COLUMN: Vote seekers not only sinners in parade

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Chamber’s new-found bravado a thing of beauty

By Ben Carlson

Column as I see ’em ...

Did it bother you to see campaign floats during Saturday’s Christmas parade?

I make a living commenting and writing about local politics, so when I saw those floats go by I knew right away that some folks were going to object.

That’s fine, but let’s keep some perspective on this.

Yes, a Christmas parade is supposed to be about Christmas and, by proxy, celebrating the birth of Christ.

If that were the yardstick by which this or any other Christmas parade is measured, then it failed whether politicians pimped for votes or not.

Sure some churches participated and included manger scenes and the like in their floats, but the vast majority were either business promotions or gags designed to draw eyes and hopefully money from spectators.

Nothing wrong with that, really, but let’s not chastise sheriff candidate Rex Burkhead or the other candidates for somehow wrecking the parade.

That sort of false bravado smacks of holier-than-thou righteous indignation, especially when so many in society today place far more faith in politicians than Christ to improve their lives.

In the future, city officials should spell out in no uncertain terms that candidates and their floats are not welcome in the parade.

Then we can line the streets to see the advertisements, funny costumes and incumbent politicians without offending anyone’s Christian values.

Speaking of bravado, how about the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce showing up in force to support its members during last Thursday’s board of adjustments meeting?

Those who say the chamber is a do-nothing organization not worth the price of admission may have had a point in the past, but no longer.

Hey, I’m on the chamber’s board of directors and used to feel that way myself. But during the past year or so, the chamber board has worked to develop a voice in this community and is no longer willing to sit idly by while the business community takes it in the keister, be it over sign problems or anything else.

I attended Thursday’s meeting as a reporter and kept my yap shut, but fellow board members and others sure didn’t and that’s a beautiful thing.

Oh, there were some strong comments made and some serious sniping from the crowd, but it was by and large a very respectful show of support and one that I hope is repeated as often as necessary.

The business community in Anderson County can be a significant force for positive change, but only if it sticks together and supports each other.

That’s happening now, and it says here that if you’ve shunned the chamber’s membership overtures in the past, you might want to change your mind and climb aboard.

Speaking of positive change, it was both enlightening and encouraging to hear the responses from the mayor, judge-executive and EDA chairman about their combined efforts to bring jobs to Anderson County.

With an unemployment rate in the bottom third of the state, Anderson County is reaping the bedroom community oats it has sewed for decades. There’s no getting around the truth in that statement, and we’re going to have to take our lumps like big boys and girls.

But the bad economy can’t last forever (I hope) and when recovery arrives, here’s hoping Anderson County is poised to take advantage of its superb location.

To be ready, it’s no secret that businesses looking for new locations won’t even consider anything but a turn-key location that is move-in ready.

We don’t have one of those, and getting one established should be a top priority.

Congressman Ben Chandler wisely opposed his party’s efforts in revamping health care, but it will be interesting to see how he handles his unwise support for the cap and trade legislation that was based in large measure on climate change data that has since been shown to be, well, fraudulent.

In an ironic inconvenient truth of its own, a British group charged with collecting temperature data was exposed recently when a hacker uncovered detailed e-mails about how the group was cooking its own books.

There’s still plenty of time between now and next November and, taking for granted he won’t be challenged in a primary, Chandler has time to atone for his cap and trade support.

While the climate might not be warming as much as previously claimed — it’s cooling, actually — the heat will certainly be on by November for those who fell too closely in line with some of the Obama administration’s efforts to “change” America.

E-mail Ben Carlson at bcarlson@theandersonnews.com.