Over the past 16 years that Ron Cross has served as chairman of the Columbia County Board of Commissioners, residents have become accustomed to bracing themselves when they open their water bills.
It’s not the water rates they are paying that are scaring them.
It’s the message from Cross that they might find inside their bills that disturbs some residents.
The fact is, Columbia County taxpayers never know what they’ll discover inside their bills each month because Cross likes to preach politics in the county’s monthly insert.
Sometimes it’s a vague commentary such as complaints about the “fake news” plaguing our country.
Other times, it’s more specific such as the national debate over transgender people in bathrooms.
A few months ago, under the tagline “Political Correctness,” Cross actually decided to talk about his opinion on gendered bathrooms.
“Can you believe that we have reached a point where we must have direction on which restroom to use?” he asked. “It seems to me it is very simple: you go to the restroom that matches the equipment that God gave you. Regardless of how I may feel, nature has already made a determination.”
But this month’s newsletter that was sent out last week might have officially taken the cake.
Cross begins the newsletter by innocently talking about what a shame it was that the county had to cancel its Memorial Service for the 16th anniversary of Sept. 11 because of Hurricane Irma.
The chairman talked about how after such disasters, “respect was high for our police, firemen, emergency responders, and military.”
Then, out of the blue, Cross decided to go on the attack.
“Where has that unity and respect gone?” Cross asked in the newsletter. “Today there is open hostility to the police, and social media has made it fashionable to mock one and all, including our glorious flag and national anthem. No one gets any respect, regardless of position.”
All right, so Cross is upset about those NFL players not standing for the national anthem. A lot of people understand that sentiment, even though it doesn’t really belong in the water bill.
But then Cross begins to analyze the issues facing our country and doesn’t just get political. He actually begins pointing fingers and criticizing Democrats throughout this country.
Even those in his own backyard.
“People are fired for almost insulting someone, and the entire country is so emotionally fragile that everyone is afraid to breathe,” Cross wrote in the October newsletter. “Democrats continue to seek a safe haven after their disastrous election, and their current liberal playbook is simply to insult and ridicule the President. Of course, he makes that very easy. Another thing, ‘Will Hillary ever go away?’”
Wow. There is nothing subtle about that comment.
“It seems the political divide is affecting almost all aspects of our lives or is it possible that our personal opinions are causing our political divide?” Cross asked.
He then discusses an article in the Wall Street Journal that talks about the political affiliations of individuals and how those people regard certain topics such as climate change, the National Rifle Association and religion.
(And you crazy residents thought you were just going to pay your water bill.)
All of a sudden, Cross’ letter goes beyond just politics. It discusses the differences between people’s culture, history and languages
“The whole truth is that we are a divided nation because we invite and encourage division without restraint,” Cross wrote. “There is certainly some strength in diversity, but there is a heck of a lot more in unity.”
Cross apparently doesn’t appreciate the melting pot theory. He may also want to recognize that organized hatred is, in fact, unity.
So, be careful what you wish for, Mr. Chairman.
“We invite people into our country and encourage them to bring their cultures, their religions, their habits, and their differences,” Cross wrote. “We do not even require them to go through the immigration process. We do require that they learn our language, our culture, our history, and our laws. We wait until they break laws and then they try to explain why.”
Cross might as well have inserted a “bad hombres” comment right here.
“We allow them to vote without any education of our political system; we allow them to drive without being a citizen or having a visa; we pay many of them not to work and then wonder why they are so many living in poverty,” Cross wrote. “We do not call them illegal immigrants anymore, but ‘undocumented citizens.’”
With this next line, Cross finally writes something that’s 100 percent accurate.
“I know this is not politically correct…” Cross began.
That’s right, Mr. Chairman, so you might want to stop writing.
But he continues.
“I agree with the quote attributed to President Teddy Roosevelt, ‘The term hyphenated-American is the greatest threat to the United States of America,’” Cross wrote. “We do not need Italian-American, German-American, or African-American. We should all be American. We should all speak the same language, know the same history, observe the same language, know the same history, observe the same main culture, and obey the same laws.”
Wear the same clothes, eat the same meals and drink the same Kool-Aid… if you know what we mean.
“Remembrance of individual family traditions is fine, but if their culture, customs, and politics were so great, why are they seeking a change?” Cross asked.
Apparently, this is Cross’ take on what it means to be an American.
Everyone is the same. No one is different. And if you are different, you need to conform to match the majority.
“It is probably good to know the problems of the nation as a whole, but please do not let that story dampen our appreciation and enjoyment of Columbia County,” Cross wrote. “Sadly, national and state events will someday and someway trickle down to us, but maybe our own national and state officials can make some long-term corrections. America remains the land of opportunity, and I totally believe that the people of Columbia County work very hard to stay united.”
As more and more new residents move into Columbia County from all across the country and the world, Cross is showing that he doesn’t mind isolating those who are different.
Cross has officially proven it is time for a new chairman of the commission.
Sixteen years of the same is more than enough.
Change is good.