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Editorial for May 7, 2014

Historic Greenwood

Each year, I re-read Barington by Greenwood’s own Edward Tatum Wallace about life in Greenwood at the turn of the previous century. There’s a story about someone who made a town joke of himself over his hatred and his venomous opinions of some people and some things. I promise to learn from it myself and hope it helps others. Let me share the story:

One merchant-Bart-loved a good prank. It was the very early 1900’s and all the news was about Teddy changing the world by actually digging a “Panama Canal.” Folks in Greenwood knew next to nothing about it as news was slow in those days, but it was a hot topic and everyone had thoughts to share on the matter. Few had seen a map and fewer still knew where Panama was because it had only been a country for a few days at the time. Bart decided to have some fun with a petition anyone could sign in Bart’s store to have the Panama Canal come right through Greenwood. They’re going to dig the thing somewhere and Greenwood could use the excitement. For the fun of it, shoppers in Bart’s store would add their names to the list of those in favor of petitioning the government put the Panama Canal through Greenwood. One annoying local who had an opinion on everything and “hated” as a hobby came in Bart’s store and threw an absolute fit over the matter. “We don’t need no canal in our town. You know these country people will throw their trash in it and we’ll have to run dirty little kids out of it what’s been a swimmin’ in the nasty, polluted thing. It’ll be an eyesore and I am going after everyone on that *@%^# list that’s signed up in favor the Panama Canal coming through here.” He was so busy being angry and so busy with his hatred that no one bothered to tell him what a fool he’d become.

The point here is this: Hatred overtook a fellow to the extent that he made a joke of himself and richly earned the title “Village Idiot” over his obnoxious opinions that everyone else laughed at uproariously. He died knowing that everyone thought he was nuts, but satisfied that he’d kept the Panama Canal from being dug through Greenwood! History is so easy to learn because it repeats itself so often.

Mayor’s Race

I’ve been asked by several about the mayoral election. For personal reasons, I am not endorsing a candidate and have not in the pages of this newspaper. We have not solicited advertising from either candidate. I have not publicly made statements about the strengths, backgrounds, professional attributes or personal foibles of either. I have steadfastly refused to allow anyone to think I would encourage the weaker candidate. I will so what’s best for Greenwood regardless of who wins this seven month mayor’s term.

To that end let me clear up some things that have filtered back to me from the lunatic fringe. I have no “ties” to either candidate. I will not be the advisor to either. I have no job opportunity awaiting either’s victory. I have a job and you’re enjoying it with me right now. No, my family has not endorsed nor contributed to either candidate. I have seen endorsements ruin a candidate’s chances in the recent past. When either of these two candidates loses, they will not blame it on me and when one of them wins, I will not blame it on me. This issue carries letters of support of each that were submitted by two fine gentlemen.

Greenwood is full of wonderful people and wonderful things…including potential. There is a need to re-build relationships in Little Rock when the “disinterested” was elected. A real mayor could have saved those. Maybe the next will do so. It’s all about getting the money out of the state capital. We’ll see if they can do it. There are beautification efforts that faltered during the last four years. There are economic development needs that a real mayor could impact. We’ll see. If you love the community more than you love controversy, then get behind whoever is elected. In a democratic society, anyone can get elected. In fact, in Greenwood, one can appoint oneself mayor.

Something like 7 of the last ten mayors did not serve a full term. That’s sad only because some of them had talent and all but one loved Greenwood. Making the job difficult is one thing, but making it impossible is senseless. It’s hurtful to our Greenwood, Arkansas, where I remain,

Yours for a kinder tomorrow,

Kenneth Lawton Edwards, Editor

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PSG Pharmacy