Once again Newton County has found itself in an embarrassing situation, and once again its leadership needs to be called into question.
District 1 Commissioner John Douglas found himself making a public apology last week after making racial and discriminatory remarks concerning a controversial Facebook post.
After seeing a photograph of a black woman using an American flag to wipe her rear end, Douglas wrote “she is just a cheap, street walker knee grow who lays down for white men.”
Racist, sexist, misogynist, in 15 words Douglas managed to show the world all those personality traits.
In his apology before the county commission, Douglas attempted to portray himself as being just so angry at the treatment of the flag that he could not control himself.
Sorry, but that's not a legitimate excuse for someone who presents himself as a community leader.
Douglas spent 17 years in the U.S. Army. He led young men and women of every race and color. You would think someone with such training would be capable of controlling his anger in any situation. Apparently not.
The commissioner would have us believe this is an issue revolving around patriotism. And yet his Facebook comments never once mention the flag, or the nation, or his love for either.
We understand why what that woman did with the flag, a symbol of a country that John Douglas and others fought for, infuriated many.
But the commissioner's response was an example of what not to do. Douglas responded to a political statement with a personal attack that says a lot about his perspective on race, sex and women.
Given those perspectives, and an apparent inability to control anger over something as benign as a photo on Facebook, how now can we trust other decisions that will be made on behalf of the citizens that John Douglas represents, especially if a particular issue infuriates him?
After the revelation of Douglas' actions, there were some who called for his resignation. Frankly we don't think he has the strength of character to take such action, so won't bother with asking that he do so. We do, however, hope that his constituents and the residents of Newton County will join us in outrage over the commissioner's comments.
The truth is that a county employee making the same comments on a public forum likely would be fired for doing so. Douglas should not be allowed to simply shrug off such inexcusable behavior.
Newton County has been through enough over the last year to year and a half — the way the 2050 Plan played out, the public plays for power, the removal and reverse of course of a commissioners fiduciary powers, landfill, reservoirs, and Tommy Craig.
We need light at the end of this tunnel.
We are seemingly at desperate times. We implore our representatives to step up and lead. We also implore those who can lead to serve our county. We need as many people as possible to vote in every election, and we need as many people as possible who have the quality of leadership to run for office and be willing to serve.
Let this not just be another blemish on Newton County. It is time for a tipping point.
These are tough times, and we need representatives who can lead when the situation is difficult.