Letters to the Editor for November 17, 2022

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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. 

Running as independent presents challenges

I would like to express my gratitude to the Macon County community for their support and encouragement throughout my campaign for county commissioner.  I knew from the beginning that running as an independent candidate would present significant challenges for victory. I was even encouraged by many to run as a Republican to have a better chance to win.  As I digested the political landscape on a statewide and national basis, I truly believed we had arrived at a time when an independent candidate could enter the arena and make a difference.  Of course after the election results are in, I now realize how naïve I was to think we may ever vote outside of a two party system.  Even though we have almost 10,000 unaffiliated registered voters out of 27,000 registered voters in Macon County, we are clearly a Republican county and the voters chose accordingly.

Another element of the campaign that surprised me was the constant effort to bring national party politics into our local election.  Potential voters were less concerned about where I stood on the issues affecting Macon County, it was more about who I voted for in 2020 and who I may vote for in 2024.  I repeatedly told my detractors the voting booth was designed by our forefathers to be private for good reason.  As a nation, we never want to be oppressed for who we may or may not have voted for in an election.  It is important to remember, a certain political party may not always be in power, but we will always want the protections afforded by our constitution.

As I walk away from my effort to get elected, I better understand the challenges affecting Macon County and I hope our elected commissioners are ready to face these challenges.  The effort to vote down the ¼ cent sales tax increase was successful, but this will leave a significant gap in funding for education infrastructure.  It will be interesting to see how a new high school and other important projects will be built without a significant increase in property taxes, considering we walked away from approximately $2,000,000 in annual revenue, of which 45% would have been paid by non-residents.  The most talked about issue on the campaign trail for me was access to high speed Internet.  Making headway into this issue will require significant collaboration from our elected leaders and community leaders, and it will need to be accomplished if we do not want our children and community left behind. Other issues that will continue to have a significant impact on the day to day lives of Macon County residents include affordable housing, mental health and substance abuse treatment, access to healthcare and economic development.  There is much work to be done.

I would encourage the people of Macon County to stay involved in the policy making process by reading the newspapers and attending or watching online the county commission meetings.  We all need to be held accountable for our actions and this new board will need input from you to keep Macon County a great place to live and raise our families. I am grateful I had a chance to be a part of the election process and I look forward to staying involved as a citizen.  

 Jerry Moore – Highlands, N.C.

Reflecting on the Heart of Thanksgiving

Out of all the holidays, Thanksgiving is my favorite. For me it’s a quieter time of reflection. It hasn’t the rush and loss of meaning as Christmas does, where everyone feels rushed and somewhat forced into the busy-ness of the Christmas season. It’s easy to lose focus of the true gift given to us, and us being thankful in our acceptance of this gift, if we so choose. But it’s Thanksgiving that sharpens most of my focus. 

Reflecting over the journey of life, I myself, would never trade for another. Don’t get me wrong, it’s had many ups and downs, but a blessed life despite the hurts and pain of modern living, and one I’m truly thankful for. Anything in life which has any meaning is one of relationships, even in  its difficulties Whether it’s friends, family and even nature and pets all bring to life a richness which most of us would have a hard time expressing to others in its truest meaning. For its true meaning only belongs to the individual to whom the richness of blessings has be given. Throughout life true friends are hard to come by, I’m talking of a friend who’s closer that a brother, who’s there even when failure comes. They reach out with a hand of comfort and forgiveness, just as Christ reaches out in forgiving me in my failures towards others and Him. When you find a friend as this, who walks life with you, it’s cherished with a thankful heart. 

I have come to enjoy some who I call friends, which I meet over coffee a couple times a week. One is a retired preacher and we have great discussions of faith and the deeper meaning of life. Another loves singing and enjoys doing karaoke at several establishments in town. Then there are the two cousins whom seem more like brothers…. but they both say they have a really, really close family background and that the apple hadn’t fallen far from the tree? So you can see the discussion is never boring, and often things in the past are rich with meaning and understanding, or maybe misunderstanding? (Just joking!)  Then there’s another who gives his time and talents to those in need, cutting yards and caring for a church’s property, taking several trips to help in the hurricane relief in Florida, helping a friend remove a fallen tree. I have never heard him complain or ask for money for his kind efforts. Then there’s another who’s face lights up as he shares his enjoyment of playing Saint Nick in our Thanksgiving/Christmas parade. Friends are such a blessing that make life and living such a thankful journey.

This Thanksgiving our family will have one less sitting at our table, yet in reflecting back of how one life can impact another life, as in my own, shows itself just what effect a life and relationship can have when they are set in unselfish love and kindness. This grows an individual, a family, a community,  a nation. If we ourselves have lost sight of being a united family, community or country, we ourselves have lost our soul in selfish pride and caring little for anyone but our self-seeking efforts. Even at the expense or destruction of others with little thought or care. I pray that the hearts of men will once again, find that  Divine source that brings a true thankfulness of life, liberty, freedom, truth, peace and love. A thankfulness just as those who founded such a great nation as ours. Being truly thankful is realizing a gift has been given through no effort of your own. But being thankful to one who’s given him or herself in a unselfish love towards you.  Just as our creator unselfishly has blessed us and gave Himself for you. 

From a grateful & thankful heart … Happy Thanksgiving!  

Deni Shepard – nds13@frontier.com

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