The Ray Gaster Sign – A Call To Action
This sign that Ray Gaster of Gaster Lumber & Hardware recently posted at one of his company’s locations is more than appalling, and as a citizen and member of the business community in Savannah, I simply cannot stand by without voicing an opinion.
We, at The Savannah Tribune, have made concerted efforts to print positive news, and to conduct ourselves with some sense of integrity. The decision to print the photo of this Gaster sign in the newspaper was not an easy one, but I think it is of importance in this case because it can serve as a teachable moment for our community as a whole, and especially for our youth. The Gaster sign should also provide an incentive to exercise the right to VOTE, even though there are many obstacles that have been put in place to serve as a deterrent.
The Gaster message, intended for the President of the United States of America, President Barack Obama, is one that publically reflects disdain, total disrespect for the office of the President, disrespect for the citizens in our area, the state of Georgia, and our nation, and a shameless disregard for how we in Savannah and surr ounding areas will be seen throughout the global society. So, let us reflect and learn some things. My Grandmother often shared words of wisdom, which in my later life I came to appreciate as truth. She often said, “Think before you speak,” and be careful of what you say or write about someone else, especially if it is critical or debasing, because more than likely you are describing yourself. She often said that your actions and words speak loud about your character.
Young people (including my children, grandchildren, and mentees), if you have a desire to serve the public as a businessperson, • Be respectful to your community for they make up your customer base. • Operate your business code of ethics based on the rules of fair play and sound moral values. • Be vigilant. Take inventory and pay special attention to whom and where you spend your money when seeking a service or product. As a matter of principle, support those who respect community and authority and officials elected by the people, like President Barack Obama, just as you should. • Remember what you were taught by your parents (or guardians) and those significant others surrounding you, who through their guidance and examples taught you, and instilled in you the for country, for self, for family, for neighbors, and fellow citizens, and for POSITION OF OFFICE. Yes, show respect for the “position,” even if not for the “person,” and address them with the appropriate title. This is what I was taught – respect for those who hold “positions,” whether I like them or not - from the Boy/Girl Scout Troop leader to the Sunday School Teacher, head clergy, teacher, principal, store manager, fellow businessperson, local or state or national elected official, and by all means, to include, but not be limited to, the highest elected office in our country…the President of the United States, currently President Barack Obama. • Pattern your life to be a role model for other youth, especially for your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and others aspiring to be like you. Because children imitate what they see, be the one who can teach by example that there is an honorable way to agree to disagree without uttering or printing words that are insulting to someone else and debasing to yourself. • Do not harbor hate and disdain for others who are different because hate blinds. It takes away your productive energy, and it can lead to self-destruction. • Whether of the Christian faith, as I am, Jewish, Muslim or of another professed faith, live your faith, and practice the Golden Rule, which I think is a common thread in humankind: “Treat others as you want to be treated.” It is my hope that the Gaster sign has not only caused reflection, and led to teachable moments, but I also hope that the Gaster sign will spark that incentive for you to hit the ground running between now and the November General Election. Each of us should make sure that we personally do all that we can to help as many persons as possible overcome the obstacles and hurdles that have been put in place to disenfranchise voters in the upcoming election.
We can help by getting people registered to vote, helping them to reinstate their voting privilege, to secure the appropriate "ID" (Help them find the documentation( s); arrange to take them to secure the proper ID cards); help them file for the absentee ballot, fill it out and mail it; and provide transportation to the polls.
We can make the Gaster Sign a teachable moment, but more importantly, A CALL TO ACTION FOR NOVEMBER.
I am Shirley Barber James, Chairman and Publisher, The Savannah Tribune, and I approve this message.