Letters to the Editor  for April 4, 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.

Mayor Bob Scott has unanswered questions

Following last night’s Town Council meeting I was left with unanswered questions.

I cannot understand, and no one has told me, why all these plans for East Franklin hinge on the Nikwasi Initiative holding the deed to the mound.  Why is this so secretive?

Why can’t the organizations, Mainspring, the Nikwasi Initiative, and others, agree to a compromise allowing the Town to hold onto the deed and enter the partnership, until such time as concrete plans are in place for this revitalization project?  It is my understanding that not all the property has been purchased for it at this time.  I have repeatedly called for a compromise to defuse this unnecessary controversy which has created so much turmoil in our community.  I have heard from some on the do not turn over the mound side who are good with such a compromise. Those wanting the town to turn over the deed will not agree to a compromise.

I am calling for an accounting of the $12,500 the town appropriated to the Initiative in 2017 and $5,000 in 2018 for startup funds and initial support.  The Town requires accounting from non-profits which we help fund.  The Town has not yet received such an accounting.

  Mayor Bob Scott

Elected officials serve to advance themselves

Six years ago (June 19, 2013 to be exact) Paul Singer, reporter for USA-Today, revealed the “Student Loan Repayment Program #5379.”  Unknown to most Americans until that date (and forgotten by most Americans since) this program is available to federal agencies and the U.S. Congress.  It was established in 1990 under the George H.W. Bush administration, lay dormant for about a decade, and implemented in 2000 when employed by federal agencies. The U.S. Senate started using it in 2002, the House in 2003.  Its been a carefully guarded government entitlement ever since.

Taking the bull by the horns, I spent the better part of July 2013 calling the Washington offices of all 100 U.S. Senators.  A few allowed no option except voice mail but of the approximately 95 staff persons I spoke with, 18 said, “Yes,” their senator does use the program (nine Democrats – nine Republicans) and six said, “No,” (three and three).  That answered two questions, the program exists and is undeniably used equally by both parties.

In case you’re wondering, neither Sen. Richard Burr’s nor Sen. Kay Hagan’s Washington staff would speak with me about the issue.  I don’t blame them for being embarrassed; the staff of the approximately 70 other U.S. Senators, the majority of North Carolina’s U.S. House delegation plus the majority of the senatorial and house staff of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont wouldn’t respond to my questions about the program either.

The student loan debt at that time was increasing rapidly and was (in 2013) approaching a trillion dollars.  Today (published in “In These Times” April 2019) the total student loan debt, held by 45 million Americans, stands at more than $1.5 trillion.  The average individual debt in 2016 was $37K, up from $20K in 2005, the average monthly payment in 2016 was $393, up from $227 in 2005.  We all see these rising figures all the time.

My friend Bernie Sanders (D-VT) frequently laments the rising college costs and rails against the student debt.  But on the repayment program his staff can enjoy, he’s as silent as a church mouse.  I spoke with his staff at 3:46 p.m. on July 11, 2013 and that person kept dancing around the issue, stating over and over, “it’s a senate-wide issue.”  I don’t know, to this day, whether Sanders’ staff uses the program or not.

Interestingly I called USA-Today reporter (Paul Singer) in late July 2013 after finishing my phone survey of U.S. Senators and others.  Singer asked if I’d be willing to write an op-ed piece for USA-Today and of course I said, yes, how soon do you want it.  He said, “12 hours.”  I had it written, typed and emailed back to him in three hours.  The next day Singer called me back, apologized, and said USA-Today would not be printing the piece.  To my knowledge that newspaper has never mentioned Program 5379 since the 19th of June, 2013.

This government perk (like so many others) is an insulting, shameless, offensive act knowingly perpetrated on every American citizen and taxpayer.  The men and women we think we are electing to represent our common interests and mutual welfare act primarily to serve and advance themselves and their own ambitions.

You should be outraged that during a time of continuing deficits, a burgeoning national debt and the trillion and a half dollars your children and grandchildren owe for their education that our so-called “representatives” continue the unconscionable funding of this program.

 David L. Snell – Franklin, N.C.

Unity basketball game ‘such a pleasure’

I would like to say how much I enjoyed the Unity Basketball Game, played at Franklin High School last Thursday March 28. It was such a pleasure to watch our “exceptional” athletes get to play. You could tell they were putting their hearts and souls into it. Their faces were full of joy and pride.

As a parent and proud FHS graduate, it was wonderful to see the student body take such an active part. The players who helped during the game, the band members, cheerleaders, B-Naturals and the students who stayed to watch were all wonderful.

This was a wonderful event. I would like to sincerely thank all those who made this possible. I honestly will never forget it.

 Shirley Mashburn – Franklin, N.C.

Conspiracy theories from ‘40s coming true

Sure glad that I’m not a Republican because Joe Biden has told us that Republicans are the “dregs of society.”

Yeah, this is the same dude who was vice president during the Obama administration and when he was paying an official visit to China while at the same time, his son, Hunter, was arranging for a billion dollar loan from the state owned bank in China.  Oh my goodness, couldn’t be a little collusion here, could it? All while allowing China to soak us to the tune of trillions of dollars and not buying our American made stuff which was just fine for the Obama folks.  By gum, Obama wanted folks to love him and they did, even the Russians and the Chinese.  Not wanting to lose friends, Obama would never have pushed China to deal with us fairly or get NATO off their butts and help pay for our protecting Europe from those bad Russians.  Now we have Donald Trump who could care less if Angela Merkel wants to honor him with a kiss on the cheek.

Got to thinking of something I had long forgotten, the Birch Society.

It’s been a long time ago but while living in Miami I attended one of their meetings and got a lecture about Communists infiltrating our educational system but at the time I thought this must be one of those stupid conspiracy theories and left the meeting early.

Gee whiz, was I wrong.  Turns out the Birch Society was right on the money and indeed, from grade school on through college our kids are being indoctrinated with Socialist nonsensical palaver.

The slow process of forcing Socialism on America began around 70 years ago and has finally turned up in mighty fury.

Be part of the resistance and you are now one of the low life dregs of society. After all, what’s wrong with allowing children to vote?

What’s wrong with giving away my Social Security money I paid for to all illegal aliens?  Or, using my Medicare benefits money to pay illegal alien’s medical bills?

Demonstrating how dumb the Socialists can be they plan to punish the rich with very high taxes except they don’t understand that the rich don’t have lots of cash money sitting around, it’s all in the form of assets, not cash

Or, allow children to vote so they can have more cake and ice cream.

Given how susceptible people are to “conspiracy theories” the media continues to lead us into an eventual collapse of our society and where we become a Third World country.

Oh yeah, those same media talking heads that the John Birch society warned us about 70 years ago.  Now it’s coming around to bite us.

Unlike Sweden which is a tiny single race country, it would be all but impossible to bring our country together under Socialism. We have far too many different races, cultures, religions and a disparity in intelligence levels.  

Most likely, Socialism would destroy what unity we have and require a police state to keep the citizenry under control.  It always happens.

Bob Wilson – Franklin, N.C.

Show me …  I’m searching for something

Within all of history we’ve been in search for that something that will shed light on our human need of resolving humanity’s problems and the issues that plague living our life. Our world searches for answers of growing strife. Troubled people are everywhere, we all seem to be asking in one way or another, “Show me … I’m searching for something.” Many trust their lives in political systems. The idea that if were more conservative, liberal, or most anything, even to the point of demonstrating by force to make our ways of thinking more acceptable, all are part of the ongoing search of finding a final something that works and satisfies. Even within religious systems, it can leave many empty and asking … “Show me something”… my life cries for something. Many have gone to great lengths in the quest and search of  finding something that touches the reality of life, something that goes so deep, and touches us so intimately, it touches the soul core of life itself. There are some things we all feel that speak quietly, but briefly to us, yet we don’t really know why the wonderment and awe enters our lives.  The quite awe and wonderment of the beauty of nature, the amazing display of a silent starry night, or the unseen worlds that the eye cannot see, in both extremes of the vast universes beyond us, to the unfathomable depths within us, all bring us to a point of wonderment that we are not alone and a sense there’s something beyond the reach of each of us. It’s obvious, we’re asking, “Show me something … there must be, something … It’s truly sad that in all humanity’s wars, we still seem no more closer in finding the peace we all desperately want and need, it seems close but never there. Throughout history mankind really doesn’t seem to know how or what peace is. But we seek it desperately, both for our world and more so, the world within.  But either world cannot change unless we are able and willing to change ourselves. The group, Foreigner, and song sung by David Phelps, captures this well; “I got take a little time – A little time to think things over – I better read between the lines – In case I need it when I’m older – Now this mountain I must climb – Feels like a world upon my shoulders –  And through the clouds I see love shine … I want you to show me: the song title, “I Want to Know What Love Is.” “Love,” is the search, the essence for all human life, but no one can live this out to its fullness, for we all are selfish, prideful and this shows itself in all relationships. Christ’s unselfish life, death, and resurrection displays love towards us perfectly, because He is the essence of love, in paying in death for our pride and selfish lives. Love can only display itself if it’s directed towards another. If you were the only person who existed, you wouldn’t know what love is. You cannot put human effort in belief in Christ, because he gave His all just for you. He shows what love is. We either accept, walk away, or have disdain of his offer to except his love. This love, as no other gives me a hope and reason for life and living.                                                       

He’s wanting to show you.

  

 Deni Shepard –  nds13@frontier.com

Humility is necessary to find the truth

Even highly educated scholars need to have an appropriate level of humility.  Jesus said, “… unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3) I will use a couple of doctors and a skeptic to illustrate the principle.

Dr Reginald McDaniel once said, “One of my professors in medical school announced one day that 50 percent of what you learn here will eventually be proven false, but we don’t know which 50 percent!” If we want to arrive at the truth, we need to have the humility to admit when we have been proven wrong. This response to Dr. Carl Wieland, from someone who believed that God used evolution to create says:

“I don’t know if you remember me, but we had a discussion a few years ago. I lost the email string, but I remember that I said, “I will let you know if I change my mind on the age of the earth.” I just want to let you know you were right. Something you said about the Bible stuck with me and now I have to admit I was wrong. Maybe it could help someone if I tell you what convinced me. You told me that the Bible is inerrant [in the original autographs]. I thought I believed it at the time, but I see now that I didn’t understand. Not only the inerrancy of God’s Word, but also the sufficiency of the Word of God, is what made the difference for me. When I read this in Hebrews 11:3, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible,” the penny dropped for me. If I do not want to believe Genesis, why would I believe Romans 5:11 (sin entered through one man, and death through sin) or any other part of the Bible? It is through faith that we know that God created everything out of nothing in six days. God said so in His Word, Jesus said so, Paul said it, Mark, John etc. so that settles it for me. I believe it now. I know it is true. And I apologize for my obtuseness and unwillingness to listen to you. I feel ashamed reading that letter again, but I’m also grateful to think how much has changed for me since I took God’s Word seriously. I thank God for His patience with me and I thank you for your continued efforts at Creation Ministries International. It really does make a big difference.”

Will we remain a product of our own formal education? Are we able to learn beyond this, or will parochialism finally define us? Before concluding that what we believe to be true, is “evidence based,” shouldn’t we consider the fact that “evidence” can be purchased for the right price and is subject to biases? Studies are funded by people who have a vested interest in the outcome. Scientists work for whoever pays for their research. Educational institutions are funded by donors with similar vested interests. Some university professors have agendas, biases and prejudices. A sign of maturity is to be willing to listen and consider  others, even if their ideas go against an established viewpoint. 

The person quoted above came to his conclusions based on the Bible, which is a unique collection of 66 books, written by 40 people, on three continents, in three languages, over a 1600 year period. It is amazingly consistent throughout and tells the history of a chosen people, whom God appointed to bring forth the Messiah. It claims to be “God-breathed,” written by many, but authored by One, the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 2 Peter 1:16-21). It contains much verifiable information in the fields of geography, history, prophecy, etc., and it has never been proven inaccurate. We ignore it at our own peril.

  Ed Hill – Franklin, N.C.

Humility is necessary to find the truth

Even highly educated scholars need to have an appropriate level of humility.  Jesus said, “… unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3) I will use a couple of doctors and a skeptic to illustrate the principle.

Dr Reginald McDaniel once said, “One of my professors in medical school announced one day that 50 percent of what you learn here will eventually be proven false, but we don’t know which 50 percent!” If we want to arrive at the truth, we need to have the humility to admit when we have been proven wrong. This response to Dr. Carl Wieland, from someone who believed that God used evolution to create says:

“I don’t know if you remember me, but we had a discussion a few years ago. I lost the email string, but I remember that I said, “I will let you know if I change my mind on the age of the earth.” I just want to let you know you were right. Something you said about the Bible stuck with me and now I have to admit I was wrong. Maybe it could help someone if I tell you what convinced me. You told me that the Bible is inerrant [in the original autographs]. I thought I believed it at the time, but I see now that I didn’t understand. Not only the inerrancy of God’s Word, but also the sufficiency of the Word of God, is what made the difference for me. When I read this in Hebrews 11:3, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible,” the penny dropped for me. If I do not want to believe Genesis, why would I believe Romans 5:11 (sin entered through one man, and death through sin) or any other part of the Bible? It is through faith that we know that God created everything out of nothing in six days. God said so in His Word, Jesus said so, Paul said it, Mark, John etc. so that settles it for me. I believe it now. I know it is true. And I apologize for my obtuseness and unwillingness to listen to you. I feel ashamed reading that letter again, but I’m also grateful to think how much has changed for me since I took God’s Word seriously. I thank God for His patience with me and I thank you for your continued efforts at Creation Ministries International. It really does make a big difference.”

Will we remain a product of our own formal education? Are we able to learn beyond this, or will parochialism finally define us? Before concluding that what we believe to be true, is “evidence based,” shouldn’t we consider the fact that “evidence” can be purchased for the right price and is subject to biases? Studies are funded by people who have a vested interest in the outcome. Scientists work for whoever pays for their research. Educational institutions are funded by donors with similar vested interests. Some university professors have agendas, biases and prejudices. A sign of maturity is to be willing to listen and consider  others, even if their ideas go against an established viewpoint. 

The person quoted above came to his conclusions based on the Bible, which is a unique collection of 66 books, written by 40 people, on three continents, in three languages, over a 1600 year period. It is amazingly consistent throughout and tells the history of a chosen people, whom God appointed to bring forth the Messiah. It claims to be “God-breathed,” written by many, but authored by One, the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 2 Peter 1:16-21). It contains much verifiable information in the fields of geography, history, prophecy, etc., and it has never been proven inaccurate. We ignore it at our own peril.

  

Ed Hill – Franklin, N.C.

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