Letters for March 21, 2019

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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. Email letters to maconcountynews@ gmail.com.

Future of Humanity: Competition or cooperation?

From an evolutionary standpoint our genetic predisposition leans toward cooperation.  Anthropologists, questioning why humans (homo sapiens) won out, or survived, when our more robust cousins, the Neanderthals didn’t, have concluded that as a species humans cooperate and learn from each other and live in larger groups.   Knowledge is shared and technology improves.  Neanderthals lived in small groups, and hunting points remained virtually unchanged over millennia.  Differences in the brain also suggest that the smaller human brain developed more in the prefrontal cortex lobe which is responsible for higher level decision-making.  Recent research shows that when babies are presented with a situation of puppets cooperating or competing (helping or hindering), they prefer the bunny that helps another bunny and reject the one that is not helpful.  It seems that cooperation is hard-wired into our brains and may be responsible for our being here today.

While much weaker than Neanderthals, humans survived through sharing and caring for each other.  Skulls show that individuals without teeth continued to live because the tribe fed them.  Homo sapiens shared knowledge and developed technology such as the Atlatl, a spear throwing device, which made hunting more effective from a greater distance.  Today, we are faced with the same challenges for the future survival of our species, due to our impact on our environment and a growing population.  Are we up for the challenge?

Of concern is how economic and social pressures, from an early age, have influenced our behavior toward competition rather than cooperation.  There is a widening gap between the wealthy and the poor, or haves and the have-nots.  80% of Americans live from paycheck to paycheck.  There are those who say: This is mine, I earned it!  A friend often says to me: “How many workers does it take to make a millionaire or a billionaire”.  Wealth is made on the backs of the working class! In our recent history,  no quotas were placed on migrants from the south, because we valued their cheap labor.  Tides have turned and despite the fact that these same migrants do the work that we would rather not do,  government policies are now rejecting those who wish to immigrate.  Even those coming as refuges of violence are being detained or rejected.  We should ask: who will harvest our food, or make our beds or wash dishes in restaurants, or even be our doctor?  Immigrants are not just looking for a better life, they want to contribute to the Greater Good.  Others will say, they are here to steal from us or worse. 

A rising tide of phobias has gripped our nation when it is most critical that we join together to solve our nation’s problems.  Why has our species wandered in the wrong direction?  Does our economic, political and educational systems promote competition rather than cooperation? The recent tax breaks have been described as the largest transfer of wealth from the poor to the wealthy (who already have more than their share of wealth).   The growing national debt rebukes the claim that tax breaks would improve the economy and reduce the debt. Who will pay for the debt caused by the recent tax breaks? The poor or the wealthy?  When the bottom line in our economic system is money and not people (jobs, working conditions, health care, family leave, education, etc), it isn’t hard to see why we are in our present mess.  Money is valued over humanity, and all other life on this planet.  The youth are now demanding their right to a livable planet and future.  They emphatically state: there is no Plan(et) B; we have to take care of the planet we have, and demand that our political leaders take immediate action to protect their future, instead of protecting the golden calf of corporations and the 1 percent.  

When man decided to go to the moon, we didn’t ask: Is it possible or do we have the money?  It was considered a National Emergency and we accepted the challenge.  Is not saving the planet worth the challenge?  And the future of generations to come?  It will only happen if we put in place our priorities; putting people and the planet above the bottom line of corporations that would rather trash and rape the planet, and build bombs so that people in distant countries will suffer and starve.  Let’s reclaim our heritage (cultural and genetic) that predisposes the human race toward cooperation, meeting the greater needs of people and other life on the planet and working toward a prosperous and healthy future.  Yes, we can have a green new future with a robust economy and jobs!  Our survival depends on it!  And interestingly, it is cooperation that stimulates the prefrontal cortex while competition and stress disables it!  We will need all the brain power we have to meet the challenges of the future.  Let’s join hands together to rise up our nation to its highest values.  It is through cooperation that we can make America great.

Paul Chew – Otto, N.C.

 

U.S. a great country before Trump

Dictator of North Korea, Kim Jung Un, has over the past few months, have jailed or executed up to 70 officials accused of corruption and seized all their assets, some were his military. Our president of U.S. which was a great country before him, seems to admire a man with the doing of Kim Jong Un, guess thats why Trump finds it easy with no guilt in hiring a large portion of people from Santa Terese De Cajon, Costa Rica, for his luxury golf club in Bedminster, N.J. They were groundskeepers, dishwashers, housekeepers etc. Their managers knew of their illegal status and exploited it by paying real low wages, with no benefits or any overtime pay, they were treated like slaves. The Trump organization had no comment on this reporting and he talks about immigrants at the border when he’s bringing them in for his self. Hope we have not got a comparison forming here. Hope Trump and Kim Jong Un haven’t been cut from the same roll of wallpaper.

Kathy Whitley – Franklin, N.C.

 

Who’s child are you?

Brandon Straka started the #walkaway movement a few months ago, when he realized that the Democrat Party had moved far to the left, and were no longer representing working class Americans, but were taking advantage of them to get their vote, and then doing nothing to improve their lives. You can listen to him explain why he walked away from the Democrat Party on You Tube.

But there is another walk-away movement that everyone needs to participate in. It is called “metanoia,” a Greek word that means “a change of one’s mind, resulting in a turn and walk in the opposite direction.” The term is associated with a deep sense of remorse and sorrow over one’s sin. When the apostle Peter preached to the crowds on the Day of Pentecost, “…they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent (metanoeo) and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

When Jesus came as the long awaited Messiah, the Jews rejected Him. “He came unto His own, and His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:11-12) We are born sinners. “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”(Psalm 51:5) In Habakkuk 1:13, we learn that God’s “…eyes are too pure to look on evil; you (God) cannot tolerate wrongdoing.” That’s a problem for us. Isaiah 59:1-2 says, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”

Have you ever heard someone say, “We’re all God’s children?” It sounds good, but in John 8:34-47 we read about a dispute between Jesus and the very religious Pharisee sect. They argue that because they are descendants of Abraham, they are God’s children. But Jesus answered, “…everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word.  I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.”

“Abraham is our father,” they answered.

“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did.  As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the works of your own father.”

“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you?  It’s because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!  Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what He says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

In order to become a child of God, one must be adopted. We are not better than the Pharisees. Thankfully, Galatians 4:4 says, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem (pay the ransom price for sin) those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”  We are not born children of God, but we can be adopted as His children by repenting of our sin, and placing our faith in Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. Are you a child of God?

Ed Hill – Franklin, N.C.

Is your Bible, Torah or Koran autographed?

It is often said that the American people knew what they would get if Donald Trump won the presidency. I, for one, disagree. We all know it is dangerously easy to “fall in love” with an image. We admire people whom we know only superficially. We do not see their warts and flaws until we know them more closely. At a distance I like Willie Nelson, Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, John McCain, David Allen Coe. Larry McMurtry, Aretha Franklin, Patsy Cline, Stacey Abrams, and Tracy Chapman. I think I would have liked to know Leo Tolstoy and lived to tell you about him. Heck, how about Jesus? I might even have had the foresight to ask Him if He wanted a future President of the United States to autograph the Bible. What might He have said?

Actually I would like to have a dollar bill signed by Donald Trump. I associate him with the pursuit of money. I don’t see much connection between him and the tenets written in the Bible. Why would anyone want him to autograph a Bible? Has he signed any Torahs or Korans?

 Dave Waldrop – Webster, N.C.

 

College bribery scandal a long time coming

Most of our nation’s newspapers are presently covering what has been called a “college bribery scandal.”  “It has been a long time coming,” that’s true, but despite numerous red flags over the years, many people still speculate how admissions systems got so rigged.  I think I can help you with that.

Those of us who have reached (or nearly reached) four score years can effortlessly recall different times. Take a trip with me back to 1957. The Russians had just launched Sputnik, the Suez Canal was partially opened, and the Treaty of Rome created the European economic community.

Here at home, North Carolina was the NCAA Basketball Champion, a First-Class Postage Stamp cost three cents, a gallon of gasoline 24 cents, and tuition to Harvard was $1,000 per year. The fly in the ointment was, you had to qualify to go there.

Granted, it was a different time. Parents, teachers, churches, extended families, communities (the village) all worked together to raise children.  Though that seems terribly old-fashioned now, the concept seemed to work.  The village (now passe’ and antiquated) is no longer working to raise children to be good citizens.

No one expresses today’s dilemma better than Kevin Carey, vice president of education policy for New America, a left-leaning Washington, DC think tank.  I defer… “Colleges want everything,” he said, “they want very smart students and also children of famous celebrities and also money in their endowments and also really good rowing teams, and you can’t have all that unless you corrupt the underlying principal (I think he meant principle, but USA Today stated principal) of accepting kids based on merit.”

Did he say “merit”???  We threw THAT baby out with the bathwater nearly 50 years ago when we created, accepted and celebrated “affirmative action” and “equal opportunity” policies.

Discovering early on that it’s a bad idea to strengthen the weak by weakening the strong (a concept Abraham Lincoln understood and lived by), the only way to achieve “equality, inclusion and diversity” (those euphemisms liberals love to hear themselves repeat over and over) is to deep-six standards of excellence.

Lowering our standards provided the means and the motivation, nourishment, expansion and entrenchment for the unethical behavior that has today become an acceptable part of the American psyche and culture.  As Americans lost faith and trust in our institutions, those institutions no longer found it necessary (or profitable) to comply with previous norms and rules of law.  Therefore, those standards that once served our nation so well, simply vanished.

With the election of Donald Trump we’re seeing a pattern of not caring about ethics that we’ve never seen before.  A Gallup poll in December asked respondents to rank 20 occupations in terms of their ethical standards and members of Congress ranked lowest. In a separate Gallup poll, a record high 49% rated moral values in the U.S. as poor, only 14% rated them excellent or good.

In 1957 a new house cost about $12,000, a new car about $2,000, “Bridge on the River Kwai” was the Academy Award Winner, and “Jailhouse Rock,” “April Love,” and “Honeycomb” were in the Top Ten.   General Dwight David Eisenhower was our President (and,would you believe it), he wasn’t being investigated for wrongdoing.

Moral family values and ethical standards of behavior were honored and cherished in our young country and the vast majority of American citizens (immigrants all) enthusiastically and proudly lived by them.

David L. Snell – Franklin, N.C.

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