Letters for July 30, 2020

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The Macon County News letters page is a public forum open to a wide variety of  opinions. Letters are neither accepted nor rejected on the basis of the opinions expressed. Writers are asked to refrain from personal attacks against individuals or businesses. Letters are not necessarily reflective of the opinions of the publisher, editor or staff of The Macon County News. What would our Founding Fathers do?

“He has erected a Multitude of new Officers and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harass our People…”

“He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.”

These words were among the charges against tyrant King George III in declaring independence from England in 1776. History repeats itself. These charges have come alive today in the tyrannical actions of our would be king, Donald Trump.

To quote further from our Declaration of Independence:

“Governments are instituted among Men deriving their just power from the consent of the governed.”

No Governor of any state, or Mayor of any city, has given consent to Trump’s sending his storm troopers to invade their cities. These storm troopers have unlawfully beaten, gassed and detain demonstrators in Portland, Oregon, violating their constitutional rights.

To quote from the First Amendment to our Constitution:

“Congress shall make no laws……. abridging the right of people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The Fourth Amendment states:

“The right of people to be secure in their persons………against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.”

Donald Trump’s use of storm troopers is in flagrant violation of our first and fourth amendments. Please note Trump is only targeting states and cities with Democratic governors and mayors. His unidentified military force is creating urban warfare designed to prove Democrats are out of control rioters and anarchists. Trump is posturing as a law and order president. His use of this tactic is designed to sway voters to reelect him and his Republican supporters in November.

Do we still believe in the values expressed in the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution? Our Founders fought and died in the Revolution to secure this government for future generations of Americans. At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin was asked “What kind of government do we have?” Franklin replied, “A republic, if we can keep it.” This question has yet to be determined. What would our Founding Fathers do?

Margery Abel – Franklin, N.C.

Human Trafficking Awareness Day July 30

As parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles, what wouldn’t we do to protect the children in our lives from harm? We teach our children how to be safe, to not talk to strangers, and more. Do our hearts go out to a family whose child dies, to families who have children dealing with cancer, to a family who has a child lost or missing? It’s hard to imagine anyone answering, “No.”

Thursday, July 30, is Human Trafficking Awareness Day worldwide. In her powerful and passionate speech at the Variety Power of Women event on April 22, 2017, actress Blake Lively, herself a mother, spoke about her work with Child Rescue Coalition. She said that 30 million child pornography files are traded every day and that the average pedophile abuses 50 to 100 children in his lifetime.  You can watch her short speech titled  “Blake Lively Gives Emotional Speech on Child Pornography” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMVHz-1I1zY&feature=youtu.be.

It’s said that sex trafficking makes three times as much money as the NFL and that it’s the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. One organization that has been working to rescue children is Operation Underground Railroad (OUR), founded by Tim Ballard. OUR has teams that work with governments and agencies around the world to rescue children caught in the sex trade. An essential component is their aftercare program to give children the support and space to heal, however long it takes. A movie is being made about their work, which will feature Jim Caviezel as Tim Ballard. More can be learned about Operation Underground Railroad in the video,  “Actor Jim Caviezel and Tim Ballard of Operation Underground Railroad 3 Questions with Bob Evans”:

In the United States, “When a child is reported missing to law enforcement, federal law requires that child be entered into the FBI’s National Crime Information Center, also known as NCIC. According to the FBI, in 2019 there were 421,394 NCIC entries for missing children. In 2018, the total number of missing children entries into NCIC was 424,066.” The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, “NCMEC, operates the CyberTipline, a national mechanism for the public and electronic service providers to report instances of suspected child sexual exploitation.

In 2019 the CyberTipline received more than 16.9 million reports, most of which related to: Apparent child sexual abuse material; Online enticement, including ‘sextortion’; Child sex trafficking; and Child sexual molestation.” 

https://www.missingkids.org/footer/media/KeyFacts.

The Bible says, “But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of Go,” NKJ. Human trafficking and sex trafficking needs to be stopped. Please pray that those responsible for this horrendous evil be exposed and brought to justice and that children and adults trapped in human trafficking be rescued and able to heal.

Panthea Crawford – Franklin, N.C.

Have you been sprayed?

Duke Energy, through a contractor, has started aerial spraying of herbicides over the rights-of-way for their transmission lines, the lines supported by large steel towers. Here in Oak Grove, this means that three routes are subject to the defoliants: the line which runs over Lakey and Bradley Creeks into the Cowee Community, up Goshen Creek and down Greens Creek in Jackson County; the line which crosses the Little Tennessee River at Deans Island and runs up Tellico Creek to Wesser Gap, crossing the Appalachian Trail and descending into the Nantahala Community; and finally, the line which parallels NC 28 and the Little Tennessee before veering toward Bryson City.

Were you notified prior to the spraying operation? We were not, yet Duke’s own instructions state: “In developed and maintained areas, we typically notify property owners a minimum of three days prior to the start of planned vegetation maintenance work. We usually notify customers with a door hanger, but we may also call, send a letter or knock on your door. Sometimes notification includes a combination of these methods. We’ll also provide a point of contact in case you have questions or concerns about the work being done. If our attempts to notify a customer are unsuccessful, work will proceed without further direct notification.”

What chemicals are being used in this operation? We have observed containers labeled IMAZAPYR, METHOD, and TRICLORPYR. The safety data sheets warn of not allowing human contact with the airborne mist or allowing it to enter surface water. Google these herbicides and you will be more dismayed, as some have been responsible for irreversible eye damage, skin irritation, and fish kills.

But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved these herbicides. They must be safe. Wait. Look again. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, who made a two-year investigation of EPA approval of pesticides (and herbicides), the EPA used a regulatory loophole to approve 65% of 16,000 pesticides that pose a threat to public health. The approval loophole was intended to be used only in public health emergencies, not in the routine way it was used by EPA. Aerial spraying of herbicides has only been used by Duke for the past 3-1/2 years, since 2016. Go figure.

Have you come into contact with the spray while it was airborne, or on grass, vegetables or fruit where it has come to rest? Have you experienced skin or eye irritation? Have your crops or fruit been damaged by drift from the prescribed ROW zone? Has your drinking water source been contaminated? We know of at least two neighbors who have been impacted.

In the past, right-of-way vegetation management of transmission lines has been a ground operation, much safer for Duke customers in proximity to this ROW, but not now. Be aware. Be safe. Stay out of the way of active spraying and airborne drift. Aerial herbicide application is happening right now.

See a doctor, of course, if your body has been impacted, but also call the regulatory agency to report any contamination of crops, gardens, water or trees outside of the ROW: Dwight Seal, Western District Manager, NC Dept of Agriculture and Consumer Services 939-733-3556. 

Doug Woodward – Franklin, N.C.

Texas doctor: ‘There is a cure for Covid-19’

I just watched a video of an African-American physician named Dr. Stella Immanuel. She was speaking in Washington, DC, to a group of doctors. She spoke with passion and conviction. She is courageous and bold. She is a primary care physician in Houston, Texas, where she daily treats 10-15 Covid-19 patients.

She went to medical school in Nigeria, West Africa, where she used Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to treat malaria. Dr. Immanuel has treated over 350 patients, some with diabetes, high blood pressure, and asthma. Her oldest patient is 92. All of the treated patients are alive because she had the courage to buck the system and use a treatment that works. She has put her staff and many doctors she knows on HCQ as a preventative. None have gotten sick. She came to Washington to say to America, “Nobody needs to die.”

She is upset because she sees patients who cannot breathe, who are diabetic, and some with other issues, knowing that this is a death sentence for them. They are terrified. She hugs them and tells them they are going to live. She treats them and they live. None have died. She condemns those who published fake scientific studies saying it doesn’t work. She says there is no way that HCQ doesn’t work since she treated 350 people and none died. Instead, they all got better.

Covid has a cure. It is called hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and azithromycin. Nobody needs to get sick or die. Nobody needs to wear a mask. No one needs to miss school or work. People don’t need to be locked down. There is prevention and there is a cure.

She condemned all the “fake doctors” who say they want a double-blind study. She said that’s immoral when people are dying. She named doctors who say it doesn’t work and challenges them, “Have you ever treated a Covid patient, and they died from heart disease?  When you do, come and talk to me!” (Some claim that HCQ causes heart problems. False. It is chloroquine that had that side effect. That’s why HCQ was developed.) She says she sees people every day who drive 2 or 3 hours to see her because their ER doctor is afraid of the Texas Board and they won’t prescribe life-saving medication for them. She says those doctors are like the “good” Nazis who stood by and watched the murder of Jews and did not speak up.

She receives many threats but refuses to stand by and let Americans die while there is a cure for their condition. She says, “You can threaten me, kill me, you can report me to the boards. I don’t care! I am NOT going to let Americans die unnecessarily.”

She says, “America, there is a cure for Covid! All this foolishness does not need to happen! People don’t need to stay six feet apart. They don’t need to wear masks (which don’t work anyway). There is a cure for Covid! It’s called hydroxychloroquine. It’s called zinc. It’s called azithromycin. And it’s time for the grassroots to wake up and say we’re not going to take this any longer, and we’re not going to die. When someone is dead they’re not coming back to argue, and ask to look at your double-blind studies.” She says if six months from now, you doctors get the data you want, and it says this works, what about all the patients who have died in the meantime? And you want a double-blind study? It’s unethical!

Ed Hill – Franklin, N.C.

Election will be referendum on MAGA promise

This November’s presidential election will be a referendum on President Trump’s promise to “Make America Great Again” and, in my view, will also significantly impact the future of Representative Democracy itself.

History gives testimony to many great and exceptional nations and civilizations; Ancient Egypt and Persia in biblical times, Greece and Rome at the dawn of Christianity and of course, Ancient China.  Their fall from greatness are epic sagas worthy of study.

Nations seeking greatness by attempting to dominate the rest of the world soon become pariah states, wither and die from within, and disappear.  That’s not new news, it’s a small slice of known history in an even smaller nutshell.  It happened to Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, it can happen to us.

America became great (as many of us remember from history class) because we didn’t flaunt our cultural, economic and military power but rather developed strong allies, established mutually beneficial and multinational security arrangements, engaged in global trading and financial systems and (most importantly) exemplified those cultural values that were proven universally worthy of emulation.

Being “great” also requires internal domestic harmony (or, as the preamble to the Constitution states – “domestic tranquility”).  It also demands leaders experienced in world affairs, a reputation for honoring commitments and (believe it or not) generously sharing the rewards of greatness with others.

Compare those essential prerequisites to greatness with the disruptive, dishonorable and narcissistic behaviors of Donald Trump, his administration. and a good portion of his party. His divisive mystifying jumble of domestic policies have undermined decades of racial justice progress, public health programs and environmental protections.  His immigration and deportation methods have denied entry to talented workers, skilled university students and wantonly destroyed families.

Knowledgeable and dedicated intelligence service personnel have been harassed unmercifully, fired, or muzzled. International laws, treaties and norms that have served our country well for decades have been cast aside resulting in our hard-earned global respect and reputation being destroyed.

These are not the policies or actions of a leader who will keep America strong and great.  They are the behaviors of a self-worshipping, self-serving, egocentric President who has recklessly put this nation on a path of decline, global marginalization and at extreme risk and vulnerability.

I believe we can conclude that after nearly two and a half centuries, our system remains an experiment in self-government.  Until Donald Trump arrived on the scene we could still claim to attempt equal political rights, economic opportunity, equal access to protection of law and order and (despite our many flaws and weaknesses) equal access to political representation.

To put this nation back on the path toward greatness, ordinary citizens have got to step up and be counted. All citizens do matter, so all citizens have to take advantage of the grand opportunities our system of government affords us and never, never, never relinquish those grand opportunities to anyone who would endeavor to take them from us. 

David Snell – Franklin, N.C.

A nation in need of kindness

All that felt safe and normal is no longer safe and normal. The uneasiness of COVID-19 which causes us to seem to readjust our outlook and direction every couple days. We blame those in office, but honestly,  no matter who would be in office we would be blindsided and continue being blinded in just what and how we should react to this pandemic. The seemingly innocent but tragic death of George Floyd which is resulting in riots against law enforcement within some of our American cities, the cries of Black Lives Matter, demanding change and removing memorials of a once painful divided older America. Offending our Native Americans and the need of changing the names of many sports teams. A seemingly endless list could go on and many feel marginalized for whatever reason, not feeling a part of what we call “Our America.” It seems there’s so much focus on what’s bad with us and so little of what is good, wholesome, and honorable. For me,  I’ve cut down watching TV and most media. I’ve found so much conflicting stories even within a couple minutes watching the same channel. Tension, stress and confusion is in no short supply. There’s no question there needs to be a friendly discussion of how we reason many of this issues out, but here end is the problem for many, we’ve lost our ability to do so, because we have lost the essence of the betterment of human goodness. For those who have done wrong who seemingly struggle in making things right we judge and point fingers, instead of helping towards the good in a need of kindness, whether by words or action. But just where is it we can look or show our children the why and where this is to be found. Society asks for all of us to be this way, schools try to instill this thinking or, “need of kindness,” to humanity in general. We even have ethics classes in higher education to raise a higher awareness for better living. Why is it we have such  difficulty in being good, kind and thoughtful towards others? Just how do we explain, why we are the way we are? Can we ever lift one another up, even if we don’t fully understand each other? The life of Christ is the light of goodness which dispels darkness from within, and is the giving source of kindness and a love for all, even for the one who doesn’t believe. His image is set within all humanity, this makes understanding where goodness, kindness and love for all comes from and the absents of this, we don’t want, but we seem never to find our way, without Him.

At a summer Special Olympics, nine physical or mentally disabled contestants started out for a 100 yard dash,  but not exactly in a dash, but a desire to run. Except one boy stumbled and began to cry. The others heard and looked back.  All, everyone of them, went back. One girl with Down’s Syndrome bent down and kissed him, saying, “This will make you better.” All nine walk across the finish line together. The crowd was crying and cheering. Why?  Because deep down we know one thing. What matters in this life, more than winning for “ourselves” is helping others win. This means many of us need a change of heart and mind.  Matthew 22:37 Love God with all your Heart, Mind and Soul. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Re-thinking life,     

  

Deni Shepard – nds13@frontier.com

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