North Carolinians deserve health care coverage


To the Editor:

There’s a shameful history of health care failures in North Carolina. It’s so past time we shared health care with all North Carolinians.

As my husband and I were treated medically, both of us recently, I am reminded of how thankful at our age we have Medicare and a Medicare supplement so that we don’t have to worry that we can’t afford to be treated in today’s world of COVID, flu, cancer, heart issues, mental issues, child health concerns, and on and on. It’s difficult to imagine how tragic it would be not to have access to healthcare.

Our hard-earned tax dollars are already paying for improved healthcare for all North Carolinians, but because North Carolina’s Republican-controlled state legislators have refused to expand Medicaid, we are one of only 11 states that are still forfeiting state tax receipts, yours and mine, to the tune of $4 billion per year, $40 billion over the past decade, to other states for their healthcare. And, on top of this expense, our tax dollars also pay for those folks without medical insurance who visit emergency rooms. How foolish, cruel and short-sighted. It’s so past time to expand Medicaid in North Carolina!

Vote for Democrats and make healthcare a priority for North Carolinians. We deserve it and are already paying for it. N.C. Rep. Joe Sam Queen, D-119, and Gov. Roy Cooper have been fighting hard to expand Medicaid, but they need our help. Make 2021 the year Medicaid expansion is finally passed in N.C. Vote Democrats up and down the ballot! They care about your healthcare!

Carolyn Cagle, Sylva


On Biden and his crowd of radicals


To the Editor:

Joe Biden spends most days in his basement, or his handlers put a lid on his appearances by noon many days. So, it is difficult to know what Biden stands for and what is in store for us and our country if Biden, Kamala Harris and their crowd of radicals take over the presidency and our government.

You can find out by checking out the Biden-Sanders Task Force Recommendations on Google. This document, a manifesto for pure progressive socialism, is 110 pages long but can be easily scan-read. Here you will get a sense of the left-wing strategy Biden follows with no remorse. The agenda includes taxation that essentially seizes private property and is needed to fund the high level of government spending, banning most firearms, government control of businesses and industries, free education, healthcare even for undocumented people, guaranteed income to a chosen few and government determination of allowed freedoms.

Basically, government will tell you how to live, what you can own and not own. Expect a collapse of law and order as well as your general safety and security. Abortion as late as the third trimester… that’s OK with Joe. Of course, our system of capitalism will be gone as the plan is to fundamentally transform our political system, deny constitutional rights and ultimately change our great country.

A friend of mine whose family escaped Castro’s Cuba told me that if Biden supporters had ever lived under socialism, they would never be Biden supporters.

William Adams, Glenville


Don’t flush the future of forests


To the Editor:

Chances are, you probably don’t give your toilet paper much thought. How would you feel though knowing that every time you use a piece of toilet paper, you may be flushing a several hundred year old tree down the drain?

While many companies are beginning to use recycled fibers and bamboo to make toilet paper, several, such as Proctor & Gamble, are still clearcutting old growth forests, particularly the Canadian boreal forest, to create their products. Charmin (owned by Proctor & Gamble) is one of the largest brands that creates their tissue in this way. Not only are these forests huge carbon sinks (some call the Canadian boreal forest the Amazon of the north), they also provide critical habitat for many migratory songbird species, as well as the endangered caribou.

So, what can you do? You can vote with your dollar by buying only toilet paper made from recycled materials or from bamboo. Seventh Generation is one company that sources their recycled fiber from America, supporting local recycling businesses. There may be additional brands in your local grocery store that use recycled fibers, or you can order online from companies like Who Gives a Crap. You can also consider using a bidet to reduce your usage of toilet paper in general. Additionally, there are petitions online to companies like Proctor & Gamble to get them to change how their tissue products are sourced.

Anja Collette, Sylva


Vote for a leader, not a cheater


To the Editor:

Maybe this has happened to you. It’s happened to some of us, maybe a lot of us.

You’re talking with someone. You know that person is lying to you. The person talking knows that you know they are lying to you. (Stay with me here.) And you know the person lying knows you know the person lying knows you know. And they keep lying and keep lying.

And you come away not thinking much of that person, their character or their integrity. They’re not someone you want to be around.

Now you don’t want that person to be a role model for you or your kids or grandkids. And you don’t want that person to be a leader for you or represent you anywhere much less around the world.

Think about it. What have we come to?

Vote Biden. Vote for a leader, not a cheater, liar, traitor to his country.

Rick Bennett, Cullowhee


Yes, let’s talk about abortion


To the Editor:

Let’s talk about abortion, shall we? It feels like the elephant in the room.

Political candidates and Supreme Court nominees are subjected to the litmus test of their opinion on Roe v. Wade, the 1973 SCOTUS decision that protects a woman’s right to abortion without excessive government restriction. Many people vote on this issue alone. Roe v. Wade has become our stand-in for abortion, but were it to be overturned, abortion would not cease, it would simply go underground, where it was before Roe was decided.

Just as alcohol did not disappear during Prohibition, neither would abortion cease to be sought out if it was again illegal to obtain one. The unqualified and unregulated practitioners would return to the “back alley,” and internet would be a source of information and disinformation to women in desperate situations. Underground abortion is inherently unregulated and unsafe.

I assume that people who care about the unborn would like to see fewer abortions performed, not just have them hidden from view. So, what do we know about reducing the demand for abortion? Quite a lot, actually. There are three main factors that impact the rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion: sex education, access to contraception and the social safety net.

Sex education: States with abstinence-only sex ed have the highest rates of teen pregnancy, and therefore higher rates of abortion. If we educate young people before they start to experiment with sex, fewer pregnancies will occur, thus fewer abortions.

Access to effective contraception: When Colorado instituted a program of free birth control, the rate of abortion in that state went down 42 percent. States without comparable programs have higher rates of unintended pregnancy and consequently higher rates of abortion.

The social safety net (such as paid maternity leave, healthcare, childcare and education) also significantly impact the rates of abortion. Socioeconomic factors are cited by 75 percent of women seeking abortions.

Looking at the causes of unintended pregnancy and abortion and addressing those causes is a more effective way to decrease abortions than banning them. For this reason, I believe the Democratic Party offers citizens who care about the unborn real potential for reducing the demand for abortion. It is not necessary to vote Republican just because you are opposed to abortion. Looking at the parties’ platforms, I see much more potential in the Democratic Party for reducing the rate of abortion in our country.

Elizabeth Swift, Sylva


Save lives and save the economy


To the Editor:

I’m 77 years of age and therefore am at high risk for COVID-19 as are all those over 65, especially those with serious health conditions.

As the Herald went to press on Oct. 15, we had 779 cases, which was a 7.6 percent increase over the previous week. As of Oct. 16, the county had 840 cases, another big increase. People under the age of 50 account for almost 67 percent of the cases, and this is the age group I see most often not wearing masks.

Clearly our numbers are moving in the wrong direction! At the state level we had the highest one day increase in confirmed cases, 2,684, on Oct. 16 and the second highest number of hospitalizations in the past 30 days. In response, the NCDHHS stated, “it is more important than ever that all North Carolinians use the tools we have to slow the spread of the virus: wearing a face covering over your nose and mouth, waiting at least 6 feet from others and washing your hands often. Masks have been proven to slow the spread of Covid-19.”

Have you been to a grocery store, Lowes or Walmart lately? I don’t go to any of these unless I must, but I’ve seen people at all three not wearing masks. At a grocery recently I saw a young mother not wearing a mask with two children in tow. I said, “nice mask” to which she replied, “mind your own business.” I point to my mask and said, “I am, wish you were.”

Please note that the majority of cases in our county are people under the age of 50. If you don’t care about your own health or that of your family and friends, please wear a mask to protect those of us over 65 who are especially at risk for the virus. Wearing or not wearing a mask shouldn’t be a political statement! It’s a matter of the health of us all. We’d really love to see our grandchildren grow up, jobs return and the economy rebound!

Gene Tunnell, Sylva


Sad at what country has come to


To the Editor:

I keep hearing conservatives say that the Democratic Party is the party of hate and divisiveness.

However, I recently learned from a friend of mine, whose family immigrated from Mexico, about a scary encounter her mother recently had with a group of Trump demonstrators. She was going to the grocery store one day and saw a group of people outside the store with Trump signs, flags, etc. As she walked by them, they looked directly at her and made the “Heil Hitler” sign. She was obviously very disturbed by this, as were her children. They’re starting to feel that Mexico is a safer place for them to be, in spite of the violence from drug cartels around their former community.

How is this the America that we’re living in? How did we end up with a president that inspires these types of people? How is it that his supporters call the other side hateful and divisive when literally every other sentence that comes out of his mouth pits one part of this country against the other, as well as against people from other countries?

I am furious that my friends, who are good people, no longer feel safe in America. I am furious that I too am starting to no longer feel safe in America. And I’m sad. Sad for this country. Sad that Americans are so focused on hating other Americans simply because of the political party that they’re registered under. And sad that the rural, white voters who often support Trump, don’t realize that they have more in common with the Hispanic immigrants that he so demonizes than they do with the man himself, or the other billionaires that he truly supports through his policies.

Rachel Smith, Whittier


Fire issues raise concerns


To the Editor:

I recently spotted a huge trash fire near my home. There are two small subdivisions and stand-alone homes in the immediate area, some with small children.

I am a senior citizen with a compromised immune system. I looked up fire regulations and it is very clear that North Carolina does not allow the burning of anything except yard waste such as brush and leaves. This fire was burning entire old mobile homes that had been sitting on a vacant lot for a couple years. The smoke was heavy and the smell a bit chemical. The fire was some 30 feet from Thomas Valley Road with the smoke luckily going over the river and Highway 74.

I called the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. They first said I should call the Forest Service. When I mentioned that the Forest Service website indicated I should call the local law enforcement agency, they transferred me to dispatch. I asked that a car be sent to investigate. I do not know if a car was sent but the next day the fire was even bigger, so I called the Sheriff’s Office again.

This time I was told they would check with the fire department to see if any action was taken or needed. After dark that night the fire was still roaring. I decided to call 911. They said they would notify the fire department.

I did not see any flashing lights, so I decided to take another look. A pick-up truck did seem to stop in the middle of the road for a long time, but no equipment was called and the fire continued with no action taken. I do not know if the truck belonged to a volunteer firefighter.

My concern wasn’t that the fire might get out of control. I was concerned about the smoke, pollution and violation of the state’s long-standing laws and EPA regulations.

I have since emailed the Forest Service to determine if local authorities know the law. While I am a huge supporter of police and firefighters, I am disappointed that they don’t seem to understand the law or even care about citizens’ concerns.

Chuck Harrell, Whittier