Jack Simpson - With change must come unity

For many, many months now, Americans have been listening to ethical and unethical office seekers. Snake oil salesmen have been out in full force telling us what we need is change. What change meant wasn't always clear. However, with the sad state of the economy, we agreed we needed modification.

Yes, indeed, no one had to tell those losing their jobs, homes, pensions and the American dream that what was needed was metamorphosis. We sought a shift, a turn, a transformation in our government. Things went from bad to worse, and the depression in the Republican party came out of the closet to scare us to death.

In the election, we felt the need of a new deal, new blood, a shuffle of the cards. Perhaps we may have been a bit hasty in some choices when voting for undefined change. Maybe we didn't do our homework.

We got our share of modification here in Rockdale County. Diversity brought new leaders, most of whom we had never heard of before the election. One newly elected part-time commissioner felt the need to appoint a 19-member transition team in one of Georgia's smallest counties. Some of the religious, civic and business people chosen to be on this transition team do not even live in this community. As the reason to make these appointments, the new commissioner-elect claims he wishes to reach out to his constitutency, and his team will help him to accomplish his goal.

A second newly elected commissioner also has his own transition team. Instead of having the three commissioners we once had running Rockdale County, we now have dozens of new individuals telling us how our county should be administered.

Voters can only hope that in bringing change they have elected practical politicians and not straw men dependent upon unelected transition teams to set policy for our county government. All new officials have been given the benefit of doubt.

And, voters must also trust that career professionals will not be replaced by party loyalists or political hacks. Since many of the new advisors live elsewhere, they may have little or no understanding of this community, its history, or people. Even one of the new commissioners-elect says he knows little of the budget process or issues facing the county. He seems anxious to learn.

So, we begin together at square one. Change we wanted and change we got. Let us hope we are not like the dog that chased the car and then didn't know what to do with it after he caught it!

We expect our newly elected leaders to govern wisely without prejudice. Honorable, responsible officials are always welcomed in any community. We now welcome our new team.

We will not reach lofty goals without sacrifice and unity. There will be no quick fixes, even with a host of advisors. This is a defining moment in our history, and defeatism must be dropped from our vocabulary.

Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author, and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.