To the Editor:

I hadn’t planned to write for a while since nothing is really going on at the moment but the usual boring, back-and-forth political hoo-ha. But Brandon Fowlkes’ letter, and probably some of Emily Paul’s column, seem to be addressed my way. It would be rude not to respond.

First, one other thing. I didn’t know Gary Wayne “Booker” Bowen, the gentleman who was hit and killed by a car on April 5, very well. He was a regular at Country Boy’s for breakfast most days, and I would see him there sometimes. I only knew him well enough to say hello and maybe chat a little, but I liked him and regret his tragic death. There was no obituary for him either in the Tupelo Journal or the Monroe Journal. I wish someone who knew him would write a memorial for him. No one’s death deserves to go unnoticed.

Okay, now on letters to the editor, I’m not the only person living in Amory, folks. If you ‘ve got something on your mind, write. As Emily Paul said, the paper will publish it.

Four of my uncles fought in World War II, two cousins served in Vietnam, and my aunt’s brother died on Iwo Jima. They defended my right as an American to speak out on issues when I feel the urge to do so. Your relatives who served defended your rights. When we speak out, we honor the sacrifices they made for all of us and help keep their legacy to us alive.

So, do as Brandon Fowlkes just did, and say what’s on your mind. I’m an old man. I’ll be dead in a few years, so what the heck do I have to gain by being silent? Conservatives march and protest and shout all the time when they are ticked off. I have the same rights that all of you have. If you have a problem with that, too bad. It’s my country, too.

I worked hard for 42 years, paid my taxes, obeyed the laws, exercised my right to vote, and, yes, I will speak out. My family has been proud Democrats for well over a century and I agree with what Will Rogers once said, “I belong to no organized political party – I’m a Democrat.” Democrats have a hundred opinions on a hundred things. Republicans are too dictatorial and paranoid for my taste.

I think we’d be better off with no parties at all, but, since they hang around our necks like the ancient mariner’s albatross anyway, we’re stuck with them. I have voted for Republicans several times. I supported Gil Carmichael in the 1970s and voted for Thad Cochran four or five times. There were decent, honest public servants and I respected them. I have seen very few other Republicans that weren’t pompous, smooth-talking, self-serving blowhards, and I’m not going to vote for them just because Mississippi is a Republican state, and they have an (R) after their names. The same goes for Democrats.

All Republicans are not foolish or evil and neither are all Democrats. Since most people who run for office in both parties do so because they can’t hold an honest job doing anything else, most elections are a crap shoot. You just pick the guy who is likely to do the least amount of harm and that’s the best you can hope for. There are genuinely honest people in both parties, but good luck finding them.

If I don’t like either party’s candidate, I vote for an Independent or a third party. So, surprise, I don’t support Democrats all the time. Neither party has a monopoly on foolishness. Donald Trump, Tate Reeves, Bernie Sanders and Andrew Cuomo are living proof of that. I miss Ross Perot.

If you want better government and better people representing your interests, vote for the best person available, not an “R” or a “D.” If that person lets you down, vote against him the next time. That’s the American way. Parties care about money and power. They do not care about people. They never have and they never will. If you play their game by their rules, you will always lose. I am a skeptic through and through. I don’t trust any of them. Hey, I grew up during Vietnam and Watergate. Of course, I don’t trust politicians.

By the way, the more often you hear any politician brag about their religion or how much they will protect your money, the tighter you had better grip your Bible and your wallet – they’re coming for them.

OK, you can all start complaining about what I just wrote now. Your veteran relatives will be honored when you do it. The country thrives on citizen participation, so do your part to keep America strong – write!

Richard Wilkinson


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