Some history lessons we should not forget
The opposite of the truth is not a lie, it is forgetting.
And lest we forget the past and where we have come from as a nation, we need to listen carefully to the words of those who lived the struggle that helped bring us to where we are today. Some of these people are living today and others such as Rev. Martin Luther King are relegated to the past. We honor them by recalling the struggle and sacrifice that they gave.
Representative John Lewis was among three Black congressmen testifying at Sen. Jeff Sessions hearing for Attorney General of the U.S. As the last three people to testify, they were in effect relegated to the back of the bus and only one Republican committee member remained to hear them. I hope this was not an indication of how far we have come. Rep. John Lewis is the 13-term congressman from Georgia and I heard him speak years ago at an Emancipation Celebration when I lived in Georgia. Lewis recalled the struggle that MLK and others endured to create what King called the Beloved Community- a community at peace with itself and the world. Lewis grew up not far from where Sen. Jeff Sessions was raised. He recalled an era where the Rule of Law was Segregation and it was illegal for a black person to approach a white person on the same side of the sidewalk, not move to the back of the bus, drink out of a white drinking fountain, or look a white person directly in the eye, offenses that could get one arrested and thrown in jail – if you were black. These are history lessons we shouldn’t forget.
Lewis recalled the effort of many, both black and white, in the march from Selma to Montgomery to secure voting rights for all Americans, and the price they paid in doing so. Lewis recalls “They were beaten, tear-gassed, left bloody, some unconscious, others in comas ….”. Lewis states that these actions were necessary to uphold a higher law that guarantees the dignity and respect of all people and that “required the criticism of this Great Nation and its Laws” in order to create a more just and equal society.
Lest we forget these lessons and fall back to the dark past of a police state, which under the guise of protecting citizens, fails to uphold the civil rights guaranteed under the Bill of Rights and our Constitution. The answer to rising crime and violence may not be more “law and order,” but more affordable housing, more job opportunities, the right to health care, a living wage, and more effective schools. Jails haven’t worked and they are a drain on our resources. Addressing systemic racial discrimination in our police departments is a necessary first step to healing the distrust of our law enforcement by the greater community; providing mental health services rather than jailing folks for non-violent drug offenses, and much more. As Lewis stated: :”We have come a distance and made progress, but we are not there yet.” And “(W)e may have come here to America on different boats, but we are all in the same boat now.”
Recognizing the lessons of the past may be the first step in meeting the challenges of the present and future. Let us not forget.
Paul Chew — Otto, N.C.
Hope is something we all have in common
Whether your candidate won the election or not, we all are in hope that the future goes well, not only for 2017, but for the many years that follow. Every person from the past, present, and into the future, has, is doing so, or will be, hoping for something. Hope seems to be part of humanity and all humanity is in hope for something. Our hope can be just wishful thinking, as in hope of winning the lottery, or sometimes hope can be achieved as in getting a good job, but requires furthering our education. There are those in hope of fighting a deadly disease, or a parent in desperate hope of a child who’s life is hanging in the balance. Hope is something we all have in common and share in. Even governments and nations all have a hope for a better tomorrow. This expectation of fulfillment that everyone has and will have seems unending but just what is it are we in hope for? It seems only humans have this deep desire in search of a hope. Hope seems illusive and our minds find it hard to define exactly what “hope” means. And if we achieve our hope we then look for another, until we draw our last breath and life ends and then what hope is there?
Death seems to always have the last word, except for the “essence” of hope which is found in Christ. The author Paul, in 1 Corinthians 13 writes a very short chapter but gets to the crux of living and a hope beyond life, it’s known as the “Love” chapter. It speaks of faith, (loyalty, or complete trust) hope, (an expectation of fulfillment) and love, (strong devotion and affection) but love cannot be known in its truest form unless faith and hope proceed it. You must have faith in something or someone in its truthfulness and character, otherwise faith has little to build upon. Faith, then builds upon hope of what is seen, known and becomes trusted, which then brings about a love that is solid and foundational.
So love is the greatest of all these because it is built on what is faithful and has a hope that is unending and proven. Christ is the meaning of all three, but love is the essence of who He is. There is no better way to define love, except what Christ has done and can do for each of us.
The One who created the universe is so filled with love and places within us a hope that we can all share in. Why did He choose us over all He created or could create, to have such a deep love and wanting of an unending eternal relationship with you and me? I cannot fathom the totality of why this is, but I’m elated and thankful for the hope He has given me. This hope is given to any who sincerely and deeply ask. At life’s finale destiny this Hope is all there is.
Deni Shepard — firstname.lastname@example.org
Nation could use a little divine intervention
I served in the Navy under presidents Kennedy and Johnson and I’ve voted in every presidential election since. I’ve covered politics as a mainstream newspaper reporter, governmental affairs director for two chambers of commerce, as a lobbyist for a municipal association before county, state, and federal government, and I’ve run for public office.
But never in my 74-year lifetime have I witnessed such a fiasco as the Republican nominating process for president of the United States. We have in Donald Trump, the most pompous, self-aggrandizing, vicious, and uninformed president-elect in my memory and perhaps in our country’s history.
His various tweets, pronouncements, inaccurate statements, and outlandish behavior is better suited to a grammar school child than a person about to lead the free world. He has singularly insulted nearly every political, ethnic, religious, and social group of upstanding American citizens with his inane tirades. And this is the person who will soon be our commander-in-chief?
Please, someone take this man’s cell phone and computer away and lock them up in a tamper-proof safe. I feel sorry for VP-elect Mike Pence who seems like a very capable, competent and decent human being to be saddled with this ego-maniac for the next four years. You know privately he must be thinking, “What I have gotten myself into?”
Perhaps Mr. Trump would be better off working on a couple of books in his spare time. I’d suggest the titles “How to Make America Hate Again,” and “How to Lose Friends and Denigrate People.” Please pray for our country. We’re going to need all the divine intervention we as a nation can muster.
Kurt J. Volker — Otto, N.C.
Hold fast to faith that is counted for righteousness
The upcoming Bible words on faith are forthcoming:
“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.” St. Mark 11:22
“Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” St. Luke 18:8
“Confirm the souls of the disciples and exhorting them to continue in the faith and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Acts. 14:22
“By whom we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for his name.” Romans 1:5
“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” Romans 1:8
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Romans 4:5
“Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” Romans 4:8
“For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” Romans 4:13
“For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect.” Romans 4:14
“Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed, not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.” Romans 4:15, 16
“I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.” Revelations 2:13
Floyd Cruse — Franklin, N.C.