Note: This information is UNOFFICIAL until qualifying is closed.
March 20, 2021 – Open Municipal Special Election
The following is important information for the Saturday, March 20, 2021 Open Municipal Election:
The qualifying period for candidates is Jan. 20-22. Local and municipal candidates qualify with the clerk of court in the parish in which they are registered to vote (contact your local clerk of court for office hours). Federal and state candidates qualify in the executive offices of Secretary of State, Kyle Ardoin at 8585 Archives Ave. in Baton Rouge between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Qualifying fees must be paid in the form of cash; certified or cashier’s check on a state or national bank or credit union; U.S. postal money order; or money order issued by a state or national bank or credit union and must be accompanied by the qualifying form.
The deadline to register to vote in person or by mail is Feb. 17.
The deadline to register to vote through the GeauxVote Online Registration System is Feb. 27.
Early voting is March 6-13 (excluding Sunday, March 7) from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
The deadline to request an absentee by mail ballot is March 16 by 4:30 p.m. You can request an absentee by mail ballot online through our Voter Portal or in writing through your Registrar of Voters Office (other than military and overseas voters).
The deadline for a registrar of voters to receive a voted mail ballot is March 19 by 4:30 p.m. (other than military and overseas voters).
James L. Hinckley, Jr., age 71 of Dodson, Louisiana passed away on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.
Born Sunday, June 19, 1949 in Alexandria, Louisiana, he was preceded in death by his father, James L Hinckley, Sr.
Mr. Hinckley was an avid fisherman and enjoyed his time with his grandchildren. He served his country in the U.S. Army Reserve. Mr. Hinckley worked as a controller at Tremont Lumber Mill but was most proud of his work as administrator for the Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home (OWL Center).
Those left to cherish his memory include his wife of 49 years, Vivian Panzigrau Hinckley; mother, Joyce Cardwell Lofton; daughter, Jennifer Vidrine (Blake), grandchildren, Samuel, Sylvia and Marcie Vidrine; sister, Janice Stroud (Gary) and brother, Justin Hinckley (Jeanette).
Private funeral services (Due to COVID) will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, January 23, 2021 at New Hope Methodist Church with Pastor Paul Stearns and Rev. Joe Evans officiating. Interment will follow in New Hope Cemetery, under the direction of Southern Funeral Home of Winnfield
Serving the family as pallbearers will be Mitchell Vidrine, Jacque Vidrine, Blake Vidrine, Samuel Vidrine, Harold Johnson, and Sam Gunter.
In leiu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to the Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home (OWL Center), the Rotary International of Winnfield, and the Winn Parish Food Bank.
RoyOMartin (ROM) hosted a drive-thru hiring event at the CLTCC campus in Winnfield yesterday.
According to Connie Baker, Sr. Director of Human Resources at ROM applicants, drove in from Natchitoches, Alexandria, Columbia, Olla, Hesse, Saline and Campti to attend the event.
The event was set up to comply with COVID restrictions. ROM set up two tents in the parking lot at the CLTCC Winnfield campus. At the first tent, applicants submitted their resumes, or if a resume was unavailable, participants gave ROM employees their contact information. At the second tent, participants received an interview card.
Every applicant who drove through the event will be contacted for an in-person interview at the Alexandria Workforce office.
“We would like to thank the community for such a great turnout. We look forward to working with you soon! We would also like to thank CLTCC, Fidelis Protective Services, the Winn Parish Journal and the Natchitoches Parish Journal for helping us organize this event.” stated Baker.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health website on January 21, 2020, Winn Parish reported 1,345 (1062 confirmed – 283 probable) total new cases of COVID 19. An increase of 53 cases since 1-14-2021. One additional deaths was reported in Winn Parish increasing the parish total to 34 (29 confirmed – 5 probable). The average number of cases reported daily has increased to 7.6. The current case count as of 1-18-21 is 207.
Confirmed cases and deaths, which are widely considered to be an undercount of the true toll, are counts of individuals whose coronavirus infections were confirmed by a molecular laboratory test. Probable cases and deaths count individuals who meet criteria for other types of testing, symptoms and exposure, as developed by national and local governments.
Winn Correctional Center
According to ICE.GOV as of 1/20/2020 there are 3 detainees with confirmed cases of COVID 19 currently under isolation or monitoring at the Winn Correctional Center (WCC). There have been no additional deaths keeping the total number of deaths of a detainee who died after testing positive for COVID-19 while in ICE custody at WCC at one. There have been 286 total confirmed COVID-19 cases at WCC since testing began in February 2020. These numbers did not change since last week’s update.
There have been no official numbers reported by Winn Parish Sheriff’s Office or LaSalle Management regarding number of positive COVID cases or deaths amongst staff at WCC.
Winn Parish Long-Term Care Facilities
The latest Nursing Home Report dated January 20, 2020, reflects one new cases among residents, and fivenew case among staff reported for this week at Autumn Leaves Nursing & Rehab Center. Winnfield Nursing & Rehab reported no new cases among residents, and no new cases among staff.
Winnfield Nursing & Rehab
Total COVID-19 Cases Among Residents
New COVID-19 Cases Among Residents Since Last Report (1-14-21)
Of Total Resident Cases, Number Whose Infections Began at this Facility
Total Residents Recovered
Total COVD-19 Deaths Among Residents
Total COVID-19 Cases Among Staff
New COVID-19 Cases Among Staff Since Last Report (1-14-21)
Although national politics and the upcoming 5th District congressional election have been getting most of the attention lately, the state legislature will soon meet and convene in regular session at noon on April 12th and adjourn no later than 6:00 p.m. on June 10th. Being an odd-numbered year, this regular legislative session is primarily a “fiscal” session with lawmakers limited to pre-filing five “general” bills that are unrelated to fiscal matters. I want to briefly preview what I feel should be our legislative priorities leading up to the regular session in April. I plan on exploring many of these topics more thoroughly in future articles prior to the start of the legislative session in April.
The hottest topic for the legislature heading into 2021 is redistricting, or re-drawing election lines for elected offices based on the newest census data. The process plays out primarily in the House and Senate Governmental Affairs committees, and will almost certainly require a special session later in the summer due to Census Bureau delays and the complexity of the task. The House and Governmental Affairs has new leadership in chairman John Stefanski(R-Crowley), who played a huge role in crafting the important tort reform legislation passed last year and who will no doubt do a great job with redistricting.
Budget and Tax issues will also take center stage this session and will generate lots of heated debate and discussion. Reforming our personal and corporate tax structure to make it simpler, fairer, and generally lower is crucial in attracting new businesses to our state and allowing our existing businesses to survive and thrive. Centralized sales tax collections and the possibility of a fuel tax increase coupled with reforms to the Department of Transportation & Development are ideas already being discussed by policymakers. It appears that the state budget will once again be facing shortfalls due to decreased revenues caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn, so lawmakers will likely be forced to make tough cuts to state programs or rely on a potential federal stimulus to fill budget gaps.
Expanding access to affordable and reliable high speed internet remains a top priority for District 22 and all of rural Louisiana, and the state legislature must build on the accomplishments of last year until every citizen in the state has access to broadband. Ensuring the integrity of our elections at the state, local, and national level must become a legislative priority for state governments around the nation. Although Louisiana has for the most part done a good job protecting our elections, we must not let our guard down by giving in to the far Left’s demands to expand mail-in voting or allow electronic voting machines and software to be hacked or tampered with.
Continuing the legal reforms started last year and shaking off our designation as a “judicial hellhole” is critical to lowering personal and commercial auto insurance rates, and a significant factor in protecting key industries such as timber and oil & gas that are so important to the citizens of District 22. Personally, I am considering legislation that would potentially reform the way insurers handle property damage claims for homeowners and commercial properties. I have received dozens of complaints from District 22 residents regarding the handling of their claims following Hurricane Laura in August of 2020. The fact that thousands of Louisianans are still fighting with their insurance carrier almost five months after the storm is just unacceptable and must be addressed prior to future catastrophic events that are an inevitability in Louisiana.
Of course, pursuing a proper response to the covid-19 virus in a manner that preserves public health and safeguards individual liberties remains a priority for me. It is also imperative that we continue to advance conservative values and fight for our constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom to worship, and our 2nd amendment right to bear arms. Unfortunately, it appears that it may also become necessary to attempt to pass legislation to defend freedom loving citizens against dangerous and radical ideologies such as critical race theory, intersectionality, LGBTQ extremism, and labeling as “domestic terrorists” anyone who fails to cave to the demands of the mainstream media and the “woke” adherents of political correctness who regrettably wield power in our broken system.
I am happy to discuss any of these issues with the citizens of District 22 that I am honored to represent. You can reach me at (318)765-9606 or via email at email@example.com. Thank you and God Bless.
The following position is currently open at the Winn Parish Police Jury. Applications may be picked up at the Winn Parish Police Jury office.
Job Title: Dump Truck Driver: Department: Highway Department Description: Under direct supervision of Road Superintendent, operates trucks and other light equipment used in construction and maintenance; performs a variety of manual tasks in connection with such operations; and performs other duties as required. This is an entry-level job. Examples of Work: Equipment Operation-Drive or operate such equipment as 5 yard dump, stake, and flatbed trucks, small farm type tractors with blade or bush hog. Provides routine maintenance on equipment, assists in mechanical repairs, performs physical labor as required; maintains simple records of equipment operations; may operate less complex equipment as needed; and services assigned equipment daily. Minimum Qualifications: Training and Experience -Three (3) months of experience operating one or more kinds of equipment specified for the class, OR six ( 6) months to one (1) year of experience in general labor or maintenance work. Licenses and Certificates: Must Possess CDL license.
By Steve Graf Owner/Co-host Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show
Why do I fish bass tournaments? This is a very good question that has a plethora of answers and for me, it’s not just one specific reason; it’s a little more complicated. Let’s dive into this a little deeper. First of all, it’s the high that I get from competition. All my life I have competed whether it’s been in baseball, football, track or a family game of Skip-Bo. I have played every level from high school to college to professional. The one thing that drives me, is the will to win, the will to be as good as I can be! I was born with this desire or instinct to be the best at whatever it is I’m doing. I truly believe that this competitive desire is something you’re born with and I don’t think it’s something that can necessarily be taught. But with this instinct or desire, it can also be a curse. When you strive to be the best and win, you put your heart and soul into it and dedicate yourself to the process with commitment. You’ll do whatever it takes to be or beat the best. You will also be disappointed from time to time with poor finishes. Tournament bass fishing is a sport that you will fail more than you will win.
What drives a bass angler? It’s the rush that any angler gets when he or she pulls their catch out of the live well and places them in their weigh-bag. It’s walking up to the stage with a really good sack of fish and placing them on the scales with all your peers watching as the scales tip in your favor and your weight is announced. It’s standing on a stage and being interviewed by the tournament director as to how you caught that good bag of fish. It’s other anglers coming up and congratulating you on a job well done. There’s a since of pride knowing that you figured out or found a group of fish that no one else did. It’s the feeling you get when they call your name to walk up on stage and receive your check.
Anglers are always looking for an edge, an advantage over their competition. Sometimes it might be a secret bait or maybe a spot they found pre-fishing. It might even be something a little different in their presentation, for example, instead of dipping the tail of their favorite worm in chartreuse dipping dye like everyone else is doing, they use red or blue or maybe even black. No one over thinks and over analyzes what they are doing more than bass anglers! We can over think or over complicate the process of catching a fish that has a brain the size of your fingernail.
But if you look at every top angler or anyone who has had success in the bass fishing world, there’s one common thread or attribute each possess. It’s something you can’t buy off the shelf at your local tackle shop and it’s not a special bait or technique either. It’s not what brand or how fast their boat is. It not the brand of rod and reel their using. You can sum it up in one word…. confidence! The best bass fishermen on the planet all have this one attribute no matter who they’re competing against. A confident angler thinks he’s the best to ever hold a rod. Even Kevin Van Dam was asked one time “What makes you the greatest angler of all time?” His response was….”Confidence.” He truly believes in himself and that every decision he makes on the water, is the right decision. Every professional angler I have ever asked this question has said that there’s no better tool in your tackle box than confidence. It’s not about what bait your throwing but more about the way you work it. There’s a big difference with an angler who fishes a certain bait with confidence than a bait he has no confidence in at all. If there’s one piece of advice I tell young anglers today, figure out what bait or technique you have the most confidence in and when the bite gets tough, go to what you believe in.
For me, it’s a Texas rigged straight tail worm (Zoom Trickworm or V&M Pork Pin) with a 3/16 tungsten weight with a 2/0 Gamakatsu hook. Anytime I’m struggling in practice or an event, I’ll pick up a straight tail worm and go to work. My confidence level when I have this bait in my hand is very high. I feel no matter what, I will catch fish with this rig. I can’t count how many times that this technique has filled my live well and got me a check at the end of the event. Why, because I believe in it and fish it with confidence! It’s my go to bait or technique when things get tough for me. For other anglers, it might be a spinnerbait or maybe a jig. This is something that can take years to figure out, but once you do, you’ll begin to think like a pro and hopefully put money in your pocket. Till next time, don’t forget to set the hook! For more great angling tips, tune in every Monday at 12:00 noon to Tackle Talk Live on Facebook or catch us on our You Tube channel.
One of the many reasons I love high school and college sports is being able to be a spectator of the lively and belligerent student sections. You could say that I am a mesmerized fan of the rowdiness and hilarity that a student section offers. During my oldest daughter’s high school soccer career she has been both the victim of a home team’s student section and a participant of her own home school’s student section. I personally love all student sections. The unrulier they are the better…as long as no one is getting hurt, that is.
I was always impressed when students took the time to obtain the roster from the visiting team in order to learn the names, jersey numbers and stats. That takes pure dedication. I have seen crafty students construct chants using names of the other team’s players in order to get into their headspace and hopefully make them lose their concentration. One of the famed tactics at Natchitoches Central was for the student section to be casually reading the newspaper as the visiting team was introduced on the court. They have even been known to dress as tacky tourists and to don their best toga attire on occasion.
There has been many points given up in the names of distraction and embarrassment.
To the contrary, when those very same student athletes come anywhere near their own home section, the cheering takes on a life of its on. This is where they get built back up and encouraged to carry on the fight to win. There is nothing to be seen except pure innocent school spirit and exhortation. The home team cheering section can make the student athletes feel like they can accomplish anything. You will constantly hear affirming cheers of, “You got this! You can do it! You’re amazing!”
It is food for the athlete’s soul when they hear the refreshing sounds in a home cheering section.
In the game of life, are you sitting in someone’s student section or the home team section? Are you waiting for people to fail and intensely hoping that they fail so big that a whole stadium will laugh? Are you playing on their insecurities and waiting for them to drop the ball? Are you loaded with insults and judgements that are ready to be used in a moments notice? Do you stand up and cheer when they are down in life? It takes a lot of negative energy and preparation to sit in this section. You have to study your opponents and play on their weakness.
There is not much peace in this section and it is very crowded.
Or, are sitting in their home team section and cheering them on so they can continue on their path? Are you sending shouts of acclimations because you know that God will bless them and bless you for being an encourager of others? Are you there as a support system to help them grow and become the child of God that they are meant to be? Do you motivate them and help them feel confident? Are you providing feedback to help them meet their goals and reach others? Do you offer a peaceful place of rest just like an oasis in the desert?
They are lots of empty seats in this section.
We are called to a higher purpose in life and it is to love your brothers and sisters. We are not called to be in a petty student section of life where we cannot grow and help those around us. We are called to be encouragers and set examples for our children and those around us. Imagine how we would be as a church and a community if we only had home team sections.
If you find yourself stuck in the student section all too often, it is not too late to change seats. Seats are not assigned, it is general admission.
“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another just as you are also doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Basic reading and writing skills. High School Diploma 2. Valid Louisiana Driver’s License. 3. Basic knowledge of the various phases of maintenance and repair. 4. Any mechanical certification is a plus (preferred). 5. Additional criteria as the Board may establish.
SALARY: Starting salary – According to parish school salary schedule.
TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT: 12 Months
DEADLINE: Monday, January 25, 2021 4:00 p.m.
WHERE TO APPLY: Linda G. Page, Personnel Director Natchitoches Parish School Board P. O. Box 16 Natchitoches, LA 71458-0016 Phone: (318) 352-2358 Fax: (318) 352-8138
APPLICATIONS: Application packet should consist of a letter of application, resume’, official transcript, and one letter of reference.
JOB VACANCY: Benefits Coordinator and Payroll Assistant
QUALIFICATIONS: Technical College, Associate Degree, or Bachelor’s degree in Accounting (preferred). Proficiency in computer skills Computer Literate (Word, Excel, MS Office)
ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: Responsibilities of the Benefits Coordinator and Payroll Assistant include: Assisting Accountants, Managers, and the Director in the Accounting Department to maintain accurate employee benefit and payroll records.
Assist Payroll accountant preparing payroll runs and payroll reporting. Assist in setting up new hires and maintaining employee record. Processing documents as required for the department. Organize payroll benefits enrollment periods. Work through accounting-related issues with external vendors. Be lead contact with vendors such as TRSL, First Financial, etc., to maintain accurate benefits data. Assist Accounting Department with assigned bookkeeping duties. Lead person in communication with any district employees and their problems with the handling of their payroll. Responsible for wage verifications. Other duties as assigned.
TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT: 12 months
DEADLINE: Monday, January 25, 2021 at 4:00 p.m.
WHERE TO APPLY: Linda G. Page, Director of Personnel Natchitoches Parish School Board 310 Royal Street, P. O. Box 16 Natchitoches, LA 71458-0016
Application packets should consist of a letter of application, resume’, original transcripts from institutions awarding degree, (3) job related references.
Mina King is a high school senior from Louisiana who won second place in the 2021 Inaugural Poem Contest for Students.
The nationwide contest was organized by the Academy of American Poets for which students under 18 wrote their own inaugural poems in anticipation of the swearing in of President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20. Applicants for the Inaugural Poem Project were urged to submit work that reflects “on the country’s challenges, strengths, and hope for its future,” according to the guidelines.
Of Mina’s poem, “In Pursuit of Dawn,” judge Richard Blanco said, “With a sweeping Whitmanesque voice, Mina K. surveys and celebrates the diversity of our nation’s many landscapes: natural, cultural, emotional. The poem reminds us of our collective quest for that proverbial dawn, representing our perpetual desire and hope ‘…to form a more perfect Union,’ as written in our constitution.”
Mina’s grandparents are Frank and Gail Hines of Natchitoches.
In Pursuit of Dawn
I have never heard America described as quiet. Even street lights seem to pulse to some interminable heartbeat beneath buildings endeavoring for the clouds. Our purposeful words often laced in ample volume. In such social engagements all varieties of people run together— words flowing, ideas pooling— eager to share and just as soon to hear. But have ideas—opportunities—collaborations extending beyond the bounds of our borders with reverberations felt through every city, capital, and country ever began with silence and seclusion?
My stepfather created opportunity from the destitute nothing he was dealt, consoled only by the American dream that came as whispers under snow-dappled stars. And from these muffled mumblings he bettered her situation.
He is one of America’s thousands, evidence of excellence obtained by those in pursuit of changing their fortune. And as snow-ridden summits yield to streams and torrid deserts to the placid waltz of grassy plains, each of us— guided by the compass of our will— is free to climb, swim, or walk to wherever we may choose.
All countries of ample years have a shadow beneath their flag cast by historical iniquities amended too late. But how it still catches the propitious wind! Always endeavoring to fly higher and baste the somber shade beneath. As it flutters, we stand reverently for those who can no longer and for those who can no longer and for those who cannot yet. The horizon an interminable stretch of past and future we gaze upon it, in remembrance of what was, yet trekking forward toward what can be.
We are a coalescence of voices, each with unparalleled inflection, yet our conglomeration of somber and elated tones still manages to reach harmony.
The diversity of our country —of opinions and cultures and beliefs— as extraordinary as the vast, varying landscapes. Some stand tall, imposing, confident as the Rockies; the great height of their achievements not formidable but inspiring. Still others humble and hushed as the plains; yet their voice embodied in the breeze touches all. From formidable but inspiring. Still others humble and hushed as the plains; yet their voice embodied in the breeze touches all. From mountains to marshes to mesas, we are united in the embrace of the same two seas. Invaluable are contrasting beliefs bridged by curiosity and a command desire for betterment. A miscellany not of problems but possible solutions are we. Speak up, I implore you, for in your voice we might find the answer.
The American dream— one smile, one sunrise, one decision to pursue an insatiable passion for words, for equality, for science —away from the American reality.
When hardships splatter like ebony ink across the skyline, extinguishing the hues still smoldering from the former day, pinpricks of hope still remain. And in these celestial bodies we find solace, arranging the stars against the somber background into symbols and pictures of progress. And beneath them we endure in pursuit of dawn.
In today’s hi-tech world consider yourself fortunate when and if you receive a handwritten note or card. While I can still appreciate the electronic version of expressing one’s feelings, I long for and value the “old school” delivery of the same expression.
Sitting on the top of my bookcase in my home office, you will find stacks of handwritten cards ranging from thank you cards to birthday cards to cards of encouragement and healing.
When I was a student at Northwestern State, there was a professor, Dr. Leonard Fowler who promoted the idea of sending postcards to the parents of students that would be in my classes one day. Years later after being a teacher in the
public school system, I decided to give it a try. The premise of the idea was to send home a postcard to the parents briefly highlighting some of the student’s accomplishments.
For some of my students, it was a stretch to highlight their accomplishments; however, my role as a teacher was to look for the positives.
Back to the postcards-my principal approached me about teaching two sections of fourth grade science. I attempted to persuade him to change his mind but was not successful in my effort. He had checked my certification to discover that it included fourth grade and besides he said, “You will do a wonderful job for those kids.”
I quickly learned that fourth graders could be like “electric chihuahuas” but once you got their attention, they were all teachable.
As the year progressed and my students developed, I informed the
students that each one of them would be asked to select a science
project to present to the class. They would have to produce a poster and some type of model to go along with the project. This assignment had gone well with my junior-high students and I was determined that these fourth graders could do the same.
One of my first postcards was mailed out for the following student accomplishment.
A child named Sam was kind of withdrawn and it appeared to me that
he just hadn’t blossomed into what I believed he could be. When it was his turn to share his project with his classmates, the unexpected happened. His project was about gliders and how they operate.
Using his model glider, he began his presentation capturing all of his fourth graders’ interest as he spoke passionately about the subject. Without any cue on my part, 29 students slid out of their desks and sat on the floor while they continued to listen to their classmate intently. As I stood in the back of the room, I could only wish his parents could have witnessed his performance.
There’s not much room to express one’s self in detail on the back of a postcard but here is what I remember writing:
Dear Mr./ Mrs. , I wish you could have been here yesterday. Sam did an amazing job presenting his science project and the class really enjoyed it. I hope you will feel free to come by and visit anytime. We would love having you. Sincerely,
The next week I was standing duty in the school cafeteria and caught a glimpse of Sam’s mother-she was smiling from ear to ear. As she approached me with a genuine happiness in her voice, she said, “Mr. ,you will not believe how much that little postcard meant to me and my husband… “
There would be more postcards to follow in my brief teaching career.
Gazing over the basket of cards in the corner of my office prompted me to think about not the number that I have received but more importantly about how many more I should be sending out.
During my sophomore year at Washington & Lee University, in Lexington, Virginia, my mentor, Professor Robert DeMaria, sent me and a fellow Mass Communications major to Winchester, Virginia to cover a town hall meeting. Unbeknownst to us was the fact the agenda featured a highly contentious issue, one that remains the source of division throughout our country even to this very day: the removal of Confederate monuments from public spaces.
So, there we were, two young black kids, pulling into a foreign town, which was overrun by people wearing Confederate regalia, waving Confederate flags, and shouting unpleasantries. Being that I was from Louisiana, I’d encountered my fair share of Confederate flags. However, my classmate was from Brooklyn, New York, and she was terrified. I assured her that I wouldn’t let anything happen to her, and I advised her that I would take the issue up with our professor the following day.
Fortunately, we covered the meeting without incident. When I entered the professor’s office the next morning, he saw the anger in my eyes, and he headed me off at the pass. He stated that he would not apologize for sending us to the meeting. However, he admitted that he owed us an apology for not telling us about the hot-button issue on the agenda. More importantly, he used the opportunity as a teaching moment to stress the point that, as journalists, our duty was to find out what happened in the world on a certain day and to report it objectively to our readership or viewership. As members of the fourth estate, we were charged with reporting the facts and only the facts. In other words, ours was a quest for truth. Which brings me to the 4-Way Test.
Approximately three years ago, my father-in-law, invited me to a lunch meeting of the Rotary Club of Shreveport, of which I am now a proud member. At the conclusion of the meeting, the members and guests stood and recited the test, which provides as follows:
“Of the things we think, say, or do,
Is it the truth?
Is it fair to all concerned?
Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”
Suffice it to say, I was fascinated by such a litmus test. And I was curious as to its origins. As it turns out, the test was penned by Herbert J. Taylor in the early 1930s. Taylor sought to save the Club Aluminum Products distribution company from imminent bankruptcy. He firmly believed that a change in mentality was the first step in righting the ship. After all, as I think, I am. Basically, by establishing a set of guidelines that pointed toward elevated ethics and morals, Taylor changed the overall climate of the company which, in turn, changed the company’s fortunes.
I make specific mention of the fact that the test leads off with the threshold inquiry—Is the thing true? Prior to assessing its equitableness, its benevolence, or its usefulness, Taylor weighed the veracity of the thing. Is it the truth? As I write this article, our President is in the midst of a second impeachment and our country is on the brink of violence, poised to erupt at all corners, not from without, but from within. Yet, one can channel surf the various news outlets and find altogether different versions of the truth depending upon one’s appetite. There is actually a new term for this phenomenon—“alternative facts”. I’m fairly certain my grandmother wouldn’t accept such a term. She’d just call it a lie. For his part, Dan Rather has lamented that we have entered a post-factual America.
As a nation, we’ve recently witnessed an attack, by American citizens, on the very seat of our country’s government. The day will, no doubt, go down as one of the worst in our history. Insofar as attention spans are fickle, the discussion in many circles has pivoted from the mob riot at the Capitol to the fact that various social media platforms have suspended certain individuals’ accounts in the wake of the events of January 6, 2021.
When the events of that infamous day are examined in context, it must be stated that the “Stop the Steal” gathering was organized around an untruthful premise (i.e., that the presidential election of 2020 was somehow fraudulent). Yet, there is no evidence of such. Due to the lack of evidence, courts all across the country have dismissed frivolous lawsuits or, otherwise, declined to hear them.
In fact, U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and Louisiana’s own Bill Cassidy have admitted that Joe Biden lawfully won the 2020 presidential election. When he took the floor to certify Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, Majority Leader McConnell stated, “If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral.” In that same vein, Senator Graham, a staunch supporter of President Trump, noted, “It is over… [Biden] won. He’s the legitimate President to the United States… Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are lawfully elected and will become the President and the Vice President of the United States on January 20.” Similarly, Senator Cassidy has said, “The dozens and dozens of legal challenges from President Trump’s legal team have all been rejected, many by judges appointed by President Trump. Every one of them.” In a word, the allegations that the election was stolen are untrue.
Nevertheless, that untrue allegation has been perpetuated for months and it persists. The rhetoric surrounding it culminated in the riot at our Capital. As the rioters are being rounded up one-by-one, to a person, they now contend that they were invited to the Capitol by the President, and they were there doing what he wanted them to do. This is the defense that has been advanced by the so-called Qanon shaman, Jacob Chansley. Likewise, North Texas realtor, Jenna Ryan, has said the same. Words matter. And all speech is not protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution. In fact, the Supreme Court has held that protected speech does not extend to that which “is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action”.
As one trained to be both a journalist and a lawyer, it truly pains me to witness the lengths to which unscrupulous individuals will go in order to obfuscate basic truth. Notwithstanding the fact that many of us carry mobile devices that possess far more computing power than the mainframe computers that sent the first rockets to the moon, we struggle to unearth the objective truth. That said, it is worth noting that objective truth is to be distinguished from subjective truth. And facts are to be distinguished from opinions.
If we can get to the truth of the matter, we will be better positioned to address the remaining areas of inquiry. We can, then, channel our energies into educating our children for the jobs of the future, training and employing our workforce, providing fair and equal wages to hard-working Americans, addressing our country’s failing infrastructure, eradicating COVID-19, and otherwise providing healthcare to our citizens, among other things. And, in the end, just as Taylor’s 4-Way Test reversed his company’s fortunes by improving upon the decency, ethics and morality of the company’s employees, as citizens, we have the ability to effect the same impact upon our communities and our country as a whole.
Curtis R. Joseph, Jr
The views and opinions expressed in the My Opinion article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Winn Parish Journal. Any content provided by the authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.