What’s next on the agenda for America?
The grand Commonwealth of Massachusetts has come a long way since the American Revolution and the days of Captain John Parker (1729-1775) who is believed to have turned to his fellow patriots gathered at Lexington and said, “Don’t fire unless fired upon but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”
Once known as the “Birthplace of American Freedom,” Boston now showcases a rainbow flag next to city hall placed there by the present mayor of Boston (Marty Walsh) next to the state and U.S. flag to honor the transgender so-called “community” of which Mayor Walsh is a self-described supporter. “The flag,” he said, “will continue to fly until everyone is equal under the law in Massachusetts.”
Funny, the good people of Massachusetts have strived to be free and equal for 400 years, now all of a sudden, one very small segment of the population, in the name of tolerance, inclusion, equality, diversity, compassion and open-mindedness, requires its own flag.
One other rather odd element at play here too. Imagine the response had Mayor Walsh chosen, instead of a rainbow flag, to raise a Christian flag in front of Beantown’s City Hall. It would have incited immediate protests from the Freedom From Religion groups (and other radical persuasions), lawsuits from the ACLU, and every progressive liberal in the nation would be foaming at the mouth.
How did we ever get from equal rights for all Americans to the raising of a special flag representing a relatively small group of people; lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals, transgender, questioning and intersex individuals? Unfamiliar with the latest initial in the LGBTQI checklist, let me save you looking it up. The letter “I” is for Intersex … “an individual displaying sexual characteristics of both male and female.”
We have a very serious problem in this country the end result of which could (if left unresolved) make the American Revolution seem like a weekend skirmish. In other words, the remaining 97 or 98 percent of Americans who are not aligned with the LGBTQI assembly (you know, the vast majority of us) had better decide (and quick) what we want the future of this once great nation to be for our children and their posterity.
This turmoil began with the acceptance of same sex marriage and with the blessing of the Supreme Court. A more immediate concern now is, what’s next on the LGBTQI agenda that Americans will be forced to approve and acquiesce to?
David L. Snell — Franklin, N.C.
The ‘devil is in the details’ of HB2
Recent letters have provided more smoke than light regarding HB2, also known as House Bill 2, which concerns itself with bathroom use, unfunded mandates, setting wages, hours or working conditions, micromanagement from the state, discrimination in employment and housing, and lack of ability to sue in cases of discrimination.
For the record, this was an overwhelmingly Republican-passed bill, signed by the Republican governor.
The introduction states that the General Assembly finds that consistent state-wide laws “will improve intrastate commerce” and “attract(s) new business” to North Carolina. A cursory view of national headlines reveals that the impact of HB2 has been just the opposite—large companies are leaving N.C. in droves.
One reason for the exodus is in Part I, the bathroom clause. While common sense and decency would suggest that we not put males and females together in showers, etc, the devil is in the details.
The key is how the Assembly defines ‘biological sex,’ which they order be determined by what is on one’s birth certificate. Enforcement is all but impossible as the Assembly provided no money to hire people to guard all the public restrooms and check birth certificates.
Also, not everyone has the same genitalia that they were born with. HB2 mandates that someone with female genitalia but has male on her birth certificate to use the boys shower. Either the Republicans didn’t think this through, or they consciously ignored the reality on the ground to punish, humiliate and endanger people.
Part II prevents local governments from setting their own (higher) minimum wage. The worst part is that this states that private profit (business and industry) is more important than “the general welfare of the people.”
Part III allows discrimination against LGBTQ citizens in employment, housing, and other public accommodations. When an amendment was added to protect these and veteran residents, the Republicans voted it down.
It also prevents a civil suit against those who illegally discriminate, but instead mandates using a state agency whose purpose is to “effect an amicable resolution,” not seek justice.
For these reasons, HB2 can also be called Hate Bill 2.
Dan Kowal — Franklin, N.C.
Distractions in search of the big events
The distractions within modern living are evident to us all, it’s just many times it’s not realized. I’m just as guilty as anyone, in watching the TV and someone asks a question and I’ve tuned them out and don’t hear anything except what’s on that mesmerizing TV screen. When you’re out for lunch you see many texting or talking on cell phones, it seems we’re in multiple conversations at once. Many are so accustomed to noise around them that they are unable to sleep unless they have some type of background noise. The unending excitement and absorption of technology and the internet and where this seems to lead to is a bottomless abyss to whatever end we desire. There was a song that displays in such a profound way a distraction that we all in some form or another can relate to “The Cats and the Cradle and the Silver Spoon” (Harry Chapin). It shows how distracted a father can get in not focusing on what really matters, only to neglect his son, then having his son grow up and repeat the unending cycle once again, then in realizing this distraction, states, “I’ve grown up just like you Dad, I’ve grown up just like you.”
We are all in some way distracted in searching for the big events in life, things that shake or profoundly move us and arouse our senses. We feel in many ways that if we’re not living on the edge and become so absorbed in the immediate, we’ll miss or lose something, even to the point of leaving others behind. We find these life distractions many times becoming so absorbing, earth shaking, thunderous and moving that it gives our inner self its temporary fix.
Many of us get distracted and look towards God in the same way; we want something that shakes our very core, or moves mountains that overwhelm us, makes a thunderous appearance so He proves Himself to us and makes us believe. We desperately want to find something so overwhelming that creates, moves and shapes this world in which we live so we can believe, realize, and internalize it. Like many, we view God with a jaded outlook, we miss totally His quieting heart and whispering voice.
I myself have come to the realization that God for the most part speaks gently and softly to the willing heart of man. We seem to be looking for God without listening for Him. There’s a sign at our driveway that I overlook way too often, it says, “Be Still and Know that I am God” (Psalms 47:10).
Being quiet and reflective is something we all need, We need to have quieting times where we can talk and think to ourselves and open our hearts so we hear God’s whispering voice. That still small voice that comes from within, asking why am I here, what is life about, does it matter, why within this crowded life I feel alone? He has placed within us this search, in a hope and a love, that you… may find Him.
Deni Shepard – firstname.lastname@example.org
Writing class created close relationships
I am in a writing class with 10 others and a lovely, inspiring teacher. Our class has been meeting weekly for over a year at the Crawford Senior Citizens Center. Our class has “bonded” as we strive to work written memories for our families. Each week, our assignment is announced by our teacher, Reesa Boyce, and we go around the table sharing readings of the day. The sharing of personal memories and intimate struggles is what has bound us together.
Is it any wonder that revealing our “secret selves” in this protected environment would result in loving, kindness and truths that would create a “family atmosphere?” We relaxed and were thankful and proud of each other’s accomplishments.
We learned to value community and respect those who made Macon County Senior Center, now named to honor two very inspiring leaders, the Crawfords.
The Western North Carolina Mountains of Franklin were a new location to some class members. This unifying living experience created common bonds from which relationships grew. The “plus” is that we each had the common goal of learning this specific writing venue rather than seeking friendship. It just happened naturally as we applied ourselves to the study. The “I” that each of us began with morphed into “our group” and then into the “choice” of close family-like relationships. It was a warm and wonderful spontaneous happening. I felt strengthened as a person of family who writes, who found treasured new friends in the Western North Carolina “gold fields.”
With the leadership of Reesa Boyce, we have produced a book of our stories. A public reading will be held in the Macon County Public Library on Saturday, June 4, from 1 to 4 p.m.
Fay Parker — Franklin, N.C.
Residents make this caring community ‘the place’
All of us remember reading about Brigham Young reaching Salt Lake in Utah and telling his Mormon Church followers: “This is the place.” I wrote similar lines extolling the beauty of Macon County’s rolling and rising mountains some years ago, but today I focus on the residents themselves.
For nearly two years, I have been physically incapacitated and thus stayed away from the county commissioners’ meetings, a function I had so enjoyed attending and participating in.
I went last night [Tuesday, May 10] and saw the new Ronnie Beale, trimmed and healthy yet still as effervescent and as sociable as I remembered him. It is characteristic of him to be all inclusive. The other commissioners, including Chairman Corbin and former principal Gary Shields, as well as various public officials such as Robbie Holland, were shaking hands as warmly as though they were running for, rather than already serving in, public office. Their reaching out and showing concern was not for political ends; it’s just who they are. Their friendliness comes by them naturally; after all, they were raised that way. Kidding and joshing as they exchange ripostes is the natural order of things – it is the way life should be conducted. Everyone was so happy being together that, if a fiddler had been present, the entire roomful would have taken to square dancing on the spot!
Descendants of families rooted here can do that because they are confident everyone knows, at heart, they are respected. Before you say, “well, why not? Doesn’t everybody?” I must say, “no.” I’ve lived in Philadelphia, Boston, and New Haven, as well as some half dozen military bases in the east, and nowhere is like right here. It’s not just the fantastic setting in which we live. It’s the ambience, the aura created by the folk who have been living here for nigh on 170 years now. Last night, I felt I had returned home after a long absence. It was so good to be sitting in a sea of people who trusted, loved, and relied on one another so strongly.
I wake up everyday refreshed and grateful that I live here in the mountains, but I am most thankful for having become a part of such a caring and heartfelt community of people. Thank you, Maconians, for being who and what you are.
Samantha Narelle Kirkland — Franklin, N.C.
There is but one way that leads to life
The Bible verse Psalms 1:6 imparts: “For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”
St. Matthew 7:13, 14, imparts: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
John 14:6 says “Jesus saith, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
John 10:1 reveals “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.”
Floyd Cruse — Franklin, N.C.
Donations of cloth needed to help ‘Nessie’
I love Scottish lore, especially the Loch Ness monster, also known as “Nessie.” The Taste of Scotland will have a visit from our local Nessie on June 18. She is 16 feet long and loves children. Being decorated with colorful strips of cloth makes her feel loved. Due to an unfortunate accident, her cloth strips were damaged. There is an urgent need to replace her decorations. I am calling on all Nessie lovers to help me out. Any pattern, color, or style would be appreciated. The strips need to be about eight to 12 inches long. There will be a small box at the Scottish Tartans Museum to take the presents for Nessie.
The Taste of Scotland will be held in downtown Franklin June 16-19. Any donations of cloth would be appreciated. this is a way for everyone to make our beloved water horse colorful once again.
Thanks go to Joe and Claire Suminski for sharing Nessie with all the visitors and local community.
Merrilee Bordeaux — Franklin, N.C.