Letters to the Editor November 29, 2018

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Macon County veterans thank you all

We veterans of Macon County and everywhere wish to say to the wonderful people, businesses, God bless you for all your generous donations to maintain our beautiful Veterans Memorial here in our county. Without your support, it would be a struggle. Again, thank you for your support.

With respect, William Trapani – Franklin, N.C.

Candidates’ interaction a gratifying experience

I have just come from the Macon County courthouse where I witnessed something gratifying. While recording a deed and talking with Todd Raby, the newly re-elected Register of Deeds, Mr. Raby’s opponent in the election, Linda Light Herman, came in “armed.” She was “armed” with a piled high plate of fresh baked cookies, Linda congratulated Todd on his victory and Todd commended her on the way she conducted her candidacy. Then they hugged and asked me to take a picture of them together with the cookies. Here was a victor and a defeated opponent. The election produced joy in one and great disappointment in other. There was no animosity and no bragging, only an honest, warm kinship – two opponents seeking the same goal which only one could reach who each understood the difficulty of running for public office. Linda’s gesture and Todd’s response told me that not only did they end up with the right attitude, they both started the elction with the right attitude, and both had a firm grip on “what it’s all about.” If it can be done in the race for Register of Deeds, why not in the race for every public office?

Steven E. Philo – Franklin, N.C.

A lesson on the spectrum of political ideologies

One of Macon County News and Shopping Guide’s recent correspondents discussed Nazis as fascists. “On the spectrum of political ideologies, … fascism is on the far most right and communism on the far most left,” the writer said. Maybe the writers of my history textbooks were confused, but I think not. The Nazis were to the right of the communists.  Barely.  A little bit. To the right of the Nazis are the liberal governments. To the right of the liberal governments are the authoritarian governments. Communist governments are totalitarian. The Nazi government was totalitarian. Governments on the right of the political spectrum are not totalitarian. Totalitarianism is a defining trait of the far most left. Communist governments aim at radically transforming society by the application of force. The Nazi government’s transformational goals may not have been so all-encompassing as the communists’, but they were every bit as evil – they differed in degree, not in kind.  Rightist governments do not aim at radically transforming society. Communist governments dictate all aspects of life.  The Nazi government differed in degree, not in kind. Rightist governments do not suppress all or even most individual expression. Anywhere that communist and the Nazi governments differ from each other, it is in degree, not in kind.  Communist governments commit their crimes openly for the controlling effect of terror. Nazi Germany hid its crimes. They were the same crimes. The Nazi government was not on the far most right of the political spectrum. It was snuggled right up next to communism on the left.

George Crockett – Franklin, N.C.

Democrats hate that Trump is not a politician

Ms. Bell – Read your letter and I will have to assume whom you are speaking about – maybe POTUS #45.  Like many discussions from liberal Democrats, your diatribe is only partially true.  Trump does have many faults – don’t we all?  Yet, the most aspiring part of his character is what Democrats love to hate the most – he’s not a politician.  Thus he got elected by people who were all for that. As an Independent,  I came up with a list of my own.  We all have opinions and there is a saying about that and rear ends – we all have one – typically very smelly at times. My list is as follows that do fit your sanctimonious diatribe as well:  Nancy Pelosi, Paul Ryan, Maxine Waters, Jeff Flake, Kamala Harris, John McCain, Diane Feinstein, Adam Schiff, John Kasich, Bernie Sanders, Andrew Cuomo, Bill de Blasio, Barrack Obama, Rahm Emmanuel, Michelle Obama, Chuckie Schumer, and the list easily goes on for hundreds more in all levels of Government – from local to Federal.  These are the real political hacks most Americans wish to kick to the curb with zero benefits and retirement for doing such a lousy job – past and present. I spent 20 years of military service to support and defend the Constitution of these United Sates, not to allow a bunch of power hungry, greedy people to bring in Socialism and other such non-sense.  There is no free lunch as somebody pays for Universal Healthcare, Universal $1k monthly dtipend, welfare, illegal immigration/DACA, and many other foolish wastes of tax-payer money.  Our current $21 trillion debt is no laughing matter and all these freebies will only add to it.  Our Congress has no idea on balancing a budget, but expect us to do so with what little we may end up with after all is said and done every payday.  As a military person I paid taxes on my low poverty level income, currently pay taxes on my military retirement I worked 20 years to get at a measly 50 percent while Congress after eight years gets a full 100 percent along with far better healthcare and benefits, and also pay taxes on my Social Security Disability.  I also must pay currently $159 per month for a worthless Medicare System that does little to nothing for me as does the VA and my Military Tricare.  So, technically I’m paying part of my own retirement and SSD, while Congress makes a $174k salary, but can easily become a multi-millionaire in a few short years.  I’d love to be under that plan as I’m sure many who make mediocre wages would as well. Your party is not all that and a bag of chips, so wake up and quit drinking the Kool-Aid.

Terry L. Swift – Franklin, N.C.

U.S. doesn’t elect presidents by popular vote

Regarding the Nov. 20 etter to the editor, “All have a right to be and to be heard”: The writer states that the current president “won the last presidential election because most of America wanted him.”  This false statement has been repeated often in the last two years and it begs to be corrected yet again. In fact, the official popular vote count put Clinton ahead of her opponent by 2.86 million votes.  What the writer doesn’t seem to know (or has chosen to ignore) is that the U.S. doesn’t elect its president by popular vote.  Our president is elected by the Electoral College (reference the U.S. Constitution, Article 2, Section 1 and the 12th Amendment).  There have been five presidents elected by the Electoral College that did not win the popular vote: John Quincy Adams, Hayes, Harrison, George W. Bush (2000) and our sitting president. The irony in this is that immigrants who are taking the naturalization test are expected to know how we elect our president but many natural born citizens remain willfully ignorant of the process. Yes, we Americans do have a right to be and to be heard, but we also have a responsibility not to spread falsehoods, deliberately or otherwise.

Bruce Buchanan – Sylva, N.C.

Celebrating Thanksgiving in America

The Pilgrims sailed for America on Sept. 6, 1620, and for two months braved the harsh elements of a storm-tossed sea. Upon disembarking at Plymouth Rock, they held a prayer service and then hastily began building shelters. Unprepared for such a harsh New England winter, nearly half of them died before spring. Emerging from that grueling winter, the Pilgrims were surprised when an Indian named Samoset approached them and greeted them in their own language, explaining to them that he had learned English from fishermen and traders. A week later, Samoset returned with a friend named Squanto, who lived with the Pilgrims and accepted their Christian faith. Squanto taught the Pilgrims much about how to live in the New World, and he and Samoset helped forge a long-lasting peace treaty between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians. Pilgrim Governor William Bradford described Squanto as “a special instrument sent of God for good . . . he never left [us] till he died.” That summer, the Pilgrims, still persevering in prayer and assisted by helpful Indians, reaped a bountiful harvest. As Pilgrim Edward Winslow affirmed, “God be praised, we had a good increase of Indian corn”; “by the goodness of God, we are…far from want.” The grateful Pilgrims therefore declared a three-day feast in December 1621 to thank God and to celebrate with their Indian friends – 90 Wampanoag Indians joined the 50 pilgrims for the feasting (which included shellfish, lobsters, turkey, cornbread, berries, deer, and other foods), of play (the young men engaged in races, wrestling matches, and athletic events), and of prayer. This celebration and its accompanying activities were the origin of the holiday that Americans now celebrate each November. While the Pilgrims enjoyed times of prosperity, they also suffered extreme hardships. In 1623 they experienced an extended and prolonged drought. Knowing that without a change in the weather there would be no harvest and the winter would be filled with death and starvation, Governor Bradford called the Pilgrims to a time of prayer and fasting to seek God’s direct intervention. Shortly after that time of prayer, clouds appeared in the sky and a gentle and steady rain began to fall. Governor Bradford explained: “It came without either wind or thunder or any violence, and by degrees in abundance, as that ye earth was thoroughly wet and soaked therewith, which did so apparently revive and quicken ye decayed corn and other fruits as was wonderful to see, and made ye Indians astonished to behold; and afterwards the Lord sent them such seasonable showers, with interchange of fair warm weather as, through His blessing, caused a fruitful and liberal harvest, to their no small comfort and rejoicing.” The Pilgrim practice of designating an official time of Thanksgiving spread into neighboring colonies and became an annual tradition. The New England Colonies developed a practice of calling for a day of prayer and fasting in the spring, and a day of prayer and thanksgiving in the fall. These Thanksgiving celebrations began to spread southward after the American Revolution, when Congress issued 15 separate national Thanksgiving Proclamations. America’s first national Thanksgiving occurred in 1789. According to the Congressional Record for Sept. 25 of that year, the first act after the Framers completed the Bill of Rights was to deliver a resolution to President George Washington, who heartily consented and issued the first federal Thanksgiving proclamation, declaring in part: “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor. . . . Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November 1789 . . . that we may all unite to render unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection.” That same year, the Protestant Episcopal Church (of which President Washington was a member) announced that the first Thursday in November would become its regular day for giving thanks, “unless another day be appointed by the civil authorities.” Following President Washington’s initial proclamation, national Thanksgiving Proclamations occurred only sporadically (another by President Washington in 1795, one by John Adams in 1798 and again in 1799, one by James Madison in 1814 and again in 1815, etc.); most official Thanksgiving observances occurred at the state level. In fact, by 1815, the various state governments had issued at least 1,400 official prayer proclamations, almost half for times of thanksgiving and prayer and the other half for times of fasting and prayer. Much of the credit for the adoption of Thanksgiving as an annual national holiday may be attributed to Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale, who for two decades, promoted the idea of a national Thanksgiving Day, contacting presidents until Abraham Lincoln responded in 1863 by setting aside the last Thursday of that November. That Thanksgiving proclamation was delivered during the darkest days of the Civil War, the Union having lost many battles during its first three years. Lincoln called Americans to prayer with an air of positive optimism and genuine thankfulness, noting that, “The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the Source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God. . . . No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, Who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.” That remarkable Thanksgiving Proclamation came at a pivotal point in Lincoln’s spiritual life. Three months earlier, the Battle of Gettysburg had occurred, resulting in the loss of some 60,000 American lives. It had been while Lincoln was walking among the thousands of graves there at Gettysburg that he first committed his life to Christ. He later explained to a clergyman, “When I left Springfield, Illinois, to assume the Presidency, I asked the people to pray for me. I was not a Christian. When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ.” Over the 75 years following Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, presidents faithfully followed Lincoln’s precedent, annually declaring a national Thanksgiving Day. In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt began celebrating Thanksgiving on the 4th Thursday of each November, and in 1941, Congress permanently established that day as the national Thanksgiving holiday.

Ed Hill – Franklin, N.C.

Saudi mess a betrayal of American values

A recent letter writer said that the Democrats will do almost anything to get rid of Trump. He is probably right but for the wrong reasons. The president recently said he would give Saudi Arabia and its leader the benefit of the doubt about the brutal murder and dismemberment of a journalist and resident of the United States.  Our CIA has said with high certainty that they did it, but that was not good enough for President Trump. He said it would cost too much. He is worried that  they might cut off our oil. The U.S. is now  self-sufficient in oil. He is concerned that we will lose huge arms sales to the Saudis, but the actual sales are a small fraction of what he claims. He said we need good allies like the Saudis, but their war in Yemen has caused  the death of over 80,000 children from starvation. Even his Republican allies in Congress are crying foul on the Saudi mess as a betrayal of American values and moral leadership. On the home front, President Trump said, Californians should  just rake the leaves off the forest floor, like they do in Finland, then there would be no more wild fires. Ninety percent of the forest land in California is under federal governmental control, so he needs congress to appropriate money for an army of rakers, That should work. Don McGahn, the recently fired White House  attorney has admitted that President Trump wanted him to instruct the Justice Department to investigate and prosecute James Comey and Hillary Clinton. Since  the days of J. Edgar Hoover  and Watergate there has been an impenetrable wall between any administration and law enforcement. But Trump, who is no student of history, believes that the Justice Department is just a tool to go after anyone who disagrees with him.  There are many countries where this is true, China, Russia, North Korea, Turkey, to name just a few. But as Don McGahn told the president, in this democracy, that is an impeachable offence. This and much more has happened just in the last two weeks. So it is true that Democrats, as part of  a solid majority of voters in this country, will work very hard to end this stain on our presidency.

Louis Vitale – Franklin, N.C.

Do you mean, not to?

The Second Amendment states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” Please note the first words -“A well regulated Militia…” My mother used to ask me (1) if I meant to do something she had forbade me to do. Then she would ask (2) if I meant not to. I am reminded of this when I see more and more people being killed by military style guns. Do we mean for them to be killed? No! Of course not. But, do we mean for them not to be killed? As a gun owner and Second Amendment supporter I mean not to allow more people to be murdered with an assault weapon. That is why I choose not to own one. I would be afraid it would wind up in the hands of someone who killed people. I would then have some sense of guilt over a needless death. By not owning an assault weapon in spite of the fact that I currently have the right to I hope I am part of preserving “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” that our system of government is meant to secure for all people. Do you own an assault weapon? If so, why? Are you part of a “well regulated Militia?” Do you mean not to see more people murdered? Does America?

Dave Waldrop – Webster, N.C.

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