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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide for Reeves County, Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas


Mac McKinnon

March 24, 1998


By Mac McKinnon

Africa is a continent

of mystery, intrigue

President Clinton is en route to Africa. As I recall, no
American president while in office has set foot in many of
the countries Clinton is going to visit on the African

Clinton, while he has had his troubles, seems to be very
active in getting the United States involved in the world
and help out with our worldwide image.
Africa is our planet's largest continent. It has tremendous
natural resources and spectacular beauty, at least from what
I've heard and read.

I've never personally had the opportunity to see that
continent but it seems so vast and varied that it boggles
the mind.

I realize that most Americans are like me and don't know
much about Africa. I'm hoping that the President's trip will
bring out information that will help us all understand more
about what is called the "dark continent."

The reason it has that name is that very little information
gets out of that country and so it is a mystery.

Many African countries over the time of civilization have
been under colonial rule, i.e., the rule of other countries.
Thus, the people who live in those countries have not been
allowed to develop and control their own destinies.

We have all heard about dictators who have taken over after
colonial rule and oppressed the people under them, sometimes
using terror and bloodshed to keep everybody under control.

Most people know by this time about South Africa where the
white people originally from Europe practiced racism to make
fortunes. We all know about the diamonds and gold mined in
South Africa along with other natural resources abundant in
that large country, one which the president plans to visit.

The United States, along with religious organizations, has
attempted to make a difference in Africa but an educational
system that will make Africans self sufficient just hasn't
existed, at least according to my information. The Peace
Corps is a good example and I understand it has helped.

A lack of education is one of the problems in many third
world countries. They simply don't know how to take care of
themselves because of a lack of education and training.

There also seems to be such a nomadic existence in a large
part of Africa where no one settles down to establish local
improvements. Rather, tribal people follow the rain to
support their livestock and crops. They simply haven't
adapted when shown there is a better way.

Long standing customs of tribes have prevented many
permanent settlements and I can understand and appreciate
that situation. I certainly don't want to see centuries-old
traditions and cultures ended just so people can emulate
life as we know it.

However, I also don't like hearing about the millions of
people who die due to lack of food and water and often times
resulting rebellion that causes many deaths.

What can be done? I simply don't know enough about what goes
on in the many countries of that continent to have an
answer. And that is probably the reason many other people
far smarter than me haven't been able to solve those

One reason Americans have never paid much attention to
Africa is that most countries there simply aren't economic
powers on the international scene. However, with the rich
resources it would seem that situation would change sometime
in the not to distant future.

We need to pay more attention to Africa just like we need to
pay heed to the developing countries of Southeast Asia. Our
lives are controlled by what goes on around the world,
whether we like it or not.
And the best way to use this situation to our advantage is
to be keenly aware of what is going on.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mac B. McKinnon is the Editor and Publisher
of the Pecos Enterprise. He can be e-mailed at:


Information about West Texas sought

To the Editor:
My 5th grade son is working on a report and presentation on
West Texas. He chose this because he wanted to learn more
about where his dad grew up. His cousins, aunts, uncles,
and grandparents are still in Pecos.
For his report he needs some specifics about geography,
wildlife, ancient cultures, etc.

Could you help us with any of these subjects, and if not,
could you possibly point us in the right direction?

Thanks for your consideration,
Camille Sparkman


President's behavior should be above reproach

Dear Editor,
Why Character Counts

You've heard it at work, at the gas pump, at the corner
store, and most likely while you're home alone watching a
few minutes of the tube, "It doesn't mean anything." Well,
it's time someone stressed the point; to most people,
character does count.

Character has always counted. Since the days of childhood
we've been told that character is the only thing that can
never be taken from you, it can only be given up. It
troubles people greatly that President Clinton takes this
time-valued honor so lightly. The president must be able to
get on with the job of running the country. We know it's a
full-time job, we set it up that way. But, how can a man
focus his attention and energy on something so serious when
he is sidelined defending himself against the accusations
that he had an affair with a 21-year-old intern, or the more
serious charge that he sexually assaulted a woman in the
corridors of the White House. Or the most serious charge of
all, that he abused the power of his office to commit
perjury and perpetuate a cover-up? He can't do both. Anyone
who has ever had to defend himself in court can attest to
the fact that it's a full-time job. And with our litigious
society, that's quite a few people.

Mr. President, you are right about one thing, the American
people elected you to a job. But, by your acceptance of the
high office of president, you also accepted certain
responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is trust.
When a woman comes to work in the White House, the most
secure office in the country, she must feel completely safe
and at ease to do her work. Safe from the advances of any
man, especially from the one she should be able to trust the
most, the most powerful man in the world. As you well know,
power draws young women like a magnet. This power has the
ability to blind people to reality. So you see, it does not
matter if the relationship is consensual, we elected you to
a higher calling. You must be above reproach and avoid any
appearance of impropriety.

Strong enough to resist the advances of a beautiful woman,
strong enough to see through and weed out the gold diggers
and the power mongers.

You see, Mr. President, not only must the weak be protected
from the powerful, but also the office must be protected
from those who would seek to rob its power. Just as some
people must be protected from those that prey upon them, so
the office must be protected from those that prey upon it.
As the chief law enforcement officer in the land, that is
your job. You must be the policeman, not the thief.

None of this mess is Monica Lewinsky's fault, or Kathleen
Willey's fault, or heaven forbid as has been mentioned,
Paula Jones' fault. It is your fault Mr. President. We know
you are only human. The temptations of the flesh are strong.
This is where the character part comes in. The solution lies
not only in being able to handle a situation when it becomes
a problem, but by being able to recognize that it might
become a problem and not putting yourself in that position.
Men of character not only extricate themselves gracefully
from precarious situations, but also try never to let
themselves get into a position where their character will
come into question.

Many consider an unbridled libido as a character flaw. Most
men of greatness have achieved that greatness not only by
what they've done but also by being able to keep their
libido in check, remembering that there is a much greater
cause at stake. Millions of dollars have been spent on
counseling to correct the trait of forcing unwanted sexual
advances upon another person because it is considered
detrimental to our society. By letting your proclivities get
out of hand, you have also betrayed your cause.

Just as you were elected to defend this country, you were
also elected to defend the people of this country. Should
these charges prove to be true, you will have not only
betrayed the trust of the people who worked for you, but you
will also be guilty of trading in on the power of the office
the people entrusted to you for your own personal gain.

That power was not given to you. You are only the caretaker
until it is passed on to another. Every American has a deep
and abiding respect for the office of the president, not
necessarily for the person who holds it. That's why we call
it the OFFICE of the president.

No matter how much they adore you and your policies, the
press loves scandal. The public loves titillation. As long
as you continue to feed the fires of controversy, your
personal life will be a front-page story.

There is nothing I would like better than for you to go back
and do the job you were elected to do. Unfortunately, I
don't see how that can happen. With your mind, body, and
resources hastily at work defending against these charges, I
don't see how you could possibly have any time left to take
care of running our country.

Ron Hart
Tulsa, OK
(918) 663-1734


Magazine lists Pecos as one of best schools

EDITOR'S NOTE - The following letter was printed in the
Odessa American newspaper, following a story a sportswriter
for the paper wrote about Pecos. The letter has been
re-printed in our local paper, with the permission of the

To The Editor:
Recently one of your sportswriters criticized the
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent School District for
replacing Coach Mike Belew as athletic director and head
football coach.

After reading the article and noticing your writer's
critical view of our community, I knew right away that he
hadn't done this homework. Your writer obviously did not
come to Pecos to research the whole situation.

Like all communities, Pecos has its problems. But overall,
Pecos is a warm and friendly community, filled with people
who care about our children. Our community as a whole
respects cultures and differences and that's hard to find in
a community these days. We are concerned about more things
than just winning at sports. Academics, in case some people
have forgotten, is the most important part of school.

Shortly after the article, you ran a story concerning
schools that were not doing well with their TAAS scores and
students could receive waivers to attend schools that were
doing better. Pecos was not on the list. As a matter of
fact, last year Texas Monthly magazine listed one of our
schools as one of the best schools in Texas. While we may
not win every football game, our teachers are doing a good
job and our students are obviously learning in the classroom.

Sports can be a fun and enjoyable part of school, but let's
not forget the real reason our kids are going to school - to
get an education and prepare for the future.

I think if your writer looks a little closer at all of the
circumstances concerning the changes the school district
made, he will see our community in a whole new light.

Things are not always as they appear. Pecos is not the kind
of town that runs people out of town because we don't win a
sports event.

It would be great to be district champs, but we value our
children, teachers and coaches for more than a win-loss

Part of being a good teacher or coach is to help teach kids
morals, set a good example for them and to help them learn
to be responsible for their own actions. (A lesson some
adults still haven't learned).

Louise Moore

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