Editor, I’m not much with back-and-forths, but I never shy away from a good debate, either, so as a rebuttal of sorts, I will address the comments made in Bruce A. McCartney’s letter to the editor:
• Jobs: The unemployment rate in Liberty County is higher than it is in surrounding counties and, the problems in D.C. notwithstanding, people here need jobs, too. I get calls and/or visits on a weekly basis from people looking for and needing work. If unemployment happens in America, it happens here!
• Homelessness: I’m a member of the Liberty County Homeless Coalition, where we work to address the homeless issues in our county, but this problem is far from being resolved. As president/CEO of a nonprofit organization and a county commissioner, we work with the homeless coalition, the Manna House, local churches, civic organizations and elected officials to combat homelessness here in Liberty County, but the problem persists. I don’t know anyone who enjoys being homeless, so a call to Deacon Chaffee or the Fraser Center isn’t the cure-all. If homelessness happens in America, it happens here!
• Racial profiling: One could take your “blaring radios” comment as a form of profiling, but let’s just say if racial profiling happens in America, it happens here, and those who don’t believe it are, at a minimum, naïve.
• Voting rights: Republicans and Tea Party Republicans want to repeal the voting-rights act. I, too, showed my ID and voted, but if this legislation changes, it will happen in America, so it will happen here as well, canceling the document written with the blood of civil-rights leaders like Dr. King and others.
• Stand-your-ground laws: Trayvon Martin — enough said. Like Florida, Georgia has stand-your-ground laws, although they’re less publicized. Defending your family and your neighbors is admirable, but taking the law into your own hands is stupid, especially when the victim is unarmed and you’ve been ordered to stand down.
• Blatant racism: Is there any other kind? I don’t know Mr. McCartney, but everyone I know knows that racism exists and that it will exist until the end of time, regardless of the absence of drinking fountains for different races.
I was born and raised here and plan to die and be buried here. Liberty County is my home, and I love it here. With that said, the love that I have for this county and this country does not allow me turn a blind eye to its problems. For the record, I’m once again saying that the problems facing our nation are right here in Liberty County as well. The abundance of women and minority elected officials here in Liberty County shows progress, but that, too, does not exempt us from the problems facing our nation.
This letter is not an attempt to have the last word, but to once again express my personal opinion, which is my way of spending my hard-earned two cents.
— Gary Gilliard
Liberty County commissioner, District 5