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Adele Elliott: Ulterior motives

 

Adele Elliott

 

Actors are taught to understand their character''s motivation. In mystery movies, the murderer must have motive. Usually that is greed, or jealousy, or maybe even passion. But without a very compelling reason, the crime is somehow hollow, and just not believable. 

 

Life, too, is like that. We have reasons for our actions. They may be subtle. However, on some level we are aware of the source, the inspiration, which made us act. 

 

We are all too human. There are few Mother Teresas or Albert Schweitzers in the world. The rest of us often have our altruism jumbled with emotions, or plain old biases. 

 

I am totally influenced by people who are nice to me. Like a puppy, I can be won over with a kind word, not to mention a treat. I see nothing wrong with that. How a person treats a stranger, or a small animal, can be quite revealing. "Inner psyche" may be an oxymoron. More truthfully, many people might as well be wearing a T-shirt with their true Freudian id printed broadly across the chest. 

 

Many Columbians have been quite gracious to me. One is Mother Goose. She has called me her "friend" from the beginning of my Mississippi adventure. Her warmth is one reason my husband and I are still here. I will always love her. 

 

It isn''t the big things that make an impression. A person''s prominence in the public eye, or their church''s hierarchy, is mostly meaningless. Importance and status are more about posturing than genuine nobility. Of course, we all know what comes with power, absolute or not. 

 

Another person who has my admiration is Joe St. John. Every time I write something complimentary about the Columbus Police Department, he sends me a hand-written note of thanks. Who does that anymore? 

 

That small act may not seem like much. However, you must understand that I come from a city where the police are terrifying. There is something horribly wrong when a middle-class, middle-aged woman, with no record, is afraid of them. 

 

Our St. John has given the force a humanity that was surprising to me. Because of him, my attitude about the Columbus Police Department is entirely different from that of the New Orleans Police Department. 

 

Columbus has some very good spin doctors. They could probably make Mother Teresa (or even Mother Goose) as vilified as Casey Anthony. 

 

Shouldn''t we return to the question of motive? Why slander someone? Perhaps it is because there is a not-so-secret agenda. Somehow, the truth eventually emerges, no matter how good an actor is doing the spin. It''s all making me truly dizzy. 

 

I will continue to choose my friends by the history and treatment I have experienced firsthand. Secondhand gossip is like secondhand smoke -- it just leaves an unpleasant stench. 

 

I will vote, as well, by actions that I have observed. No matter what anyone says about motives, they are transparent. No one is that good an actor. 

 

Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina. Email reaches her at adeleelliott@bellsouth.net.

 

Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.

 

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