“Elect clowns, expect a circus.”
Many of us are familiar with this phrase, and are used to seeing it play out on the national stage with professional comedians like Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert and their ilk grinding the wheels of democracy to a halt with their buffoonery. Unfortunately, two articles from last week’s Herald have shown that the fairy-tale Republican trickle-down theory does indeed exist, but not in the financial form they would have you believe.
I have always been impressed by the bipartisan support that our county leaders have given to the local schools, but newly seated commissioner Todd Bryson has shown that may not be the case going forward. After requesting that previously approved funds be released to the school system, Bryson brought up the nonsensical, easily disproved right-wing myth of litter boxes being approved and paid for by schools for the use of students.
Superintendent Dana Ayers handled this exchange with humor and class, but the fact that Bryson raised such a ridiculous claim leaves one of two possibilities. Either he truly believes this conspiracy theory and feels he is protecting his constituents from the dangers of kitty litter and the taxpayers from an extravagant expense, or he knows better and is intent on generating fake outrage and is a ready and willing participant in the culture wars that divide us more each day. Neither possibility serves the citizens of Jackson County.
Bryson and other newcomers also balked at the request of new downtown art; inquiring whether it will be “family-friendly” and implying that they are the ones to make that judgment. If they are truly interested in the integrity of downtown art, they should start with the Jim Crow abomination just steps away from the public library. It is far past time to remove the monument built by racists, to glorify racists, to celebrate their racism, after they started a war to fight for their right to be racist. And no, altering the plaque and language on the statue does not change these facts.
We need legislators, not saboteurs
The new Congress just kicked off, and already Republicans like Chuck Edwards in the House are betraying the voters. When they aren’t too busy fighting among themselves, the new MAGA leadership is pushing harmful policies like cutting Social Security and Medicare, giving tax breaks to the rich, gutting the office that oversees ethics requirements, and criminalizing women’s health care.
It’s also clear that Kevin McCarthy (and the right-wing extremists that he cut a deal with to become Speaker) will spend the next two years sabotaging President Biden rather than getting anything done. Americans deserve a Congress that works for us, not just for themselves and their wealthy cronies.
Not enamored with new leadership
I hope those who voted for our new sheriff and county commissioners are happy. I see trouble ahead.
The new sheriff didn’t have the guts to personally fire employees that he no longer wanted in his new administration. He went about it by inviting those he wanted to stay to his swearing in ceremony. If you didn’t get an invitation, well you knew your fate. And it came during the holiday season. A true leader would tell the employee in person.
Concerning the newly elected commissioners, some of them don’t seem too informed. One new commissioner questioned whether the school superintendent intended to use funding to put litter boxes in schools for students who identify as animals as the Transylvania County school board supposedly voted to. Surely he knows litter boxes in schools is a social media rumor and our neighbors in Transylvania did no such thing. Elected officials need to research issues and get their facts straight and not believe everything they hear.
The new commissioners also don’t seem to keep up with what the town of Sylva is doing. When town officials presented their request for a municipal grant to fund some new art projects, some commissioners seemed to think upgrading Bryson Park was more important. Yes, that is an important project, but the mudslide above it has affected the upgrades. The town now has over $5 million to address the mudslide and the park upgrades. It has been covered in local newspapers for quite a while now. Apparently, they don’t take the time to read about local issues. And then they go so far as to say that art projects need to be “family friendly.”
There are different kinds of family structures, and art means different things to different people. Apparently they want our town and county to exclude some.
Do we really want leaders like this? Think about it next election.
The Second Amendment and the 21st Century
The other day I reread the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State …” Those words are the opening clause. I wondered why the word Militia was/is capitalized. What was meant by the words “well regulated?” What is the significance of the word “necessary?” What did the writers mean by “the security of a free State…?”
When I see a bumper sticker or window decal purporting to support the Second Amendment I wonder if the owner knows the first clause. Does he/she support the entire amendment or merely the second part “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”
Why has Congress never set up a “well regulated Militia”? If it was deemed “necessary” in 1791 why is it not still necessary? What “Arms” were citizens given the right to keep and bear? How could they have envisioned AK-47s and AR-15s that people currently have the right to keep and bear?
What would the constitutional framers say to those who have been murdered with rapid-fire weapons? To their parents who grieve? To relatives and friends? To you and me? Where would they see a line separating “the security of a free State” and the need for individual security to go to school or feel safe in a house of worship? Would they suggest we merely throw up our hands and claim there’s nothing we can do/we must protect the right to own any weapon?
Is it not high time we look at the Second Amendment and use the provision for a “well regulated Militia” to work for the security of all Americans? At the moment we seem hell bent on guaranteeing some the right to “keep and bear Arms” when that right clearly endangers others. Are we helpless? Let’s make the Second Amendment work in the 21st Century!
No, I am not suggesting that we confiscate people’s guns. I own five. None are rapid-fire. Yet, we could use the amendment itself to work for the security of all. We need a “well regulated Militia” in this century.
Plans for a shifted Congress unsettling
To the Editor:
Well folks the Republican leadership has been mum this past summer in revealing what they intended to do if they gained the majority in Congress in November. More recently, they have revealed their plans in the vague terms of Impeach, Investigate and Obstruct the Biden administration at every turn. Now with the election near, they have finally told us in clear, unambiguous terms what they intend to do, cut entitlements, specifically Social Security and Medicare. Why? Because they are now worried about the deficit.
Of course, they were not concerned with spending when they passed tax cuts for the rich and increased the deficit by nearly $8 trillion during the Trump years. But now the deficit is a major issue again for Republicans and their solution to fix it is to penalize seniors who paid into the system over their working careers and jeopardize this valuable entitlement.
I know some will say this is fear mongering, that Social Security is safe and no changes will occur, but many said the same about Roe vs. Wade. Republicans said they would overturn it and they did. (Does anyone remember when the GOP criticized judges as unelected activists?).
Republicans are now plainly and openly saying what they intend to do. Why would we doubt them now? Of, course our GOP candidates for U.S. House and Senate will deny this plan, but are we willing to take that gamble? I for one am not!
We each have the opportunity to make our voices heard this election and reject this radical GOP attack upon the social safety net which has kept many families out of poverty. Inflation pales in comparison to what could happen to millions of seniors if this ill-conceived plan is successful. Remember, “Elections have consequences.” Let’s send a strong message to “Just Say No” to these crazy GOP plans.
Tom Massie, Sylva
Labels don’t matter, but issues do
To the Editor:
Who cares if you’re a Republican or Democrat? Who cares if you like Biden? Who cares who will run for president in 2024?
Right now, if the current brand of Republicans win, Social Security will go back on the chopping block … the cap on drug prices will be popped off … victims of rape and incest will be forced into an involuntary choice.
As for inflation, that is a worldwide problem because of Putin’s war and his nuclear threats to us all – threats that can’t be ignored. Yes, that means the cost of living has gone up in the U.S., but it has skyrocketed in other countries around the world.
Mary Joyce, Sylva
Pray and vote for the born
To the Editor:
I was driving home from work and noticed a sign in the midst of several political yard signs. The sign read “Pray and Vote for the Unborn.”
I thought about this message for a long while and decided that we should also pray and vote for the born. We should pray for children who are unloved, unwanted neglected or abused. We should pray for children who do not receive basic health care services. We should pray for children who cannot access necessary mental health services. We should pray for children who don’t get a good public education. We should pray for homeless children. We should pray for hungry children.
We should pray for women who have no access to family planning information and contraceptives. We should pray for women who have no access to affordable women’s health services. We should pray for women who have an ectopic pregnancy. We should pray for women whose unborn child is malformed or dies in utero. We should pray for pregnant women with chronic, life-threatening conditions. We should pray for women who need therapeutic abortions, and we should pray for their doctors who, fearing prosecution, refuse to give potentially life-saving treatment.
We should vote for candidates who care about these souls.
Ann Fulton, Sylva