You outsiders should go back where you came from! (Editorial)
8-27-12 Editorial by John Ovenden*
I was expressing my opinion about the wet/dry issue on facebook yesterday. (THIS IS NOT ABOUT ALCOHOL). Not everyone agrees with anyone’s opinion. While discussing this with numerous people, I received a private message from a guy named Albert Thigpen. I’m posting this because I think the mentality shown in his comment needs to be addressed in Madison. Plus the fact that we aren’t friends in life or on facebook, this was completely unprovoked or solicited.
Here is what his message said:
“Just my opinion, you outsiders that have slithered into our community and want to change it should go back to where you came from, unless you are unwelcome there. Just my opinion.”
I never responded to him.
Minutes later, I was flooded with messages from friends telling me this guy was talking about me in some “anti-outsiders” group on facebook. I checked it out. What I found was a group, by category, but what seemed more like his personal grandstand with his wife liking everything he says and one other follower that shares his idea of the perfect version of Madison. I realized very quickly that he probably hasn’t any influence in the Madison community; however, his line of thinking flourishes here.
As I read his postings, I recalled hearing this mentality from several people over the years. It’s as narrow minded as a person can be in my opinion. I mean, exactly how long does a person have to live in Madison to lose their “outsider status”? Why are these people afraid of people that weren’t born and raised here?
I’ll tell you what I think…It’s EGO. God forbid someone outside of Madison has more knowledge of the world and its workings! Sometimes people just “can’t see the forest for the trees”, but sometimes it’s like people have coffee weeds growing out of their chest and they can’t see at all.
Example: I came to Madison almost ten years ago. Having lived in a handful of large cities and having traveled around the country, I came here with a broad view of how people live in different places in America. After deciding to get involved in political action in Madison a few years ago, I quickly learned what Madison was yearning for: an unbiased news source that would inform people of all of the story, not just a friend’s side of a story. Many people complained about this problem but few attempted to do anything to change it. I spent about a month going over some ideas with some friends in Atlanta and Madison Florida Voice was born. I knew little about news and reporting but knew what I was seeing wasn’t working.
See, an “outsider” can have good ideas and just might be able to contribute to the Madison community from their experiences in life. To automatically discredit someone because they weren’t born and raised here reminds me of Granny on the Beverly Hillbillies. She couldn’t understand why someone wouldn’t want to bath in Lye soap and didn’t want any “city-slickers” telling her different. I grew up in Atlanta and managed to come here and fix a problem that had been going on for decades, according to almost everyone that I have met.
To the people that share these “anti-outsider” views:
Be a little more open minded. I understand being proud of your local heritage but, let’s face the fact that Madison is not growing, it’s going the opposite direction. There is almost nothing for graduates of high school or even college to do here. We have many people that want this to change but a lot fewer that are willing to do anything to help make that happen. Just because you have lived here for generations doesn’t mean YOU know what’s best for EVERYONE. Open your mind. Your mentality is very antiquated. You are part of the problem.