Readers have heard all the arguments for and against. Some of you believe it will erode the moral fiber of the community. It could lead to more drunk driving. Or perhaps you think alcohol sales in the community will cause more domestic violence and underage drinking.
The other side believes alcohol is already present in the community. Money is going to other counties to bring it here. Unregulated sales are present in the county. Some of these voters believe alcohol sales will encourage new business, promote growth in existing businesses and create jobs.
I’ve been through a local option before. I lived in Trigg County when it went wet in 2009. While Marshall County has seen some hurtful discourse in the debate, it’s been relatively civil. Trigg County saw one church ask members to leave when they signed the petition creating the local option. Both counties have seen sign theft and vandalism.
Immediately after Trigg County’s vote, I moved to Paducah. I can’t really say what the social effects were, because I’ve probably spent maybe two hours in the city of Cadiz since then. I do know that the sheriff now has patrols at all hours all week. I know the department now buys new cars, instead of buying used vehicles from the Missouri Highway Patrol. I can’t say if more people are getting drunk, driving drunk, hitting their wives or if underage drinking is rampant.
Am I advocating a yes vote? No. I’m encouraging everyone to take these final 7 days to research the facts of the local option. There is a lot of emotion on either side. Put that aside. It’s easy to vote from the heart, and not from the head. Do the latter. Educate yourselves with news stories from other counties. Advertisements and paid announcements present a message someone wants you to hear. Read The Marshall County Tribune-Courier’s archives to learn about alcohol-related fatalities and crimes. Check the Cadiz Record for fallout and windfalls from the Trigg County local option. Check the Paducah Sun for other alcohol referendums. Other newspapers around the state can tell you more about communities voting wet or dry.
Vote when you are armed with knowledge. Do not let anyone tell you how to vote. Do what you think is right for Marshall County and your community.
Lastly, on July 18, after the matter is decided, the yes and no signs will come down. I’ve seen streets alternate yes-no-yes-no from front to back. It’s about as divisive as it was 150 years ago. Not that one house had a blue sign, and the next a grey. It’s my hope that the winning side remains gracious. I hope the side to come out behind accepts the loss, and everyone realizes they are still neighbors. Whatever the outcome, Marshall County must again unite and work for a better community.