Letters for November 1, 2018

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The Macon County News letters page is a public forum open to a wide variety of opinions. Letters are neither accepted nor rejected on the basis of the opinions expressed. Writers are asked to refrain from personal attacks against individuals or businesses. Letters are not necessarily reflective of the opinions of the publisher, editor or staff of The Macon County News. Email letters to maconcountynews@ gmail.com.

The rising tide of Fascism in America

Fascism you say? America has had a long history of both liberal democracy and fascist thought. Democracy is built on liberty and equality, while fascism is built on power and authority. They are opposites and incompatible with each other. Hitler was inspired by the Confederacy and Jim Crow laws which perpetuated slavery. Liberal democracy is based on truth and dissent; dissent being the protector of our democracy. Think: the American Revolution. Truth is the one thing that fascism can not allow because it challenges power and authority. Characterizing dissent and the media as the “mob” is just the latest tactic that the far right is using to garner power. Fascism will go to any extent to destroy truth by repeatedly saying it is fake news or that protesters are rioters. Ultraconservative nationalist movements have been gaining ground throughout the world and are feeding off each other. These movements use fear as a means of convincing people that the answer to rising crime, immigration, unemployment, or inflation is law and order. But law and order also means repressing dissent, jailing activists and journalists, jailing and killing opposition leaders to keep themselves in power. The disappearance of a U.S. journalist in Turkey is just one example. The UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, in a trip to Columbia recently supported the new ultra right president of Columbia where hundreds of activists and journalists have been jailed or killed. Because fascism cannot allow truth to question authority, fascism must be based on loyalty to a dominant group and leader. When one gives loyalty to a leader, truth and reality fly out the window. The president’s rallies represent the highest degree of loyalty raising, where emotions are used to create a sense of unity and an alternate reality through the chanting of slogans such as “Lock her up!” or “Build the Wall.” During his campaign Trump encouraged his followers at rallies to cause real harm to protesters saying he would pay their lawyer fees. Once Trump was elected he dismissed the claim that he should lock up Hilary. But the accusations remained. Loyalty also creates a sense of us and them encouraging nationalism and isolationism. The president has pulled the U.S. out of many treaties and organizations which in the end limits our influence in the world. It becomes us against them. We are no longer a nation that considers itself open to the criticism of other nations. We are now a rogue nation. We are respected because as Ambassador Nikki Haley said, because we will do what we say we are going to do. President Trump claimed at a United Nations meeting that members were laughing with him not at him when he stated how much he had accomplished during his presidency. Propaganda is another cornerstone of fascism. Fascism also exploits victimization by groups outside or within the country whether it is young males being unrightfully accused by females of sexual misconduct or immigrant taking advantage of the social safety networks. Conspiracy theories, such as birtherism or criminal accusations, are used to create an alternate reality, displacing reason. Again, these conspiracy theories are fueled by fear of others. As a result, you have bans of certain groups coming in to the country, you label immigrants as rapists and drug dealers and gang leaders. You smash the truth and disorient people so that the only thing left is loyalty. And loyalty means, not thinking for oneself but believing whatever lies are fed to you. Corporate media plays into the hands of authority and power as it owes no allegiance to the people or to truth telling. All the recent discussions in letters to the editor concerning capitalism and socialism have missed this important aspect of our political system. It is important to see the overall trends that are happening in America and alert ourselves to the potential consequences of these trends. Like in Hitler’s time, the unthinkable (what would be considered morally reprehensible) can become acceptable or normalized, even by good people. Once power has been galvanized, returning to some sense of normalcy is difficult if not impossible. Have we passed this point of no return? Hopefully not, and Americans will wake up to this disturbing trend in American politics and take action. Now that elections are around the corner, we need to think clearly about who we elect and what they stand for. It is up to us!

Paul Chew – Otto, N.C.

‘Walk a mile in my shoes’

Ann Coulter is a famous writer by way of her New York Times Bestselling book, “Godless: The Church of Liberalism,” published in 2006. In “Godless” Coulter spares no criticism of liberal thinkers in America (and actually around the world). Her words are harsh judgment for all who do not think/believe as she does. On page 26 Coulter writes, “Anyone found guilty of homosexuality under Sharia law has a wall dropped on him. End of story.” Really? Is this what Coulter would advocate for punishment for homosexual behavior in America? Is Coulter sure she has no homosexual relatives? Is Coulter sure she knows the predisposing factors associated with homosexuality? Is homosexuality biological? Is it merely a matter of personal choice? What other religions besides Sharia take such harsh measures against homosexuality? Someone said, “Tolerance of the intolerable may be wiser than meeting rage with rage.” Has Coulter given any thought to this more humane treatment of others who, like her, want a shot at “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”? Who was it who said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Famous singer/songwriter Joe South put it this way-“So unless you’ve lived a life of total perfection you’d better be careful of every stone that you should throw.” Those words are from his great song “Walk a Mile in my Shoes.”

Dave Waldrop – Webster, N.C.

Honoring the memory of Merritt Fouts

I remember my husband and I, long before we became parents, dreamt as to what kind of school we hoped to send our children. We imagined a place where children would experience childhood in a most innocent atmosphere; we imagined a school where discipline and children’s laughter would walk hand in hand; we hoped for a place where God’s name would be mentioned in prayer and in history; we envisioned a school where teachers and their principal would take time and make the effort to uncover hidden talents that otherwise would never be discovered in the children who attended. Our hopes and prayers were answered at Cartoogechaye Elementary School in Franklin. Our phone would ring, and I would hear his voice, “Mrs. Pons, the children here don’t have a music teacher, do you think you might come and teach them some tunes?” “Well, yes, I will try.” Little did I know that 180 students, once a week, would be seated on the gymnasium floor, wide-eyed, well behaved, and eager to learn. How can I ever forget the looks on those children’s faces as we sang, “Take Me Out To the Ballgame,” “Ring of Fire,” patriotic songs, Thanksgiving and Christmas hymns and melodies? Mr. Fouts stood in background, smiling. Along with clogging, taught by volunteers, the children performed on the square, in nursing homes, in competitions that stretched into all kinds of meaningful places because of Mr. Fouts. But the crowning moment came when Cartoogechaye was chosen to be the site for a performance of the National Opera Touring Company, performing “Elixir of Love.” I feel certain Mr. Fouts was involved in that decision. The students were to sing in the choral sections, and for two months, we rehearsed and rehearsed. Mr. Fouts came in and out of the practices, smiling. The day of the performance arrived, jeans, jean skirts, and white shirts were the costumes. Each child held a staff and sang so loud, I could see the veins protruding from their little necks. Following the performance, the director of the touring company came to me with tears in his eyes and spoke these words: “I have traveled all over this country and never have I been so moved in a school? What is so different here? “Mr. Fouts, the principal,” I proudly responded. So, it is with tears in our eyes that we say good-bye to the man who would never take, “I’m too busy, to come today.” Our memories at Cartoogechaye School cannot be bought for silver or gold, because of Mr. Fouts. He brought a song where there would not have been a tune; he danced a step that would never have felt a kick; he loved children who would never have experienced the marvelous gift of childhood.

The Pons Family, Larry, Susan, Ellie, Nikki, Corby and Chan

Let’s do better about practicing what we preach

The first duty of government to its citizens is to safeguard them from acts of violence. Instead, the president suggests that worshiping Jews, Christians, Muslims, and school teachers bear the responsibility and costs of hiring private armies to protect our people and our institutions. I don’t want live in a country where we need armed guards in houses worship and schools. The president’s offhand solution to the violence in our nation, this time in Pittsburgh, is repugnant. If more guns in schools and churches is the answer, then God help us. George Soros and the media cannot be blamed for the president’s dereliction of duty. In the meantime, the president is obsessed with sending a militia to turn back thousands of families fleeing from murderous violence in their homelands. In demonizing “the other,” President Trump incites the acts of hate that he professes to deplore. He can express condemnation of such acts all he wants, but his calls for harsher punishments fail to address remedies that might actually work to prevent hate crimes, such as, stricter screening for buyers of firearms and explosives and a toning down of his divisive rhetoric. The president wants to turn back the clock to a time when “America was great.” He chooses to ignore that his mythical time of American greatness included a time when the people choose our leaders, not the courts or an outdated electoral process, a time when political discourse was measured by civility, a time when armed guards in schools and churches was an unimaginable necessity. I have no expectation that the president will change his bellicose, hate-driven rhetoric, but we the people who live in the backdrop of the current political divisiveness can do more. All of us should strive to make a sincere effort to treat those whose political opinions we disagree with respect. And let’s do a better job of practicing what our religious faith and moral compasses teach.

John Barry – Franklin, N.C.

Political signage, a right for every citizen?

Here we are winding down in this election cycle and dirty tricks are rampant. Our new blue, expensive signs which were placed near the recycle center on south 441 were taken away and lo and behold, red Republican signs appeared in their place. The person manning the recycle center said that in the previous week Phillip Price’s sign had appeared in one of the dumpsters. This is taking place across the county. This is tampering with our First amendment right to free speech which the other side will scream loud and clear is their God-given right. Does it not pertain to every citizen? Stealing political signs is not only illegal, it is morally wrong.   Living in a country where there is a flagrant violation of our constitutional rights makes me cringe in every fiber of my body. I will not accept this as “the new normal.” I, in turn, refuse to adopt these ‘Trumpian tactics” period. Don’t scream that  red signs are also disappearing, this I do not doubt. It is way past time for civility all around.

Joan Palmrooos – Franklin, N.C.

Time to make America respected again

As an Independent voter and your Macon County neighbor, I am concerned about our country, our state and our county. This is why I am spending my time and my money to caringly write to you and ask you to vote “early” at the courthouse or be sure to vote on Nov. 6 at your precinct. If you have any questions as to where your precinct is (if you have moved within the county or moved into Macon County in recent months or year), call the Board of Elections office (828)349-2034. Or call me at (828)524-1100, and I will return your call and be happy to help. Our fake allies, Russia, North Korea, China and Saudi Arabia are laughing at how gullible our president is; whereas, our Trump allies through two World Wars and postwar Communism are frustrated and dismayed at how care-less our president is about these alliances and how ignorant our president is of American history. As a minister, parent, grandparent and former teacher, I am concerned about the contradiction in human values that our elected officials demonstrate weekly and daily. I am more disturbed by the fact that “we the people” allow it and voted for it. Whatever your religion is, the number one lesson that is taught in all, is: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In my ministry, I have found that many people have difficulty knowing the way in which they would like to be treated. I offer the manner in which Confucius, over 3,000 years ago, and Jesus expressed it: “Do not do to another what you would not want done to you.” The contradiction is exactly that – our children and grandchildren see adults in a role of power, treat others with disrespect – by making fun of someone’s experience of abuse and who puts children in cages; all for the purpose of winning. How many of us would allow our children, grandchildren, students or members treat another in this manner with no admonishment and correction? A movement began 4 to 5 years ago to stop the bullying. It is time for the adults to step forward and demand our elected representatives stop the bullying and employ dignity, decency and respect in their leadership roles. When I speak with nominees, I express my desire to have them stop the bullying and step across the aisle to better serve all American people not just their base.

MaryAnn Ingram – Franklin, N.C.

‘Precious pearl’ designation inane, patronizing

It’s impossible to feel the “Precious Pearl” repression the writer suggests women today should enjoy. The suggestion is outdated, inane, and patronizing. The concern supposedly derives from the Christine Blasley-Ford circus wherein Ms. Ford was a withering pansy requiring nurturing. Was it inconsequential that the Judiciary Committee offered to shut down shop in D.C., fly to anyplace at anytime to interview the aforementioned woman? That’s millions of taxpayer nurturing dollars. Further, the Republicans employed a white female attorney who specialized in sex crime cases as interlocutor, lest their white female accuser be discomforted by white males asking sensitive questions. Their offer and action were an attempt to take her charge seriously and to show courtesy and respect. Their efforts were largely wasted and unappreciated. The writer must believe that women are so incompetent that they cannot think for themselves and therefore require some male, but certainly not of the white variety, to save them from what? Women, in this country today, have as high an income, and in many cases, a greater educational level than men. Women graduate college at higher rates than their male counterparts. Christine Blasley-Ford supposedly has a PhD. How can this worldly, educated, woman be construed as an incompetent of “precious pearl” variety in need of special protection? The question raised is if the U.S. justice system is a two-tier system based upon sex. Nonsense! Report the crime and it can be investigated, unless, of course, one waits 35 years and uses as the only evidence, a memory derived during a psychiatric therapy session as the basis to destroy a man’s life. If the writer is seriously concerned about females in need of protection, what about Justice Kavanaugh’s wife and innocent daughters who, through no fault of their own, were swept up in this political melee? Please halt the “precious pearl” routine. We have a system of justice that requires some level of corroboration and evidence which protects women as well as men.

Kathryn van Heyningen – Franklin, N.C.

A modern day lynching in the 21st Century

Last week, (10/11/18) my letter was about the history of the Democrat party. I documented that it was they who started the KKK, and Bill Clinton informed us that you had to be a member of the KKK to get anywhere in the Democrat party. The KKK used lynching: the brutal gang murder of those who supported the Republican anti-slavery party. In 1860, there were 4 million slaves in America and all of them were owned by Democrats, says Dinesh D’Souza. The Democrats were the party of slavery. They fought against the 13th Amendment, abolitioning slavery (100% Republican support, 23% Democrat support), and against the 14th Amendment, granting the rights of citizenship to black Americans (94% Republican support, 0% Democrat support), and against the civil rights laws of the ‘60s. The 15th Amendment, granting the right to vote for all, had 100% Republican support, 0% Democrat support.  Now Democrats are fighting for special rights for illegal aliens, instead of trying to help the black Americans they have been persecuting for over a century. Instead of owning up to their history, they are trying to bury it, and pretend they are on the side of minorities. But they clearly weren’t then. 

Consider the lynching we have witnessed in the last couple of weeks. Senator Lindsey Graham (R- SC) blasted the Democrat Senators for their shameful treatment of the alleged victim, “Dr” Ford (she is not listed as being licensed as a psychologist as she claimed under oath), and Judge Kavanaugh. He pointed out that Sen. Dianne Feinstein knew about the allegations by Dr. Ford  weeks earlier, and she held on to it. He said “DiFi” had no intention of protecting Dr. Ford. Did Feinstein lie to Congress when she said she or her staff didn’t leak Ford’s letter to the press?

 Lindsey said to Kavanaugh, “You’re supposed to be Bill Cosby for two years in high school, and all of a sudden, you got over it. It’s my understanding that if you live like that for two years you probably don’t stop.” All of the allegations have been denied and refuted, but much damage has been done to Kavanaugh’s family, his career, his friends, and his country. Even now that he has been confirmed, Nancy Pelosi is threatening him with impeachment, if the Democrats take back the House. Of course, that is a con job:  2/3 vote of the Senate is required to impeach a SC justice. In 2017, Pelosi outlined something called a “Wrap-Up Smear.” She said, “First, you demonize somebody with falsehoods and all the rest. Then you write it, and let the press report it. When they see it reported in the press, they have that validation that the press reported the smear. Then you merchandize it. It’s a tactic.” Is this what the Democrats employed against Kavanaugh? Dr. Ford has connections to the CIA, and her six-year live-in boyfriend’s sworn testimony that he witnessed her training her best friend, Monica Mclean, a 24 year veteran of the FBI, how to pass a polygraph, contradicting Dr. Ford’s sworn testimony before Congress that she never trained anyone this way, is grounds for charging Dr. Ford with perjury. In 2008, Dr. Ford authored a paper describing how “hypnosis could be used to retrieve important memories, and create artificial situations.” Hmmm.

 If in America today a person’s life can be destroyed by mere allegations by a single individual, without evidence or corroboration, we are witnessing the end of liberty and justice for all. It is noteworthy how anxious the Democrats were to hear  Dr. Ford’s uncorroborated story, and how unwilling they were (and are) to listen to Juanita Broderick, and others who were sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton. 

 If you did not see Kavanaugh’s opening statement, you ought to watch it. Unlike Ford, he presented a multitude of witnesses in his defense. It was a powerful testimony. It can be viewed on the Still Report #2394 on YouTube. See also Report #2395 where Sen. Lindsey Graham blasts Democrat senators for their shameful actions against both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh. We cannot allow the Democrats to get away with political hit jobs in America. It will prevent good people from entering service to our country because they do not want to face this kind of onslaught.   

In America, we have always believed that a person is innocent until proven guilty. We all need to demand that this principle be upheld. Without it, we are all one false accusation away from having our reputations and our lives destroyed. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16) These words written down on Mt. Sinai by God Himself must never be allowed to be violated without consequence.

  

Ed Hill – Franklin, N.C.

Political correctness an idolatrous incoherent religion

A couple of weeks ago I watched an interview by Mark Levin of Shelby Steele, a black conservative. Mr. Steele stated that black power is fueled by white guilt and if it were not for this, the ability to emotionally manipulate the political process would collapse. This is his argument among others in his book, “White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era.”      

This is a part of a still larger problem of guilt in which we are supposed to accede to the demands of women vs. men, illegal aliens vs. citizens, gay vs. straight, mental illness vs. sanity, and those who are unhappy for most any reason vs. those who are well adjusted to life. The guilt is real and Christians have always known the reason for it and its remedy. Everyone is a sinner and from our collective sins evil is visited upon the world. There remains the issue of whether or not we will accept the remedy of salvation in Christ.

If we do, we have no reason to consider ourselves superior to others. Unfortunately, this is not always evident which only confirms the fact that we are sinners by nature and that our goodness is by God’s grace and not of ourselves. There is a framework within which our unruly spirits and base passions can be amended and forgiveness and removal of guilt can be achieved.

What happens to those who do not accept God’s remedy? Guilt is unrelieved; instead of owning one’s personal guilt and repenting before God, it is misdirected outward to the racial and cultural level. They then can repent before mankind and putting the interests of historically disfavored minorities (but, strangely, not necessarily the Jews) and other cultures ahead of their own in order to feel justified. This explains the guilt and self-hatred for being white, or American, or of Western culture, or even being male, etc. We hear a lot about the sins of the aforementioned, but there is no interest in examining the sins, cruelties, injustices and barbarities of those other cultures and races they have deified. Here is the incoherent idolatrous religion of Political Correctness that offers no forgiveness or understanding to those who transgress but will offer excuses to those who are at the moment politically useful. Thus justified, they are better than those who oppose them. Disagreements are not viewed as between people who share a common infirmity which would lead to a more charitable engagement in the political process but as between the righteous and irredeemable evil. This seems to be the case with the true believers but I believe some cynical politicians sniffing the political winds will inflame this tendency rather than responsibly trying to moderate it. However, the godless are never truly satisfied always seeking more exotic things to highlight their “wokeness.” Consider microaggressions – no doubt nanoaggressions are around the corner. Words are used in ways contrary to long use and designed to conceal rather than reveal. Ridiculous euphemisms abound. Thought is shepherded down ever narrower channels. “Values” seem to appear out of thin air like a contagion, yet rapidly shifting and God help those who don’t keep up. What was common sense just yesterday is able to get you fired today and subject to vilification and shunning. Our country was founded on biblical principles and for many years was honored even if many times in the breach. These time tested principles have been arrogantly abandoned and here we go into the darkness. As the revolution starts to eat its own, who will be Robespierre and what will follow? Better get serious about these things.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

  

David Parker – Sylva, N.C.

Time has passed when truth was in favor

It has been noted that America’s original politicians – the Founding Fathers – rank near the top of the list of things Americans say represent the best about the USA.  Today’s politicians?  The absolute worst.

Majorities of those in both parties and independents seem to agree that traditional parties and politicians don’t care about ordinary people like you and me.  That sentiment not only crosses party lines but also age, gender, racial, position, and regional barriers as well.  And, for those of us who are involved and are paying attention, the news is exhausting.

“The richness of life lies in the memories we have forgotten,” someone said.  I truly miss Franklin Roosevelt’s “Fireside chats” when my family gathered around the radio in early evening to hear the President of the United States.  It was during the war years so the news was not always good but at least we could believe it was the truth and no one had to explain later what the President meant by what he said.

I’m sorry Robert Frost was right about “Truth being in and out of favor.”  I’m thankful to have lived in a time when truth was in favor but regret that time has passed, likely not to be repeated.  And I’m conscience-stricken that it was my generation (appropriately named the “silent generation”) that consented to allowing the conversion from in favor to out of favor to transpire.

In any event, today we have a president, a head of state, a world leader (of sorts) who lies as easily as he breathes.  This, in and of itself, should convince anyone of average intelligence that Donald Trump is not fit to be President of the United States.

How then, was this man elected to the highest office in the land?  How did he manage to pass himself off as the real deal and that everything else was fake when, in fact, he’s the fake.  Unless of course, Trump’s lawyer (Rudy Giuliani) is correct and “truth isn’t truth,” that would explain it.

Trump seems above the law, getting away with an enormous amount of blunders and indiscretions, almost any one of which would doom the career of an ordinary politician.  Here’s a guy who brags about grabbing women’s crotches, makes fun of war heroes, insults parents who have lost a son in battle, insults our allies and individuals indiscriminately, and gleefully talks of waging nuclear war, to name just a few.

The reason he manages to hover (albeit precariously) above the level of respectability and common decency is precisely because his improprieties make up a truckload.  They do not constitute a singular blemish on an otherwise stellar character, they are his character.  Collectively they authenticate his fundamental nature, who he is and all he is.  Garret Keize (a writer and author who lives in Vermont) states, “Trump is an authentic iconoclast, a superhero of transgression.”

The fact that we have an unconstrained, out-of-control rogue inhabiting the White House, the upcoming election on November 6th is a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned.  Granted, we cannot remove this president from office but we can unseat some of his support and send a powerful message to the United States Congress that we who are ignored and neglected choose to be ignored and neglected no longer.

What goes around, comes around, and I see this karmic debt as long overdue.

David L. Snell – Franklin, N.C.

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