those of other races in Bradfordsville feel welcomed, cared for, and loved. Probably my best friend in the world just happens to be black. I have many close friends who are Filipino. I was very upset with the judgment that the newspaper gave toward me. I feel that it was unfounded, that they did not have an open mind to look at anything but what was "politically correct", and whatever other reasons they may have. I realize the fatal power and determination that the media is capable of. I do think that Stevie Daugherty has been good with her coverage toward our community. I hope that she will continue to look favorably toward us. We have worked hard to try to be the best small town that we can, and I do not in any way want this shadow to cause anyone to look at Bradfordsville in any manner except a very scenic, progressing, and caring community. I am ashamed that anyone would question my actions as prejudiced and racial; I have taught public school for 28 years, and I really don't believe any of my students would ever seriously question my actions. They knew that I loved them and wanted the best for them just as I do for my community. I do not apologize because I feel that we must be open to ideas to promote fairness for everyone.
I have wondered why this has upset me so much. I think the basic troubling was for the Enterprise to tell me what I should do and should not do when they told me that I should have known better than to forward this email to my brother. A second issue that is very upsetting is to doubt my sincerity and honesty for the stands I take. During the conversations with Stevie I mentioned the need of the newspaper to sell papers by stirring sensationalism and controversy. Stevie became upset and said David in all the years we have worked with you, you should know that that is not what I do. This is exactly how I have felt - those questioning me should have known better, they should know what I stand for. That upsetting to Stevie let me know that she has strong morals and concerns that make her who she is, and for the same reason I am upset with this accusation against me and the commitments that I strongly stand on. You see I have to be true to myself and to my God. I do not play politics. I don't want to play politics. I sometimes hear jokes depicting black people, Asian people, Hispanics, or country white people in ridicule - some individuals can tell you how I have responded against such portrayals. Shame on those who accused me of being racist, and that told me what I should and should not do. I don't fit the mold they set for me. The fact is I can only respect myself when I am me. I will continue to strive to be fair in what I do, but I will not fit the pattern of what many people set for me. I will always strive to be fair in my actions, yet you can be sure that I will be just as authentic to be who I am.