Richard Mason
Yes, I’ve been called a troublemaker, actually a ****troublemaker, and I know that has a bad ring to it, but maybe the folks who called me a troublemaker needed to hear some words of direction from a troublemaker. Of course, I’ve had more than a few comments worse than just “troublemaker”, and you might think I’d hang my head in shame, but if you believe those comments bothered me, you’d be wrong. Yes, I’ll admit it. I am a chronic troublemaker, and at times, my reactions have been a bit above just a troublemaker. But I believe the world is a better place to live because of troublemakers. If we look back at the early history of our great country, you’ll have to admit troublemakers are the ones who gave us our independence, and I sure don’t mind being put in the same category as those troublemakers who signed the Declaration of Independence. Ever since our countries early beginnings troublemakers have forced us to make changes in inequality, bad laws, slavery, gender discrimination, and a list of other positive things too long to list. In 1920, when women finally received the right to vote, it was the troublemaking women who got the job done, and yes, some of those women actually spent time in jail because they were troublemakers.
Yes, it has been the troublemakers in our country who have made it a better place to live, but the works of troublemakers aren’t finished. In our complicated, polluted world of today, we need troublemakers more than ever.
Since I been tagged ‘troublemaker’ more times than I can remember, let me give you some insights into the life of a chronic troublemaker. Yes, I have shouted down some pompous bureaucrats, carried picket signs, and even took a few shoves and punches because I was “troublemaking”. But let’s get right to the point, why was I out there being a troublemaker? The answer is very simple: I believe a troublemaker only makes trouble for people he or she believes are the root of bad laws or policy. All of us have an inherent nature to oppose things that we perceive are wrong. It’s our Judo-Christian heritage. But the majority of us either try to ignore wrong-headed decisions by our elected officials or just mutter to our friends how bad he or she is. I guess you could consider this column a call for folks to have some backbone, and maybe go to a town hall meeting and yell down one of our worthless politicians, who have a lower approval rating than a cockroach or pond scum. (Several polls have given them that ranking.) Or as I did once, when the state was going to destroy the Diamond Mine State Park near Murphreesboro, by allowing commercial mining, organize a protest and picket the park. Yes, we had a couple of dozen “troublemakers” from around the state picketing the park entrance one Saturday morning when it opened, and numerous families walked away. They wouldn’t cross our picket line. The Park is still a national treasure because of troublemakers.
And today, there are folks in El Dorado’s City Hall who are probably calling me a troublemaker because I’m trying to get proper crosswalk striping painted on Main Street. So there is always work to do for troublemakers, and for example, if the Buffalo National River is kept from being turned into a hog farm sewer, it will be the troublemakers who will stop it from happening, and you should thank the troublemakers who stopped the worthless Corp of Engineers from making the Ouachita River a ditch for barges. Today, because of the work of a large dedicated group of troublemakers from Arkansas and Louisiana the river won’t have 28 bends cuts. Troublemakers saved the river from becoming a ditch. But troublemakers haven’t finished with the river. We need to pull the pins on the Thatcher Lock and Dam and let the river return to its 1960s state where Pete Wilson’s Slough and Wildcat Lake will once again be the best fishing in the Mid-South, and the water-clogging moss will be gone. Yes, that’s a good idea since possible barge traffic on the river is right up there with space travel. Of course, if the river returns to its 1960s state it will be the troublemakers who will make it happen. And it will happen; so when it does, and in the late spring and the pecan worms are falling, and you are up in Pete Wilson’s Slough pulling in those big pan size bream, thank a troublemaker.
So the next time you hear someone being called a “troublemaker”, check out why, and maybe you’ll join the troublemakers and make a difference.


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