Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls
from: althouse.blogspot.com

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Book of Cletis

While the Book of Cletis does offer informed and impassioned comments on current issues, it does a great deal more. Here you can find a diverse collection of fine writing, including fiction and poetry. This post, that Cletis has generously allowed me to reprint in its entirety, reveals the fine spirit behind this cool blog:

A Note From Cletis

I’m thinking about writing a book. I believe I’ll call it, An Activist’s Guide to Affecting Positive Change and the Importance of Naming Names. I know that’s a mouthful but don’t worry about having to actually read it. In truth, I’m not capable of writing a serious analysis of anything and the book will not be coming out anytime soon. Someone more disciplined and studied than myself, however, should give it a shot.
Here’s my story in brief: Fifteen years ago, this past November, my wife and I moved to Scott County, Kentucky just outside of Georgetown. I had some time on my hands so I started attending public meetings and writing letters to our local paper, the Georgetown News-Graphic, and, like the woman in the Ray Stevens’ song when the squirrel ran up her dress during Sunday services, I was “naming names”.
Certainly, I knew better than that. I grew up in a small town in Kentucky and I know the proper place to talk about people is behind their backs. I breached the protocol and I paid for it. “Who does he think he is?” “What makes him think he can come to our community and act like that?” Did you read what he wrote about the mayor?” “Well, I never!” It was about that time my wife suggested we take separate cars when we went out for dinner.
Things were kind of settling down when, against the advice of everyone I know, I questioned Jared Hollon's (then mayor of Stamping Ground) practice of opening council meetings with an invocation to Jesus. Folks, never tick off a child of the Lord. “Pawn of Satan!” “Godless heathen!” “Communist!” “Tar and feather him!” After that, my wife also suggested separate tables when we went out for dinner.
Thankfully, I’m hard to stay mad at and things have gotten better again. More people have gotten to know me and have considered my thoughts and intentions. Most now recognize I have been the catalyst for a lot of positive changes in our community and I believe I have earned the respect of those who are fair-minded.
I came by my activism honestly. I’ve spent much of my adult life as a social studies teacher and taught literally thousands of children. I pounded the Bill of Rights into their heads and did my best to ensure they understood what a lot of adults can’t seem to grasp; each generation of Americans must give life to the words inscribed on our historic documents. You can’t have democracy under glass.
I encouraged my students to become men and women of reason, to be passionate about public discussion, and to have no tolerance for those who want to govern from behind closed doors. Each year my students read Animal Farm and I made sure they understood that when there is secrecy in government there is no accountability; and without accountability those in power become corrupt. There are no exceptions. Not me. Not you. Not Mother Teresa.
Americans have lost sight of that fact and we have become Orwell’s nightmare. We are routinely lied to by our national, state, and local leaders. Slogans are substituted for reason and discerning the truth has become increasingly difficult. Turn on the evening news or pick up the newspaper and tell me we aren’t paying dearly for our lack of informed judgment.
None of us should accept this. We must confront these liars every time we can. We must question them and when they hedge the truth we must call them out publicly. If there is malfeasance or corruption we must work to expose it.
It’s difficult for any one person to affect our national dialogue but we can certainly try. With that in mind, I created The Book of Cletis, for an opportunity to contribute my thoughts regarding issues facing my community, state, and nation. I appreciate those of you who are visiting the site and hope you will spread the word. It is my intention to publish reasoned opinions and insightful political viewpoints in a forthright manner. I have and will continue to name names. (December 14, 2010)

3 comments:

kbuggins68 said...

Thanks, Ulysses for highlighting another cool blog. I read "Ray's Story" over there and it was really a fun piece.

tbelwin68 said...

I like the cut of your jib, Cletis. Do you think Rand Paul is a sign that we're entering the end times?

Cletis L. Stump said...

Thanks for coming by folks. Regarding Rand Paul: Drop by when you have time and read:
"Randy Goes to Washington" 12-18-10
"We Fooled You Again Kentucky" A Tour de Farce 12-08-10

We have Mitch, Rand, and Hal...also, you would not believe our governor and legislature.

Send help.