Letters for August 26, 2021

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The Macon County News letters page is a public forum open to a wide variety of opinions as a right guaranteed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Letters are neither accepted nor rejected based on content. Letters must be signed and contact information provided. Views expressed are not necessarily reflective of the opinions of publisher, editor or staff. Writers are asked to refrain from personal attacks against individuals or businesses. Email lettters to: maconcountynews@gmail.com.

School board article does ‘deadly disservice’

Your recent article in the Aug. 23 edition on the School Board meeting to discuss a school mask mandate present was misleading at best and does a deadly disservice to the public health the people of Macon County.

More than 2/3 of the article was dedicated to people and “arguments” against the mask mandate. You provided little space, if any, to the arguments for the mask mandate.

Parents quoted in the article disagreeing with the mask mandate provided emotional testimony but these were strictly anecdotal and spurious. Your paper even BOLD highlighted one of these misleading anecdotes. The author of this article made no attempt to provide any balance, such as referencing bona fide scientific studies that support the efficacy of mask wearing. For example, as recently as July 1 of this year, the Mayo Clinic published such a study, which your readers should look at if they wish to be more informed.

(see https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(21)00401-8/fulltext#relatedArticles).

Here is the conclusion of this study:

“These results support the principle of layered protection to mitigate transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, and other respiratory viruses and emphasize the importance of controlling the spread of aerosol at its source. The combination of masking and distancing reduced the exposure to exhaled particulates more than any individual measure. Combined measures remain the most effective way to combat the spread of respiratory infection.”

Referencing any previous statements about the effectives of masks in helping to slow the spread of Covid-19, especially those made in 2020, is also misleading our readers. The data the science is based on changes overtime, and the current data supports the effectiveness of masks.

I would expect to see such a slanted presentation of the facts in the Letters to the Editor section of this newspaper. However presenting anecdotal, incorrect views in the News section of the paper without also presenting the actual facts about the value of masks is a very serious and deadly omission. Our community deserves more responsible reporting.

Shame on you.  

  

John Barry – Franklin, N.C.

Incompetence of this administration is appalling

During President Trump’s “America First” administration, he was constantly criticized, harassed and vilified by the main street press and the Democrats.

On two occasions the Democrats brought Articles of Impeachment based on bogus, trumped-up charges, one of which was concocted and paid for by Hillary Clinton. He was acquitted both times.

During his administration he resumed construction of the Keystone Pipeline, opened areas of Alaska for oil production and exploration and removed restrictive regulations creating, for the first time, an energy independent America. He closed our southern border and began construction of the wall to protect our national security.

When Joe Biden was elected president his first act was to issue a number of spiteful Executive Orders, the objective of which was to undo all of President Trump’s accomplishments.

Let’s take a look at how that turned out. The halting of the Keystone Pipeline construction has resulted in the doubling of gas prices and Biden is now begging OPEC to increase production in order to reverse the escalating price of oil and gas.

Construction of the wall was stopped and the border opened creating the largest uncontrolled illegal migration in our history. Many of the migrants are infected by and untreated for the Covid virus and are being disseminated throughout the country compounding the epidemic.

President Biden’s latest debacle is the attempted exit from Afghanistan. Instead of following President Trump’s exit plan calling for the removal of our people first, billions of dollars in military equipment secondly and finally our troops, while telling the Taliban leaders that any attempt to take over the country would be met with their annihilation. Biden did just the opposite. He brought the troops out, turned over our military assets to our enemy the Taliban who, within a week, had taken control of the country, and he is now leaving most of the people stranded, while telling Stephanopoulos in a recent interview, the chaos was unavoidable.

The ignorance and incompetence of the Biden administration is appalling and it is all the result of their disdain and spiteful opposition to the accomplishments of President Trump and their misconceived idea that they can create a utopia under Socialism/Communism.

There is a war within the Democrat Party against our Constitutional freedoms. They have conspired with big tech and the media to restrict freedom of speech and are attempting to remove our right to bear arms with Draconian gun legislation and talks of confiscation. They have adopted the call of the Marxist organizations ANTIFA and BLM to defund the police. If allowed to continue, total anarchy will prevail.

In order to save America, the Republicans must take control of the House and Senate while removing the RINOs within the Party, members of which are Senators Burr and Tillis who supported the recent “Infrastructure Bill” primarily containing increases in taxes and spending for the Democrats’ socialist programs and very little for actual infrastructure.

It’s time for freedom-loving Americans to take charge and vote for America First.  

Marshall “Buck” Miller – Franklin, N.C.

We are all free to make our own choices

While I can understand Felecia Henderson’s opinion, and I want her to live her life the way she wants to, I have this to say.

First of all, we all were given free will, to live our lives, by our Heavenly Father. Without free will, we would all be living lives that would be without choice. This country was originally founded upon the principles of free will and choice. Some of these rights to choose have been compromised by certain things being passed in our state and federal governments. But, we still have many freedoms that keep us able to choose.

Secondly, we all have to decide if we want to risk our lives to get the vaccine for COVID-19. There are people who have died from the vaccine. Yes, there are. While the numbers are small, it has happened. Some people have medical issues and can not take the vaccines available here in the U.S. They are among those who could die from them. Is someone who’s immune system is compromised by medical conditions supposed to sacrifice themselves on her “altar of the right thing to do?” I work in the health care profession and, while I have, myself, taken the vaccine, there are those that I know also in health care that haven’t. Should they stop caring for people? Should our already strained health care systems be further weakened because they didn’t get the vaccine and they be fired? Again, there are the health issues that come into play. Without our “frontline” workers in health care professions the country would be worse off.

Third, I respect that Felecia has her opinion, but I’m not stupid. Neither are all of the people I know. I have family and friends who will not take the vaccine and in reality are truly putting their own lives at risk, not others’. How could you prove that someone killed someone by giving them the virus? Could you prove it?  If so, then condemn everyone. The virus was spread because people didn’t know that they had it and would go out. Remember, we shut down as a country, last year, to slow down the spread. At the same time our economy began to tank. Calling people stupid because they won’t conform to her opinion of right or wrong isn’t the what Heavenly Father wants us to do. We all must make our own choices. We must all live with our choices, right or wrong.

Lastly, if anyone is wanting to impose their way of thinking on myself or my family, they will discover that they won’t be listened to. No one’s opinion is wrong. The failure of our country will be when we have been totally stripped of our rights as citizens of this country. Is doing what she considers “the right thing,” the right thing? She says that people are in denial, yes, there are some who are, but not everyone. There are people who think they are better than everyone else, but not me. I’m a simple, down to earth,  wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and family member to other family members, and friend to many, many people. I’m not afraid of what will happen to me. I’m afraid for my family and friends, but I won’t stop being their family member or friend just because they do or don’t take the vaccine.

If my opinion offends Felecia, then it is her choice to be offended. I am not offended by hers, I am merely expressing mine. Thank you for listening to my opinion, anyone who reads this.

  

   Janet G. Burch – Franklin, N.C.

How to get to heaven

Over the years, I’ve written a few letters to the editor. I’ll be judged before Christ someday at true judgement on truth or did I lie in these letters. I no longer submit letters to The Franklin Press. To me, they’ve become too judgmental. In fact, I don’t think the Rants and Raves should be printed. I don’t think anything should be published in any paper or book that people don’t know who wrote. To me, that’s the devil’s way of stirring up discord and division. My wise brother Kenneth once told me, “Remember Jerry, you have the right to speak, but not the right to be heard.” If you choose, you can stop reading this letter now, even call me, and bless me out. Remember though, I have the right to hang up my phone.

I know many may want to know what happened on the side of the road, one-tenth mile off of 64 down Fulton Road. God willing, I will tell you later, but, today I want to tell everyone how to get to heaven.

If you’ve been wondering what must I do to get to heaven, keep reading, I will tell you. I’m not a preacher, but I was saved, born again, at 12 years old, at Wells Grove Baptist Church. I’m sitting in the parking lot now, waiting for worship service to begin. It’s 9:57 a.m. and at 11 a.m., our pastor and his wife will deliver the message God has laid on their hearts. They’re a good team.

Now, how does a person get to heaven? It’s so simple even a three-year-old child can understand. First, you must realize you are lost, and need a Savior. Second, you must know you are a sinner and need forgiveness. And third, you must believe Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God and died on the cross for your sins. Then you must pray. I’ll give you an example of how to pray. Just say, “Heavenly Father, I believe your only Son Jesus died for me on that old rugged cross, and rose from his grave three days later. I’m sorry for all my sins, please forgive me and write my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. From this day forward, I will try to live more like your Son, Jesus Christ.”

If you sincerely prayed that prayer, then I believe you got saved. The Holy Spirit will help you live for Jesus. Please get involved in a church that preaches the word of God, and learn more about the Bible. There are several good preachers on TV now, but you should go to a local church. God’s word tells us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. What’s important is to assemble one day a week and worship and rest. You’re always welcome at Wells Grove Baptist between Macon Middle School and Mountain Valley. We’re meeting now at 11 a.m. in the parking lot.  

 Jerry Holden – Franklin, N.C.

Be a part of the solution instead of the problem

I read it in the papers and I hear it on the streets, Somebody Needs To Do Something About: Litter, the neighbor’s dog, homelessness, and on and on. Well, this got me thinking about how my folks handled the mysterious “Somebody” problems that came up once in a while at our house, (my brother and I tried to blame it on anyone but ourselves.) Mom would set an extra place at the table for dinner. We’d ask who was coming and her answer was, “Well, I thought maybe if Somebody would sit down and eat with us we could end the bad behavior that’s going on.” 

Sooner of later it comes down to what we do, or more often than not, don’t do. The truth of the matter is if we stopped looking for somebody else to do the work, and tried to be a part of the solution rather than part of the problem, maybe some of the issues pressuring us could be dealt with properly. Go to a county commissioners meeting the second Tuesday of every month, talk to your town officials; those folks are there to help you with issues in our community. Band together with your neighbors for a solution to a common problem. Volunteer where it’s needed. If we would all take responsibility for what’s happening in our community we’d all be happier and more gracious “Somebodys.”  

 Susan Schlatter – Franklin, N.C.

Right of free speech must yield to the greater good

Americans have created for themselves quite a quandary trying to interpret both the literal and the intended meaning of the First Amendment to the Constitution.  That portion that states: “Congress shall make no law abridging (which means to shorten or reduce) the freedom of speech” seems now to beg the question; can the ideals of free speech and social justice be in harmony?

A conflict exists between advocates of liberal principles of individual freedom and champions of traditional republicanism, which emphasizes pursuit of the common good.   Civil libertarians seem to idolize freedom of expression above all other considerations while others insist that the right to self-expression must sometimes yield to the greater good of society as a whole.  Case in point: COVID-19.

Writers, journalists, newspaper editors (and the like) brood constantly whether protecting the rights of people to express themselves is compatible with reporting, factually, the events of our time. Many people believe that stating: “Views expressed are not necessarily reflective of the opinions of the publisher, editor or staff,” are sufficient to absolve any publication of responsibility for what’s printed within its pages.  Legally, that’s probably true.

We cannot go back in time and sit with the framers of our Constitution and know for sure what was debated.   However, having read the Constitution many times over, I speculate they favored telling the absolute truth at all times.  I know of nothing that would disprove that assessment, although reading some letters to editors (for example, from Messrs. Gaston, Stern, and Taylor), obviously we are not all in agreement on matters involving facts and truth. My BS detector fires off frequently with an ear-splitting clang.

I’m of two minds.  As the Editor-in-Chief of The New Republic (Win McCormack) writes in the September, 2021 issue:  “One of the most compelling examples of the use of free speech on behalf of the greater good is that of Frederick Douglas, an ex-slave whose writings and oratory helped inspire the abolitionist movement.” Douglass’s views on free speech were unequivocal:  “To suppress free speech is a double wrong,” he said.  “It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.”

The question whether to protect the freedom of the individual to speak freely disregarding the truth or misrepresentation of known facts; or whether to consider the greater good and harm that comes from spreading misinformation, will not be easily resolved. People who choose to remain unvaccinated do so believing they have the right to put other lives at risk.  I don’t believe they do but rather are in violation of the spirit and intent of the Constitution.

As COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise, especially in areas with higher levels of community transmissions and lower vaccination coverage, I personally lean heavily toward serving the greater good.  If that means restricting harmful speech (lies and misinformation), or at least revealing it and condemning it in order to save innocent lives, then that is what we should do.  

  

David Snell – Franklin, N.C.

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