Letters to the Editor for April 28


No negative connotation in Resignation

Letter to the editor in response to the Macon County News & Shopping Guide article Thursday, April 21, 2016 “Mayor resigns from ATCC board”:

As a founding member of the Franklin Appalachian Trail Community Council I offer for readers the following information: Facts: 1. Franklin Mayor Bob Scott was one of four people that promoted Franklin to seek designation as an Appalachian Trail Community. 2. The Franklin Appalachian Trail Community Council (by its by-laws) has two representatives from the Town of Franklin an alderman and a town employee. 3. Since the Council’s formation in 2009, until elected mayor, Bob Scott served as the town alderman representative. 4. When elected mayor Pattie Able replaced Bob Scott as the alderman representative. 5. Mayor Scott remained on the Council until his recent resignation (by its by-laws the council has a flexible membership from 11-15).

In my opinion: 1. Mayor Scott left the Council in strong hands. 2. His love of Macon County’s surrounding natural beauty and his support to Franklin as a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts is unquestionable. 3. At this time, his leadership, managerial ability and political capital need to focus on other issues facing Franklin. 4. Franklin’s position as an A.T. Community is secure in no small part to his early vision and eight years on the Council.

Bill Van Horn — Franklin, N.C.

Read2me invites community to Story Walk unveiling

We are so excited to have our first Story Walk ready to unveil to the community! On Friday, May 6 at 10 a.m., Read2Me will be partnering with Daybreak Rotary, the Macon County Public Library, and Mainspring Conservation Trust to unveil our first Story Walk to the community!

Light refreshments will be served and the Macon County Public Library to lead a walk through the Story Walk.

A StoryWalk® is a fun, educational activity that places a children’s story  along a popular walking route in the community.  Conceived as a way to inspire parents, teachers, and caregivers to take young children out of doors for physical activity and to learn, StoryWalk® helps build children’s interest in reading while encouraging healthy activity for both adults and children.

We invite you and your family to come out for this fun event along the Little Tennessee Greenway. The Story Walk is located on the Little Tennessee Greenway entrance off of the Highlands Roads. The walk is located around the Rotary Park Loop.

Recent research supports an interactive and experiential process of learning spoken and written language skills that begin in early infancy. We now know that children gain significant knowledge of language, reading, and writing long before they enter school. Children learn to talk, read, and write through such social literacy experiences as adults or older children interacting with them using books and other literacy materials, including magazines, markers, and paper. Simply put, early literacy research states that:

Language, reading and writing skills develop at the same time and are intimately linked.

Early literacy development is a continuous developmental process that begins in the first years of life.

Early literacy skills develop in real life settings through positive interactions with literacy materials and other people.

We hope you will join us on May 6 at 10 a.m.!

Brittney Burns — Read2Me — Franklin, N.C.

Think tanks have created conservative ideology 

The rise of Donald Trump as a political force is an indictment of the conservative movement in our country. His success is the outcome of right wing antics employed by a variety of media and political organizations over the past couple decades. Fox News has distorted the minds of television viewers with misinformation, while right wing radio has filled their hearts with rage. But, perhaps, the most powerful and nefarious instrument of deception is the modern “think tank.”

Think Tanks are the institutions responsible for creating the ideological basis for Movement Conservatism, such as The Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute and The Cato Institute. I use the term ideology pointedly. It is a system of thought disseminated by the ruling class in order to further their interests, while encouraging the under class to acquiesce in their repression. In other words, an ideology is a worldview created by the wealthy (or their intellectual minions), for the benefit of the wealthy, yet it is promoted as beneficial for non-wealthy. And it is, thereby, supported by the non-wealthy.

Examples of ideology are legion in right wing circles today. Trickle down economics, climate change denial, unfettered military spending, health care and education policy are all ideologies that originated in think tanks created and funded by billionaires to protect their interests. It is advantageous for the rich to have their taxes cut on the premise that the tax cuts will “pay for themselves” and trickle down to the rest of us. When, in reality, huge tax cuts for the rich create unsustainable deficits that force the government to cut programs that benefit those who are not-so-rich or increase the national debt.

Climate change denial is ideology par excellence. The right wing, billionaire Koch Brothers make their billions from fossil fuels. This is potentially problematic.  If burning fossil fuels emits greenhouse gases that trap heat, then their business model is in serious jeopardy. So the Koch Brothers fund The Cato Institute and other think tanks that pump out quack “science” to politicize and obfuscate the truth about the irrevocable harm we are doing to the planet. And, I submit, climate change denial makes (immoral) sense if you are a billionaire oil magnate. It does not make sense if you are a middle class grandfather of seven grandchildren who are going pay the real costs for the billions of dollars made by the Koch Brothers. This is the evil genius of ideology. The blue collar grandpa, who listens to Glenn Beck in morning and watches Bill O’Reilly in the evening, is no less enthusiastic about denying the incontrovertible effects of anthropogenic climate change than is the billionaire oil man, Charles Koch.

Military spending and the propaganda campaign to “support the troops,” which gives our military blanket moral sanction to kill all over the world in defense of “liberty,” is also a form of ideology. Killing requires weapons. Weapons are made by weapons contractors. A reduction in kills amounts to a reduction in weapons, and puts the weapons contractors’ business model in jeopardy. Thus, we have been in armed conflicts in foreign countries ever single year since the end of WW2. Estimates range from as low as 20 million to as high as 35 million deaths caused by our military during these years, many of which were civilian. It has, indeed, been a lucrative stint for the weapons contractors. Most of the killing, facilitated by the weapons contractors, was to create “favorable investment climates” for US corporations abroad. Yet, if a person criticizes the military, as I am doing now, he or she will be ostracized as “unpatriotic” and told to “support the troops.” Never question war … or its profiteers. So every Republican, every debate, promises to spend more money on the military and the crowds cheer.

What does this have to do with Trump you are probably wondering? In a word, trade. The ideology of trade has blown up in the faces of the neoliberal ideologues, left and right, who promised utopian benefits from free trade. Millions of jobs for working class families have been lost. Billions of dollars have been made overseas by wealthy corporations. This is a reality felt by many on the right in our country. But they lack the political education to diagnose the problem correctly. They have been conditioned by right wing ideology to blame everything on “liberals.” Climate change: a liberal hoax.  Cut military spending: liberals trying to weaken American dominance in the world. Universal health care: liberal “death panels” will ration your care. They are also disillusioned with establishment politicians. Hence, they lend there support to a man whose panacea for every political problem is to “make good deals.” Conservatives have been duped. The chickens have come home to roost. Trump is going to be their nominee and he will most likely lose to a liberal in November. I think it is about time for conservatives to question where and from whom they are getting their political (mis)education?


Marshall Solomon — Franklin, N.C.