A generational opportunity


To the Editor:

Generations past have had the opportunity to learn lessons and shape our society for better or worse. World wars, for example, have pulled us together in positive ways, and improved our lives going forward. Can we do it again? The coronavirus is our opportunity to define our society, and determine what kind of country we are, and want to be.

We are beginning to recognize who really holds our country in their hands. Is it the corporations who apparently have squandered many years of record profits, and tax breaks, and are now holding out their collective hands, claiming they can’t last a couple of months?

Seems to me, that the real value lies in those who pack our foods, stock the shelves, feed us in restaurants, etc. For so long, retail workers, service workers, health care workers, truck drivers, teachers, public safety servants and others have been looked down upon with their respective “worth” in our society. The way they have been compensated tells a lot about how we really look at their “value” to society. Many are at the bottom of the wage scale, and yet have always been told to be thrifty, stock up for emergencies, and in general, “prepare for a rainy day.” Given their compensation, how were they supposed to do that?

Now, these very citizens are going to determine literally whether we survive as a nation, or fall completely into the abyss. How is their “worth” looking right now? Trouble is, their “worth” was there all along. We are just beginning to realize it (hopefully).

On the other hand, the fearmongers are going to have a loud voice, saying “we must save certain industries, so we all can still have jobs.” Baloney! If we save the citizens that really matter, they will have the money to spend to save the industries. Some of that whining has already started, beginning with the airline and cruise line industries. Seriously? Many of them are not even American companies. Where is their emergency stockpile or their preparations for a rainy day?

In this time of extreme crisis, hold your loved ones close, stay home whenever you can, and take the time to look at the big picture.

What should the country in which we live look like? We can do this together, and literally change the world.

Mark Ballinger,




Feels leadership lacking at highest level


First it was denying the science of the climate crisis. This January it was denying the severity of the coronavirus even though clear warnings were given before the end of 2019. 

Neither of these life-threatening realities should be politicized, but they have been. Other than protecting ourselves, in November we must elect a president and members of Congress who take pandemics, global warming and science seriously.

In December 2018 at the G20 Summit, Trump said, “the United States reiterates its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.”

This January at the World Economic Forum, Trump boasted about fossil fuel production and American economic success. This was a forum dedicated to fighting climate change and the U.S. was the only country that refused to sign the joint statement on climate change.

According to NASA, “97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the last century are extremely likely due to human activities.” Evidence includes global temperature rise, warming oceans, glacial retreat, shrinking ice sheets, decreased snow cover, sea level rise and extreme events.

Trees are essential to dealing with CO2, and the international community has a goal of planting one trillion trees. In our area we see lots of trees going down the road on logging trucks, but have you heard anything from your government about planting trees?

In 2018 the Trump administration fired the executive branch team responsible for coordinating the response to a pandemic, and they weren’t replaced.

In February of this year, Trump assailed Democrats’ criticism of his administration’s response to the virus and said “We are totally prepared. The press is in hysteria mode.” In speech notes the word “Corona” was scratched out and replaced, in Trump’s handwriting, with the word “Chinese.” Sounds a lot like calling the Affordable Care Act “Obamacare” to disparage Democrats.

Blame somebody but don’t take any responsibility for the fact that our response doesn’t equal that of South Korea. Never mind that health care workers don’t have what they need to treat us or protect themselves.

The president likes to say that the economy is great because of what he’s done. How’s your economy? Out of work? Lost your investments? Not N.C. Sen. Richard Burr, who may have used insider information to sell about $1.6 million of stock the week before the “crash.”

As of March 21, there were more than 23,000 cases of COVID-19 in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. During the impeachment proceedings Republicans argued that the election was coming up so let the voters decide. After all, what harm can a few more months of the Trump presidency do?

We now know and it’s extremely concerning as to what may yet come. Will we be Trumped again? 

These are not my opinions – most of this information comes from Snopes, the oldest, largest fact-checking site online, National Geographic and the CDC.

Gene Tunnell,