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COLUMN: Don’t let this issue divide us

Published 10:57am Wednesday, July 11, 2012

As a child, my Saturday mornings were usually consumed watching cartoons on TV. One of my favorites, and yours too, was watching the Bugs Bunny cartoons.

Probably the most interesting cartoons I watched were the ones involving the sheep dog and the coyote. I never quite understood them until I got a lot older.

Pretty much the storyline was the same in each of their cartoons. It would begin with seeing the two carrying their lunchboxes to work. They greet each and carry on small talk as they clocked in.

However, once the work whistle blew, the two fought each other all of the time. The coyote’s job was to steal sheep while the sheep dog did everything he could to stop him.

After they did this for a while, the whistle blew once again to signify it’s lunch time.

So the two would stop fighting each other, sit down beside each other and eat lunch together. They might even carry on another small-talk conversation.

When they went back on the clock, they fought each other again and did so until the whistle blew to end the day. They would both clock out, greet each other and each went his separate way back home.

It never made sense to me why they acted this way, but in the last few years, I’ve understood it a little more. The metaphor is sometimes you’re at odds with your friends in your professional or business lives, but just because you might disagree with someone about business doesn’t mean you can’t be friends.

I hope the leaders of the wet-dry debate can learn from this cartoon. Both sides are equally charged about this issue.

I don’t mind both sides of the debate campaigning hard against the other side. I actually think it’s good for the community to talk about this and analyze every possible aspect of the difficult decision.

There are great arguments to both sides of the issue, but there are some flaws in those arguments.

For example, some argue that by going wet we’ll have a lot more revenue, but the figures thrown around might be a little inflated than what it will actually be.

Some say that by allowing alcohol sales our city leaders are approving the alcoholic lifestyle. That argument may be a little exaggerated as well because all Hartselle voters – not just city leaders – will decide this issue and everyone who has a drink isn’t an alcoholic.

These are just two of the arguments that I’ve heard over the last month or so. There are many others with strengths and weaknesses for both sides of the debate.

At the end of this election cycle, however, I hope supporters of both sides will shake hands and go back to being friends and neighbors once again. We might disagree on this one issue, but we’re still one unified community hoping to make this a great place to live, whether we’re wet or dry.

If we can do this, then we would be an example of just how a democracy works.

Brent Maze is the managing editor of the Hartselle Enquirer.

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