Commentary

Really are we going there?

I was recently disturbed by some comments made on the Weaverville Tribune Facebook page. First, let me say I’m in no way a fan of Facebook and if it ended today, I would not shed a tear. With that said, in today’s world, it is a necessary evil that we use to promote the newspaper.
As I was saying, I was disturbed by several comments made to our social media post “Mayor’s response to Arrest Report article.” In those comments, some followers made several disparaging remarks about the Weaverville mayor, Al Root. The comments centered around his northern birth and heritage and that he was not born here in the South which, I guess, to these people somehow made him unqualified to be the mayor of Weaverville.

The issue all arose when the town’s attorney, on the direction of the mayor, directed the police department to start redacting information found on arrest reports. The town’s new policy redacted far more information than any other law enforcement agency in the area. The Tribune took issue and wrote an article as well as a commentary, the publishing of which drew a response from Mayor Root.

The posting of his response to Facebook is what attracted the negative comments on the mayor’s northern heritage. One FB commentator said, “How did he become Mayor of a small Southern town, to begin with? He seems to think its [sic] his way or no way. Let me tell you something Buster, we love our town and don’t need someone from a borough of NY City coming in here telling us how it was done up nawth [sic}. Dayamn [sic] carpetbagger.”

Another said, “Why is someone from a Northern part of the Country, a mayor in Weaverville? Is this a Yankee led town now?”

While true that the mayor didn’t have the good fortune of being able to call himself a southerner by birth, I can attest that he has unquestionably always acted honorably as a southern gentleman in all the dealing I and this newspaper has had with him in the nearly 15 years that I have known him. This fact alone would not allow him to qualify as a “carpetbagger.” The mere fact the person who used the term shows they are ignorant of what a carpetbagger was or as to what it meant.

Please keep in mind that it is only by the grace of God that we who were born in the South ended up with that legacy to claim. Those who came here from the north looking for that same culture we enjoy, only by grace, should be embraced — no matter where they’re from, be it from up north of the Mason-Dixon line or from another country.

Just because one disagrees with the mayor on this particular issue, as I do, doesn’t mean we have to start name-calling. Another commentator pointed out in another comment, “It doesn’t matter where the mayor is from and being nasty is not necessary either. I’m born and raised here.” And yet another respondent hit the nail on the head saying, “Some of the commentators here haven’t the foggiest knowledge of what they are talking about. The Mayor and his wife have been practicing law in downtown Weaverville for over 25 years as Root & Root.” He then pointed readers to an online bio of the mayor.

I’ll admit even in our disagreement over this issue that the mayor has been more civil than these folks who have started name-calling. I’ll admit, if not careful, this is something we southerners like to do when we learn of a person’s northern birth and upbringing.

I recall one conversation I had with a man in the locker room at the gym whose accent was unmistakably north of Virginia. Asking how he was liking it here in the South, he replied, “It’s nice, but there are too many southerners.” Well, now southerners should show our friends from the north all due hospitality since it’s what we’re known for, but for this man I made an exception. Not by being ugly, but just by not speaking to him again. Mommy said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it.”

No, Mayor Root has acted more like a southern gentleman throughout this matter than these commentators who’ve tried to play the “you’re not a southerner, so you don’t understand” card. If you want to blame Root for anything, it would have to be for being a lawyer. Which by the way is what he is, a lawyer. Root was, for years a prosecutor, but has successfully practiced law for the last nearly three decades here in Weaverville. Along the way, he has been a member of the town council for years and mayor twice. That doesn’t happen because he pulled the wool over the eyes of the slow southerners here, but because he is a man of integrity, honor and outstanding leadership skills.

When I read those comments on Facebook, I thought, “Really, are we going there?” There are many people you can whip out the “southern born, southern bred” thing and use on and it be well-deserved, but Al Root is not one of them and if you think he is then you don’t know the mayor.

Kudos to the Weaverville & Woodfin governments

Just a quick kudos to both the Weaverville Town Council and the Woodfin Board of Aldermen for their actions taken at their recent meetings.

First, to the council members of Weaverville for their vote on the new community center. The council refused to be shortsighted on the long-term benefits of going with the original design for the new Lake Louise Community Center. They rejected an effort to save a few dollars in its construction, which would have drastically reduced the building capacity.

Second, to the Woodfin Aldermen who voted to support the Craggy Mountain Line Railway which can become a significant destination venue for the town. Their vote to write a letter of support, along with buying two train cars to donate to the non-profit historic railroad, while a small gesture, was a good move which will hopefully pay big dividends for the town. Also, kudos to Alderman Ronnie Lunsford for his donation of the two dollars needed to buy the cars, saving the taxpayers of Woodfin the two dollars.

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Clint Parker

Publisher & Editor Weaverville Tribune

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