Voices

NO SECOND THOUGHTS: I Don’t Belong

By Joel Phelps
The Arkadelphian

I stood at the back wall Saturday evening while Democrats trickled into Henderson State’s Garrison Center for the 25th annual Clinton Day Dinner.

I did the exact same thing when Republicans gathered for the Lincoln Day Dinner. I stood politely at the back, jotted a few notes, recorded the keynote speaker and walked around snapping pictures.

I’m a wallflower. I watch, listen and observe while doing my best to avoid drawing attention to myself.

Apparently my observation skills were skewed for the Democrats’ event, as I originally reported some 500 people were in attendance. Where on earth did I come up with that number? The Republicans reportedly had that many folks for the Lincoln Day Dinner, with two empty tables at the back (I know this because toward the end I rested my feet for a spell and dined on the desserts that otherwise would have gone to the trash).

The Clinton Day Dinner, however, had an entire back row of empty tables. If we’re just going off of tables, that’s still close to 500 people. Minus one point for Yours Truly. Alas! I failed to note there were fewer tables because, unlike the Republicans, the Democrats like to practice social distancing. Deduct another point.

Then I went and reported the wrong number in my original post. For that, take off five points, because I should have asked someone how many were in attendance rather than making a broad generalization compared to the other event.

In actuality, of the 412 tickets sold for the Clinton Day Dinner, 360 showed up.

This was brought to my attention by a prominent member of the Clark County Republican Committee. I’m not going to name any names, but let’s just say I got a “ring” from this person the following day, asking me where I got my figures. I kindly explained that I was basing my estimation off of the Republicans’ event. 

My answer apparently didn’t settle well, because then the person pointed out that the media is forever biased toward “socialist Democrats”. That’s when I barked back because, guy, you ain’t talking to a Democrat or a Republican, and I could care less if both parties fell apart completely.

Truth is, it’s not anyone’s business how I vote or even IF I vote — I’m an outsider, and I’ll be damned if anyone’s going to label me otherwise. So go piss up a rope.

In other opinions, a soft congratulations to Terry David Bateman and his attorney for their victory in last week’s trial. I quite honestly was not up to speed on the details of that case other than what I read about in the headlines in the aftermath of those arrests — I worked in an industrial setting at the time and was quite the hermit for four years. 

What I do know is that the case and its publicity did some pretty major damage to my alma mater, Henderson State University, and in turn didn’t do any favors for my hometown of 17 years, Arkadelphia.

I knew the case was being tried, but opted against publicizing it anymore than it already had been for the very reason of wanting to move forward rather than dwelling on someone’s past. But when I heard Bateman had been acquitted, my stance as a gatekeeper changed. If he truly was innocent, I hope for a speedy recovery for his reputation as well as Henderson’s.

Whether you look at it from the viewpoint of the plaintiff or the defendant, this case just proves that you win some and you lose some. But in the words of Willie Jones from “Friday”: “You live to fight another day.”

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