Far too often, elected officials can’t find the gumption enough to make tough decisions, choosing instead to fall back on the mantra “the residents should decide.”
Not so in Bladenboro, where town officials on Monday took a strong stand against a request to put a referendum on the November ballot for the sale of beer and wine.
It’s not the town board’s first rodeo with beer and wine in the center ring. Residents have already been asked to vote on the issue three previous times in one form or another, and each time they have soundly defeated the proposition.
You can read more about how the issue unfurled Monday in today’s Page 1 story by W. Curt Vincent, but in a nutshell, each of the seven board members were not swayed one iota to pass the buck on to the town’s voters once again. In addition to understanding that another vote for beer and wine would be nothing more than beating a severely dead horse, they also knew the decision was and should be theirs to make — to give it to the voters again would have been a cop-out.
If there is a second group to give kudos to, it would be the parade of pastors who came before the town board on Monday to plead their spiritual case against another referendum for beer and wine, and the “evil it would create.”
As the Tauren Wells song states, “All the world starts changing; When the church starts praying,” and on Monday the church prayed. Hard. But the line of pastors who came before the board also said or hinted that they weren’t there to change the world, only to keep Bladenboro safe and free from alcohol sales.
The board agreed with them. In fact, at least one board member said that, when the town promotes itself in the future, it can proudly offer one thing most towns in the area can’t … “we are a dry town.”
We applaud the town board and the Christian leaders for their partnership to keep Bladenboro from bending to the constant pressures of those who want do nothing more than to line their own pockets with alcohol-stained money. Each of the economic advantages these people offer up for reasons why the sale of beer and wine will be good have been roundly disproved in other towns or shown to be nothing more than outright lies.
In fact, the one proponent of the referendum request who spoke Monday went so far as to say “We’re not talking about drugs here,” to which we reply … yes you are.
We know the issue is far from over, and it would not surprise us if those leading the charge for beer and wine sales attempt to put a petition together that would force the referendum on the Nov. 6 ballot. But we feel secure in saying that garnering at least 35 percent of the registered town voters’ signatures is a long shot.
Even if they are successful, the chances of the referendum passing in Bladenboro is nil. As it should be.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Let us not become the evil that we deplore.” (Anonymous)