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Wednesday, 16 January 2008 00:00

Next president has abig hole to dig us out of

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“Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.”

— Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson believed in a strict code of ethics and morality that was Christian-like, and judged according to that belief. When I came across this quote the other day while reading the Washington Post online, it seemed relevant to our situation today.

Can the U.S. government regain its moral authority in the world community or even among its own people? Because when all else is stripped away, I’m among those who still believe that what’s right will eventually prevail.

And now, in the midst of a presidential election, the question looms large. Whether you’re Democrat or Republican, a baby boomer or a twenty-something, I think most long to believe that America stands for what is good and what is right. For those who came of age in the last 15 years, that might seem a quaint remnant of some bygone era.

All those who are younger than 25 know is a Democratic president named Clinton who slept around with interns and lied on national television about it and a Republican named Bush who is apparently OK with torture, wiretapping innocent people, and duping citizens into believing Saddam Hussein had something to do with the 9/11 attacks. The first was laughed at and the second makes us shake our fist in anger at his ignorance.

No matter on what side of our razor sharp political divide one falls, it’s hard to admire the leadership we’ve had since 1992.

•••

Jack Horton started his new job as Macon County manager last week, and it may have been good timing.

Horton, who worked in Haywood County for 15 years before a falling out with the previous county board sent him to Caldwell County for a brief stint, has about as much experience as any manager in the region in financing building projects. Horton worked out deals in Haywood to finance two new elementary schools, rebuild a burnt Waynesville Middle building, and finance a new justice center and law enforcement center.

Macon voters just said no to a bond referendum to build a slew of public facilities, including two new schools. School officials and county commissioners say the schools will have to be built, so they’re looking at how to make that happen.

Welcome back, Jack. Looks like you’ll be asked to hit the ground running.

•••

From the Charlotte Observer: “At one time, North Carolina and other Southern states ranked near the top in the percentage of their population made up of people who were born in the state. That’s changing.

“The Census Bureau’s 2006 American Community Survey reported that 40 percent of the people living in North Carolina were born elsewhere. The proportion of native-born North Carolinians is declining rapidly — from 70 percent in 1990 to 65 percent in 2000 to an estimated 60 percent in the 2006 report.”

Anyone around here from Florida, maybe Georgia?

•••

I’m not a big college football fan, but I do follow the game and love college basketball. I detest what the early departure of underclassmen has done to the game but find it hard to criticize the young players who leave early for life-changing pro contracts. The problem is not with the kids who leave, it’s with the system that entices them to do it.

Sometimes you can only laugh at the holier-than-thou writers who always want to blast the kids who leave early. This from the sports pages of one our state’s leading newspapers:

“DaJuan Morgan might turn out to be a fabulous NFL free safety, but he did himself no favors by leaving N.C. State after his junior season. Morgan said the NFL draft advisory board projected him as a fourth-round pick in April’s draft. He had a chance to be selected higher if he returned for his senior season .... Morgan had a chance to be perhaps the premier safety in the ACC in 2008. The exposure could have helped him improve his draft status, but we’ll never know.”

Only thing is, the writer forgot to mention that Morgan is an internship away from graduating. He’s completed all his classes. He’s not leaving early, he’s leaving on time.

•••

Anyone else surprised the shooting last week at Asheville High didn’t stir up more of a media frenzy. Kid walks onto campus, pulls out a gun, starts shooting at a crowd, and then runs off. He was caught later in Tennessee, but it sure shook me up. Sometimes it’s just difficult to tell what will get traction.

•••

“The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” — Mark Twain

•••

At some point I’m guessing the change in mindset occurs to everyone who is committed to exercising: working out becomes more about not getting too far out of shape rather than trying to get in really good shape.

(Scott McLeod can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

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