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We must restore decency to government
The first born of my generation in my family was brought into the world during the presidency of Thomas Woodrow Wilson in 1919. Louis Brandeis, an advisor to President Wilson (and a Supreme Court Justice), once wrote, “We must make a choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.” One hundred years and 18 presidents later we find ourselves deliberating that exact same perplexing bone of contention. A major contrast between Wilson’s era and the present is that following WWI the men and women who led America (generally speaking) favored and sought policies that served the common good, that represented the needs of ordinary citizens. Today our so-called “representatives” (and especially this president) consistently offer empirical evidence they have no such regard or intent. They spend their political lives feathering their own nests depending on (with growing confidence) the apathy and ignorance of the American electorate to acquiesce in their favor. So where does that leave us as a nation, as a people? Seismic changes over the last 40-50 years have pretty much dismantled the “American Dream.” Laws, policies, trends, even American culture has swayed attitudes and influenced public opinion toward developments unrecognizable to my generation. We are at a crossroad, a defining moment in American history, as serious perhaps, as Lincoln faced, with challenges as yet not entirely or clearly defined but of grave significance to our future. If we allow the slow, but accelerating, poisonous polarization and disintegration of our democracy to continue, we will reach a point where all we have achieved will be lost forever. This is not about politics (although politics most certainly plays a part). Nor is it about Republicans and Democrats. It is about who we are and what we stand for as Americans. It is about whether or not we stand for equal opportunity for all, whether we stand for liberty, sovereignty and independence, whether we believe in the rule of law and most importantly, whether or not we stand for truth. “Truth is the foundation of all knowledge and the cement of all societies” – John Dryden. We have burdened ourselves with a leader to whom the truth means nothing, zero, nada, a man whose conscience, moral judgment and standard of ethics is an empty void. America has been threatened many times and in a multitude of ways throughout history but this is the first time (certainly in my lifetime) that America’s most menacing danger and gravest threat has emanated from the President of the United States. The questions before us however, are not just about Donald Trump or about his character, but about us and our character and integrity. The fundamental question facing us is whether we have the fortitude to stand up to a xenophobic, demagogic, self-absorbed president and government aggressively pressing us to betray our better selves, to compromise our collective moral judgment, principles and sense of what is right and what is wrong. We must stop believing willful lies advanced in the name of truth. We must never abandon the principled intentions of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and others, but rather endeavor to restore decency and compromise to government. And finally, we must rededicate ourselves to the cause and purpose to which our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.
David L. Snell – Franklin, N.C.
Why does capitalism outperform socialism? …
Because capitalism more closely mirrors nature’s laws. Nature and capitalism have little tolerance of the unproductive. … Socialism more closely resembles family values. Families have nurtured children because humans have a long childhood compared to other species. The nurturing has resulted in the survival of humans. Families with ill or deformed children in bygone centuries lacked the technology to care for such children. Hence, nature took care of them and the family was not required to take resources from the productive members. But, trying to support the unproductive forces nature to kill the entire family. … Technology and larger groups have created a situation where the human tendency to nurture can overcome some of nature’s judgment of those requiring resources without being productive. The problem for the generations is this may be attempted on a small scale, but is very destructive for the group. Humans seem incapable of giving up the unproductive. If a society supports the unproductive, nature will kill the majority of the society like in Venezuela. … The Socialists point to the major problems in the U.S. such as income inequality and suggest they can use family values to cure the ills. Income inequality was nearly constant until 1970 just after the social programs of JFK and LBJ. Then the growth of income for the lower percentiles decreased while the upper percentiles remained the same. The increase of Socialists’ agenda in the U.S. government has allowed the income inequality to increase. So, the Socialists want more Socialism as a cure. Well, that hasn’t worked in other countries except where the U.S. taxpayer (a productive individual) helps pay for it. Trump is introducing Capitalism and the U.S. is responding very favorably like it did in 1920-21. The problem is the weaker will get hurt and this is driving the Socialists crazy. Well, the issue is let a few go or nature will kill many more in a U.S. collapse. … Survival of the U.S. is the only moral good for the U.S. Policies that reduce our survival chances are evil.
John Hodge – Franklin, N.C.
A matter of grave importance
A friend recently stated that he does not believe in Divine punishment for sins. For the benefit of others, I would like to respond to that here. Despite the denials before Congress by James Clapper, the NSA has been surveiling millions of Americans, including emails, text messages, phone conversations, etc. That data base can be used by the government as evidence against anyone they choose, including members of the DOJ, FBI and others who conspired to take down President Trump. Huber and Sessions have hired nearly 400 prosecuting attorneys and have seated grand juries and produced well over 40,000 sealed indictments all over the US. Suppose that one of these indictments is unsealed, and the defendant appears before a judge and jury. He states to the judge that he does not believe in punishment for crimes against the state. I can imagine the judge would laugh, and say something like, “I really don’t care what you say you believe or don’t believe. If the jury finds you guilty as charged, you will be sentenced, and you will serve your time.” I say with all the love and kindness I can muster, because I am no better than anyone else, that there is a much more serious Judgment Day coming, from which no one can escape. We will stand before the Righteous Judge, whether we believe in Him or not. “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from His presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and the books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20: 11-15) Notice that not even death will not allow one to miss this court appearance. It doesn’t matter how great we were. And the only hope for us is if our name is found written in the “book of life.” In Revelation 21:27, we see that no one is allowed into the Holy City, unless their name is there. “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Jesus tells a story to illustrate this in Luke 16:19-31. “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At the gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ “ Notice that God is just. Those who were denied justice in this life will receive it in the next. Contrary to some religious teachings, this text clearly indicates that there will not be another opportunity to “get it right” in the hereafter. It is imperative that we accept God’s gracious offer to justify us in this life because it will one day be too late. Jesus regards the writings of Moses and the Prophets to be sufficient warning. But now we also have the warnings of Jesus and the apostles in the New Testament. Jesus said, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever does not obey the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” (John 3:36) Our opinions are formed over a period of relatively few years. They appear very weak, when juxtaposed with the clear teachings of Jesus and the apostles, which have stood the test of time. I pray that my friend will reconsider, before dismissing a matter of such grave importance.
Ed Hill – Franklin, N.C.
We must return to reason, logic and common sense
It’s beginning to look like politics has become a mental disorder where we root for “our team” regardless of where it will lead us. In the past, Democrats and Republicans politely sparred with each other but in a civil manner and usually arrived at a solution. Nowadays, however, it’s entirely different and we hear the vitriol and hatred from such people as Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi and spitting Bernie Sanders. True, President Trump is not one of the “good old boys” nor a member of the elite political class but applying principles of business, he has done very well. This, of course, upsets the Socialists who prefer to keep the lid on our economy and foresee the day when all property is owned by the government. Farmers would have their land confiscated and turned into communal farms under Socialism. Industries would be operated by the government and profits turned over to the government. No one, except for the political elite, would be allowed to become successful and everyone would be equal. Yeah, sure. It’s been tried over and over and always ends up a disaster for the people. Human nature, such as it is, requires incentive and without it, nothing much gets done. People no longer work to get ahead and economies collapse. Perhaps due to the recent advent of social media, we now have thousands of political views which lead us nowhere. The time when we were either a Republican or Democrat seems gone forever. Now, we have folks who join ISIS, not because of religious beliefs, but because it’s exciting. We have some who join the Mafia simply because it’s exciting and on and on. Gangs, of all sorts, are exciting and breaks up the boredom of everyday life. We have people who see the political debates going on as a chance to destroy our country and their passion is not to build but to tear down. They come from under every rock in the country. In short, we have a country replete with folks determined to destroy what made us great in the first place. The sad part is it feeds their own neurotic quirks and perhaps their jealousy as well. Jealousy and envy probably has its roots from childhood when a kid was envious of another kid’s toys and they never outgrew it and worse yet, never learned how to earn their own toys. Life really is simple. You work hard in school to get good grades and get a job and perhaps buy a home and raise a family. Now, however, we have a sad underbelly of folks determined to take what you worked for and who want to live a life of being on the government plantation and dependent. Surely, there’s more to life than that. Somehow, we must return to reason, logic and common sense and reject the political junkies who feed on dissent.
Bob Wilson – Franklin, N.C.