LETTER: Respect the voter, no matter the choice

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By The Staff

I certainly hope not. There is no need for this issue to split our community on a long term basis. This is my answer to Editor Robin Bass’s question from last week’s Spencer Magnet, “Will the alcohol vote split the community?”

Two of my friends came to see me the day before the article was first in the Spencer Magnet on April 8 that a petition was being circulated to bring about a wet/dry vote in Spencer County. Why did they do that? Because they were a part of the group of citizens who were presenting the petition and they knew me well enough to know what my opinion on the subject would be. I appreciate that courtesy. We have discussed the issue and we have agreed that we will just have to disagree on this issue.

In the August 5 issue of the Magnet, B.J. Smith was quoted as saying, “but I’m still shocked by the people who don’t respect my right to think my way”. He is referring to his support for alcohol sales in Spencer County.

I don’t know what specific incidents may have prompted that comment, but I certainly respect his or anybody else’s right to believe as they want on this or any other issue. Diversity of opinion and the ability to freely express those differences is one of the greatest principles of liberty that we possess here in the United States. I would welcome hearing from anybody who has an opinion on the wet/dry issue. It is by reasonably sitting down and discussing issues that affect our community that we can move forward. I understand that this is a very personal and emotional issue for many people.

Since this issue has come up, I have heard from several people who have experienced tremendous heartache for themselves or someone who they loved who has been hurt or even died due to alcohol. A young man in his early 20s recently shared with me that he has already lost 3 friends due to alcohol related issues. I certainly understand that you are entitled to your opinion and thoughts, even if you support alcohol sales, but you need to appreciate that there are many who have suffered great and personal loss because of alcohol.

In that same August 5 issue, there was a story about a family who recently lost their son due to alcohol poisoning. I have recently been blessed to have gotten to know this family. They are still mourning and they have made a decision to oppose alcohol sales in Spencer County in his honor and for the sake of other young people who might suffer the same fate.

That same week at spencermagnet.com, the story was on the website and people had an opportunity to respond. If you are not familiar, people have the opportunity to make comments on news articles.

An individual who I do not know (They were not willing to give their name) suggested that it was these parents’ fault that their son had died. Their exact quote was “Let your children see you consume alcohol responsibly and maybe they will act the same way”. I will let you draw your own conclusions about the comment, but let me share how my three children have been taught on this subject.

My children have never seen myself or my wife consume an alcoholic beverage inside our home or outside our home. We have tried to instill in them a sense of self esteem where they understand that they do not have to conform to peer pressure by drinking to be cool or to fit in. They are special and have value just like they are. They do not need to ingest a chemical into their body that inhibits their ability to think and make decisions concerning their well being. That is how we have taught them concerning responsible drinking.

My children and the other young people in our community are the main reason that I will be voting NO on October 20th to allow alcohol sales in Spencer County. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. If you have thoughts either in agreement or not, please share them with our community. No matter the outcome of the election, I will still respect you on October 21. Be SAFE.

James Allen Tipton