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When you can't debate the facts, resort to personal attacks

By Chatham Resident
Posted Wednesday, September 27, 2006

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Chatham County, NC - When you can't debate the facts, resort to personal attacks. It would make a great bumper sticker for some in this county. Is this what honest discussion amongst people of good will has devolved to? Is it any wonder that someone wishing to post a view contrary to the vocal minority would wish to remain anonymous? Whether it is in a discussion of development, big box stores, prayer during county meetings (yes, I have posted before), or any other controversial topic, can you please, please keep you emotions in check, leave out the personal attacks, and stick to debating the subject at hand?

How hard is it to visit the State Treasurer's website (referenced, but not linked to) and discover how much stock they own in Wal-Mart? How hard is a Google search on "WalMart charitable giving 2005"?

Why must you automatically jump to the conclusion that anyone debating a subject based on logical arguments must be a corporate shill? Do union shills ever get paid to voice their views? Why does the funding of wakeupwalmart.org come from the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union? (See bottom of page, http://www.wakeupwalmart.com/about/ .) Don't you think that that could possibly bias their message (and thereby yours)?

What have the unions done for Ford, GM, A&P, Kmart, Sears, WinDixie, etc. except drive them toward, and in some cases into, bankruptcy? How many "living wage" jobs can bankrupt companies support?

As former captain of my debate team (don't I wish they still taught that in schools!), there are certain rules that civilized discussion must abide by.

Anything outside honest presentation of the facts becomes rhetoric and should be discounted by honest, unbiased observers. Anecdotes are admissible, but not considered evidence of fact. Emotional arguments are no more correct than logical ones.

I put my dog in this fight because it seemed to be a discussion that had gone far beyond the real facts relating to real people and become an emotional monster. Real people, right in this county, benefit from the Siler City WalMart. Over 200 people work there during any given year.

Thousands more shop there. They contribute thousands of dollars every year to Chatham Together, the Rotary, Chatham Senior Programs, CORA, the United Way, the Siler City Kiwanis Club (now defunct), the local schools, Boy Scouts, etc. Just stop by the customer service area and look at all of the pictures.

Their shopping center is THE ONLY thriving commecial center in the town, and that is not because they drove the other businesses out. The town had begun its decline well before WalMart broke ground. The businesses that survive and thrive outside the 64/401 intersection are those that are run well, serve needs for their customers that WalMart will never be able to fill, and understand how they fit into our ever evolving economy. Maybe WalMart put the blacksmiths and wagon dealers out of business that once were staples of the downtown, but somehow I doubt it. Times change and the economy adapts due to the free will and choices of individuals.

Will Chatham be different if we get another big box at 64/15-501 or 15-501 and the county line? Sure it will. But will all of the differences be bad? Is the glass half full, or half emtpy? Are we going to sit around while the lemons rot, or are we going to make lemonaide? Are we going to pettily snipe at each other or debate the issues like adults?

I personally feel that WalMart has gotten as big as they have because they meet the needs of more people than any of their competitors do. In a capitalist system, that is how you succeed, i.e. help the most people possible. Whether you believe WalMart helps or hurts, the world has voted with their dollars and WalMart wins hands down. Should they cease to perform that function, there are plenty of competitors (Target, Meijers, Kroger, HEB, Publix, Petsmart, Best Buy, Walgreens, or good old mom and pop, etc. ( see money.cnn.com/2005/03/22/news/fortune500/winners_walmart/ ) just waiting in the wings to earn our business.

Who wins? The consumer does because everyone is fighting to serve our needs.

Do I want them fighting in Chatham County for my hard earned dollar?

You bet I do.

 
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