Dec. 1
2, 2008
By Roger Emile Stouff

Yeah, this is a P.S. Gimme a break, my memory isn’t very good when I’m frustrated and hacked off, and I thought of a couple other reasons to be disgusted.

This has been the most dismal, disappointing Christmas in the City of Franklin I can ever remember, and everybody I meet agrees with me. Of course, they don’t go out and do anything about it, they just complain uselessly.

I’ve been back at the Banner for about 10 years now. On many occasions, as a journalist, I went to Main Street to cover the annual Christmas lighting ceremonies. And many times, it was cold as hallelujah, brethren out there. The wind would whip down Main Street, or crossways at Commercial Street, and freeze you in your tracks. Sometimes, it was so bitter cold you saw everybody jogging in place to keep their body heat up.

We’d have a ceremony and then they’d light, with great fanfare, the Christmas tree at the courthouse square, and the boulevard would light up, too, and the decorations on all the utility poles and it would be like Christmas officially arrived in Franklin.

Then everybody’d walk downtown and stay all evening. There would be a bandstand, and there’d be music, and presentations and the like. Eventually, Santa would come through on a fire truck, and then we’d all go huddle in the foyer at Meyer’s and await announcement of the winners of the annual Christmas shopping sprees.

Even when freezing to death, I’d stay with the two or three hundred other folks out there because it was just dadgum great to be there.

Fast-forward, Christmas, 2008.

We had no Toys For Tots drive to speak of. We had no Christmas lighting ceremony. The boulevard looks about like the way people feel: Disgusted and beaten.

It’s like the Grinch stole Christmas in Franklin, and no sad little girl in pajamas is going to melt his heart and get it back.

We have sunk to hitherto unthinkable lows.

There is absolute, unequivocal failure of leadership at the elected and private citizen levels that has never been more acutely demonstrated than this Christmas season in Franklin. I don’t give a jolly rip who gets mad about it, the fact remains: Nearly everyone dropped the ball repeatedly and let this community down time and time again and it has got to stop.

Many of us are sick and tired of the lack of depth and the indifference of public servants in this community. Their cavalier attitudes to the things that have made this community happy and proud in past years are astonishing. Rather than face up to problems and solve them, they just arbitrarily cancel everything, like little dictators, or pass the buck. They believe their road projects and water and sewer issues are the only important ones, and they are blind, totally blind to the cloud of despair and depression that has settled over this city and this community this holiday season. It is an unforgivable breach of their duties.

The local merchant’s association tried to take the reins of some of this, and were sabotaged by the officialdom’s ineptitude more than once. It’s like we can’t win for losing.

Yet you try to speak to the people you elected to serve your community, and they go off on you in an arrogant temper tantrum or they just blow you off and ignore you completely. They ask where do you get the nerve to tell them what to do?

They actually ask that. They actually don’t know.

How long are you going to tolerate being robbed of everything this community had going for it?

I cannot remember tourism being discussed except in passing at a city meeting, though it was a major platform among most if not all the candidates during the election. Funny how fast they forget. The only time I recall decorations being discussed was when they passed the buck to the merchant’s association (which, by the way, has begun the long and expensive work of building them.)

Next year, I would hope beyond all hope you would hold all concerned accountable for your community. I doubt you will, sad to say. I suppose you’re either intimidated by their temper tantrums or pacified by their excuses. Like lemmings, they’ll lead you right over the cliff to oblivion.

And that’s it. P.S. over.

P.P.S. Merry Christmas, if you can manage it.