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J. Brandon Thompson: Vote outcome should not divide citizens

'And for my fellow believers . . . Show love no matter how the vote turns out.' - J. BRANDON THOMPSON
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By J. Brandon Thompson

Today we vote on whether alcohol will be sold legally in Adair County. I know there is passion on both sides of this issue and we have seen and heard many public and private arguments about the merits and disadvantages for pro-alcohol and anti-alcohol sales.

Although I have my opinion on the subject (I and my family are "tee totalers", we don't drink at all, and will vote NO today), I have been silent on the subject until now. So I thought I would write in to put some things in perspective.

I don't know about you, but I have been very disappointed in the actions and arguments from both sides. Both sides have used bogus, wildly inaccurate statements to buttress their side of the debate. Both sides have engaged in the politics of personal destruction and behaved very poorly toward each other at times. Both sides have occasionally sunk to treating their fellow citizens with disdain.

If you believe the Pro-Alcohol sales folks' arguments, they make it sound like we will suddenly have prosperity for all and streets paved with rare gems and gold flakes. If we go wet today, will we suddenly boom with economic activity? Not likely. Will we get restaurants like Olive Garden or Red Lobster or O'Charley's? Hardly. We don't have the population to warrant those types of franchises. Will we have a huge influx of tax money into our county and city coffers? Probably so, but with some counties around us going wet and more almost certainly to come in future months and years, that tax windfall may not be quite as large as it might have been if we were a wet island surrounded by dry counties. Lebanon isn't a gilded city and its been wet for decades, so prosperity for all isn't guaranteed.

The anti-alcohol side makes it sound like we will suddenly devolve into a third world country, filled with crime, poverty, famine, and locust swarms. Will the county go to hell in a hand basket overnight? Not necessarily. There are obviously many problems that come with alcohol, (scripture is full of warnings about the problems associated with it), but people who choose to drink are already doing so here in Adair County, whether you and I like it or not. Legalizing it won't suddenly make people who don't drink decide to take it up, nor will staying dry keep those who want to drink from doing so. Morality is a heart thing, and is therefore extremely hard to legislate.

Again, please understand that I have serious concerns about our county going wet, and there will doubtless be some spiritual and moral consequences if we vote to do so. But, I always feel like the arguments on both sides of any issue suffer when people engage in exaggerations, demagoguery, and name calling. I say all of that to say this: regardless of how the vote goes today, let us not allow something so trivial to divide us as a people. Let us remain a United Columbia-Adair County. Let us continue to stand together, not separated as Pro-Alcohol and Anti-Alcohol, divided as Democrats and Republicans, or kept apart from one another due to anger, or resentment. Let us move forward with a united front.

The only way we will ever solve the problems we face here in Adair County is to do it as one people, not segmented factions.

So, if your side loses today, congratulate the other side on working hard for what they believe in, graciously accept the outcome, and move on. If your side wins today, humbly celebrate your victory and don't rub salt in the wounds of those on the other side. Because whether we have alcohol sold legally here in Columbia and Adair County or not, we will still be neighbors, family, and friends. I refuse to allow beer, wine, or liquor to come between you and me. My position will not change, I will vote no. But, if my side wins or loses, I will treat those who agree with me and those who disagree with me with respect, honor, and dignity, and will continue to pray daily for this city and county, our leaders, and all those who live here. Because the answer to our problems isn't found in a bottle, it's found in Jesus Christ and Him alone. May we be as passionate about Him as we are about our stances on alcohol sales.

And for my fellow believers, those of you who claim to be followers of Christ, let us walk in love with our neighbors and show His kindness and mercy toward others as He has shown toward us. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. The Bible clearly states that it's the goodness of God which leads men to repentance, not constantly yelling at them that they're going to hell. Be kind. Show love no matter how the vote turns out.

Whether we change dramatically tonight or are the same tomorrow morning as we are this morning, we are still Adair Countians, Kentuckians, and Americans, and for that we should all be thankful! May God continue to bless Adair County! Respectfully, - J. Brandon Thompson

This story was posted on 2016-03-22 07:00:06
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