LETTER: Don’t allow government to jeopardize families

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By The Staff

After a weekend of cookouts, picnics, reunions and hopefully taking time to remember the sacrifices of those who made it all possible, Americans have just completed another page in the scrapbook of their family history.

The family is the bedrock of life but it’s a unit that is often under-appreciated, and maybe now more than ever, under attack. Under attack by big government, a popular culture addicted to self-gratification and forces that seek out to erode that institution rather than strengthen it.

To counter these forces will take a deliberate effort to build up, reinforce and enrich the family unit. It will also mean confronting those things that pose a real and serious threat.

S.A.F.E. (Spencer County Alliance for Family Enrichment) hopes to be a voice in that effort for many years to come. While we’re a new entity, our aim is to safeguard one of the oldest institutions and to foster a better understanding of the importance of family in our community.

Yes, we were born out of a response to the proposal to legalize alcohol sales in Spencer County , but sometimes it takes a serious threat to muster people to action. However, it’s important to note that fighting this issue is not our primary long-term objective, but rather the strengthening of the family will be our goal.

It just so happens that the wolf at the door today is the proposal to make alcohol more accessible and available to Spencer Countians, despite the long-running conviction of the majority of residents that we’re better served without it.

We, and many others, see alcohol as an archrival to the tranquility of the home.  We’re not here to make a moral judgment about an individual’s choices, but to point out the indisputable facts that alcohol plays a huge role in family tragedies.

Ask most police officers who respond to domestic calls, and they’ll tell you a high number involve alcohol. Statistics show that the cases of spouse abuse and child abuse are higher when alcohol is present. Our roadsides are marked with makeshift memorials to those killed by alcohol-related car accidents, and our prisons are filled with people whose journey of wrong decisions and mistakes began with a sip from the bottle.

I doubt there are many people living in this county today who do not know someone who hasn’t suffered from alcohol, whether it through an accident, an arrest, or addiction.

Those promoting alcohol sales can only point to one benefit – and that is money. In truth, the monetary gain (if any) that will be felt by legalizing alcohol will be limited to the very few who obtain the license to sell, but the cost of that decision will be borne by many. It will cost over $20,000 to hold this election, a cost that taxpayers will bear, and there will be the cost of establishing a local office to regulate the licenses and the increased cost of court-related expenses in dealing with an inevitable increase in crime and traffic violations.

But the biggest burden will be placed on the family. Having alcohol more readily accessible and available will enable the addict, will provide fuel for the abuser, will provide a tempting danger to the youthful curious and will undoubtedly lead to more death, sorrow and family turmoil than already exists right now.

S.A.F.E. does not exist to oppose economic development, but rather to support the families. There’s no reason those two goals cannot be mutually obtainable, but when there is conflict, sound reasoning and experience dictates that strength of the family outweighs the potential for a few people to make a few bucks.

Whether it’s the government, a local government entity, or a grassroots effort to bring such a drastic change to our county, we would be wise to heed the words of a great former president who truly understood that family comes first.

“Families must continue to be the foundation of our nation. Families – not government programs – are the best way to make sure our children are properly nurtured, our elderly are cared for, our cultural and spiritual heritages are perpetuated, our laws are observed and our values are preserved.”

“Thus it is imperative that our government’s programs, actions officials and social welfare institutions never be allowed to jeopardize the family.”

“We fear the government may be powerful enough to destroy our families; we know that it is not powerful enough to replace them.” – Ronald Reagan.


John Shindlebower

Mt. Eden