Letters for January 18, 2018

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Grandpa’s Woodshop a success at Cowee Christmas

The 4th Annual Cowee Christmas was held on Saturday, Dec. 2, at Cowee School, Arts and Heritage Center.  Children attending this event were able to decorate homemade Christmas cookies, create a fresh evergreen swag for their front door and participate in other crafts and activities at the school.

They were also able to make toys and gifts out of wood in “Grandpa’s Woodshop,” which did over 240 wood projects with kids at this year’s Cowee Christmas.  Grandpa’s Woodshop is a special joint project of Folk Heritage Association of Macon County and Cowee School. As the woodshop coordinator, I would like to thank the following individuals who  helped make this learning experience for kids possible:

Mike Holden of AWC Toys,  “Grandpas” Vern Davis, Leon Ditch, Joey Shuler and Ron Schott, and  “Grandmas”  Jean Davis and Claire Suminski.  A 20 x 40 tent was provided by Carey Patton of Tent Masters.  Business sponsors were Freeman Gas, Suminski Family Books and Beale Construction.

The New Century Scholars demonstrated service and leadership in their efforts to work with the children in making these projects. Grandpa’s Woodshop would not have been possible without these dedicated helpers.

Woodworking helps young people learn valuable skills, develop confidence in themselves, and introduce traditional heritage skills that helped build our country.  Many children made a heritage toy for themselves as well as a gift for a loved one. The real gift of Christmas, or at any other time of the year, is in giving and Grandpa’s Woodshop is a great opportunity  for children to make something with their own hands to give.

I would also like to thank the parent and grandparents  who brought their kids to Cowee Christmas.  It was a great day. Stay tuned for more visits to Grandpa’s Woodshop and Grandma’s Kitchen at Cowee School in the future.

 

Paul Chew- Grandpa’s Woodshop Coordinator

‘When you know better, you do better’

After the news reported this week of the president of the United States calling countries with brown and black skinned people sh*thole countries, I am so disturbed that I can no longer remain silent. To be silent is to condone and support his behavior and words. I do not.

That being said,  we as Americans and especially southerns must look deep in our hearts and our pasts with honesty and truth to examine the things we have done and said that would be considered racist, as well as the things we have witnessed and heard and yet stood by silently. Just because “that’s how things were” or “that’s the way we were raised” does not make it honorable, moral or right.

And, while we are examining our southern heritage, we must also look at the our Christian heritage, since we also live in the part of the country known as the “Bible belt”  and most folks around here profess to being Christians. If you believe we were created by God, as the Bible teaches, then you are looking at God’s creation of brown- and black-skinned people and saying, “God, you messed up, what you created in your own image is not good.”  Is that what you have been taught or what you believe? If so, I must remind you that … God choose for his son to be born a brown-skinned person, not the white, blue-eyed one we all have seen in pictures.

I think if we are honest and truly want to be a better person, build a better community and a better country where all men and women are created equal, we must acknowledge and take responsibility for those shameful actions and words  of racism and bigotry in our pasts and stop making excuses. We must also be willing to speak this truth to those who have not yet learned that the value of a person is not determined by the color of their skin, but by their character and integrity.

I leave you with a favorite quote of mine by Maya Angelou, “When you know better, you do better.”   We know better.

 

Barbara Elliott-Pangle – Franklin, N.C.

Power to the people

This past week, a federal court ruled that North Carolina’s congressional district map, drawn by Republicans, was illegally gerrymandered and therefore unconstitutional. The three-judge panel unanimously agreed that the map had been “motivated by invidious partisan intent” to ensure domination of the state’s congressional delegation. As the map is drawn now, it divides our state into 13 districts, making 10 of them Republican. It was surmised that, even if Democrats won the state by 52%, they would get only 23% of the seats. The court ordered that the map be redrawn by Jan. 29 because candidates have to file for primaries by Feb. 12.

The Republicans have written other laws that strip the governor of various powers, most critically, his ability to restore voting rights and appoint certain judges. Subsequently, a law was written to keep the governor from filing suit against them. Thankfully, state judiciary has mostly sided with Gov. Cooper and more than a dozen unconstitutional laws have been overturned by the courts.

It’s unfortunate that these kind of tactics are being used to ensure one party reigns supreme over the other. It isn’t right. Preserving our democracy, our checks and balances and ensuring fairness and equality is definitely a challenge. We must commit to it by watching, listening, speaking out and doing something about it. The people have the power.

 

Annette Bell – Otto, N.C.

Greater love hath no man than this

The upcoming words are some to remember.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friend, if ye do whatsoever I command you. St. John 15:13,14

“These things I command you, that ye love one another.” St. John 15;17

Floyd Cruse – Franklin, N.C.

Political winds they are a’blowin’

The political winds have brought changes to the political parties over the years and much of it not good and not even good for human progress.

In deference to my long term Democrat friends, it seems their party has been hijacked by a legion of what might be termed Socialists, Leftists, Communists or some other weird form of government.  It is not what we knew 50 years ago and certainly not the country President Kennedy envisioned.

Formerly representing the working class the Democratic Party has lost its way and now is an arm of Socialism.  Sad to say but Bernie Sanders made that quite clear.

In Socialism the individual would no longer be free and only allowed to do that which the government mandates.  People become trapped in a type of political serfdom.

Sold to the public as being a caring and loving party, one can see even their immigration policies are designed to attract immigrants who would welcome a welfare state to take care of them. Many of the immigrants lack skills or education and will be on our welfare system forever. But don’t be fooled, it’s only a method of building a class of voters to put them in power. They honestly care less about immigrants, just maintaining power. Gerrymandering through immigration.

Now, because the Socialists lost the recent election, they are angry and will do anything in their means to bring down the Republicans including lying and cheating.

The Republican Party, in contrast, says that we are all free, free to fail and free to succeed at whatever endeavor we choose.  We are not kept men and women. And this point was made long ago when the Republicans fought to end slavery.  Maintaining our freedom is not an easy task because there are those who would like to destroy our freedom in order to maintain political control over us.  The Republican view is while we need welfare for those who cannot help themselves, the rest of us are free to reach for the stars if we so wish.

The Independents, of which I am part of the growing network, probably follow the Republican ideology in that we believe in individual responsibility and maintaining our freedom. This includes the freedom to vote for the people we believe can best do the job and most qualified; Republican or Democrat. And no, we do not see ourselves as slaves to a bureaucracy with Washington making all our decisions for us. We, too, are free to fail or succeed.

In the middle of the battling ideologies are the liberal groups, some of whom espouse doing away with marriage as in the feminist movement, drugs for everybody and a plethora of ideas contrary to common sense and the biological demands of men and women.

The bottom line here, we must all be alert to the changing political winds and that sometimes what we thought was the political party of great leaders like President Kennedy doesn’t exist anymore.”

Bob Wilson – Franklin, N.C.

Finding truth in our modern world

Man has always been in a search for truth, and what makes sense for life and living. Something that is trusting and gives meaning to life, and a beginning place that everything is built upon within a true reality we all share in.  In modern living we seem to find little truth in what we are searching for, but yet are desperate to find a trusting truth that gives us comfort for living life.

Lies, half truths and deception are becoming all to familiar. Truth becomes truth from the ones with the loudest voice, this can have conflicting meanings and rings hollow in the hearts of many. Truth becomes like jello with no substance or form, it becomes what you make it.  Every society and culture has a system built upon some part of truth, and when there is a untruth there is a form of justice to set truth back in its proper place. Truth is just not sought in the physical world but also in the internal world within each of us. Everyone wants to be treated fairly and wants truthfulness in our dealings with each other and those over us, but there can also be a false truth within ourselves as well. If we view life within history as a mystified product of time and chance, how and why do we seek truthfulness and why does it matter?

It’s evident that humanity is hard wired for truth, but what does it look like? We’ve lost our identity of the outside world, because we’ve lost our identity of our internal world. There are only two answers to this tension we face, either it is a product of a mystical chance which cannot be followed with any certainty, or there’s a God who has placed this identity for truth within each of us, or better said, it’s God’s image set within man, in hopes of a loving relationship with man. This is set in time and space, or history, which has a beginning, present, and a future set in time.  All is written and can be followed both for our physical world but most importantly for our internal and eternal well being.

The Bible is a story about God, who sets us in history’s time and space.  Within both our physical and internal world, He is the foundation of all we are, see, touch and feel. Other worldviews may in part touch some of this, but Christianity and the Biblical story is written within living history as no other. This is the basis for truth’s foundation.  God (truth) is before us in time and space, and is set within the heart of man to build upon, if he so chooses. He speaks with clarity in love and truth, the one who spoke time and His-story into existence. His words echo out to all who are searching for truth – “I am the way the truth and the life” (Jn. 14:6)

Deni Shepard – nds13@frontier.com

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