Vaccination effort is impressive


To the Editor:

My wife Shirley and I, having lived in Jackson County for many decades, have never been more impressed by a government function as by the COVID-19 vaccination.

We were properly scheduled for our inoculation at midday, arrived on time, received our shots, had our 15-minute wait for any possible reactions, and were completed in 45 minutes. Employees were stationed along the route going to the place of vaccinations, at the vaccination site, and at the after-shot waiting area – all were helpful and efficient in giving directions and getting the task done.

Thanks and cheers to the county health department, and to that responsible work staff, for a pandemic-necessary task which was magnificently well done.

To persons who have not done so, call the Jackson County Health Department and get scheduled for your vaccination now.

Dean Kool, Sylva


Trump’s legacy less than impressive


To the Editor:

No president has been or ever will be perfect, but we have had the worst president ever in Trump.

I have asked some Trump supporters (not extremists) to make me a list of what Trump has done for the country. They have not done so, so I am making a list of what Trump has done to the country.

Even before he was elected he was talking about having Mexico pay for his wall failure and how he was going to reduce the national debt and deficit. Anyone with common sense would have known no country was going to pay for something built on American soil. As far as reducing the national debt and deficit, just the opposite happened, and happened before the coronavirus ramifications.

His cut in taxes helped the richest and corporations the most. You can not keep paying out billions of dollars without taking in income to offset it. He spent billions on his wall failure, including illegally transferring $2.5 billion from military funds to his wall.

He has cost taxpayers millions of dollars starting with his first day in office for personal reasons for him and his family. For example, his wife staying in New York, costing more for security, and his 250-plus trips to his golf clubs.

He was a complete failure when it comes to the coronavirus. He spread misinformation constantly and instead of having a national plan to help control the virus he made a political issue of it. He held numerous rallies without following the guidelines of social distancing and wearing masks, becoming a superspreader of the virus.

His tariffs have done nothing for our country. He spent billions to reimburse farmers because they could not sell their products to China, namely soybeans. The price of goods went up.

He has divided this country like it was during the Civil War.

He separated nearly 600 children from their parents. What is to become of them?

He started long before the election filling people’s heads with the idea that if he lost the election it would have been rigged, finally resulting in what happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6. After telling these extremists to come to the Capitol to stop the certification of the election by Congress and inciting them again when they arrived, the worst thing imaginable happened, with the loss of lives.

He has pardoned so many that probably should not have been, one has to wonder if some of those pardons were payment for their silence. He should also pay for the crimes he has committed, and I hope he does.

He and his wife have been nothing but a disgrace to this country, including their refusal to cooperate with the incoming president and his wife. Gracefully I say goodbye to this wannabe dictator.

Louise Williams, Sylva


Understanding, acceptance are a two-way street


To the Editor:

A recent letter to the editor proclaimed the writer a “conservative Christian.” I have searched my King James and New Revised Standard editions of the Bible and find no such designation.

I do find a passage that denies false or even any distinctions: Galatians 3:28 – “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

The writer bemoans attitudes that denigrate God’s place in the civic space. For her example she offers the Pledge of Allegiance and the fact that some folks appear to be put off by the phrase “under God.” That phrase was not part of the original rendition of the Pledge but was added for propaganda purposes in the 1950s.

Whatever the case, the idea that our nation receives special attention or dispensation is hubristic and not sustained by Scripture or the theology that arises from the New Testament. Moreover, swearing oaths and allegiance is problematic in light of many passages that urge us to become one with God through Christ. While there is a tradition by some for arguing for most favored nation status for America, it seems driven by political needs rather than sound theology and is, at best, more complicated than the letter suggests.

The writer then goes on to show disdain for not only biology and genetics but also Christian concepts of humility, charity and judgment. She evades the idea that some things may be beyond our understanding. What we can understand is that all of us are made in God’s image, our souls are eternal, perfect representations of God’s love and creation. Proclaiming God’s imprimatur for things we fear because they conflict with our simple understanding fails the aforementioned concepts.

Finally the writer mentions the Confederate statue, a memorial to treason against the very country she wishes us to pledge allegiance to. Not all of those who fought under Confederate banners did so for ideological reasons, specifically for treason in defense of slavery. Some were conscripted. Some placed their loyalty to locality over the principles that founded this country. Whatever the case their efforts were in service of treason. Families may wish to memorialize ancestors who fell in battle but memorials in public spaces ought to serve public purposes – we would not memorialize those who recently attacked the Capitol. Recognizing the truths of history may be painful but it is not denial. We must distinguish between history and myth.

The letter’s author seeks understanding for her views while defining a failure to agree as an absence of open-mindedness. I am reminded of my grandfather, who responded to a contentious and stiff-necked brother by asking: How is it that when you open a window it’s always fresh air, yet when I open the same window it’s always a draft?

Understanding and acceptance are, by definition and honest principle, a two-way street.

Mark Jamison, Cullowhee


Memories of Cawthorn’s paraplegic predecessor


To the Editor:

As I read a Jan. 20 article in The Sylva Herald, I was disturbed by Madison Cawthorn’s description of events on the floor of the House during the insurrection on Jan. 6. Especially disturbing was his partisan description of other representatives and his attempt to characterize his own behavior as other than insurrectionist.

As the daughter of the Honorable David McKee Hall Jr., of Webster, the first paraplegic congressman to serve the people of Western North Carolina, I reflected on how my father would have behaved in such a situation. I am certain that he would have perceived his fellow representatives as people in danger, afraid for their lives, thinking of their families not as Republicans or Democrats. He would have always taken responsibility for his decisions, right or wrong.

Sixty-two years ago, he was elected to serve as a U.S. Representative in the 86th Congress. His legacy is one of an indomitable will, and a spirit of inclusiveness, service, compassion and respect. He was a conservative Democrat. A man of conviction, aware of the needs of others, able to respect those with different opinions. This is the kind of person that the mountains of North Carolina can forge and one who is worth remembering and emulating in these divisive times.

His path to Washington in the 1950s was difficult. He had been confined to a wheelchair since his early teens. His illness prevented him from formally graduating from high school. But his keen mind allowed him to learn on his own and gain acceptance to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a special student. In June 1948 he was the first special student to graduate from UNC with the LL. B degree.

During his time at UNC, he read to blind students to facilitate their studies. At home in Jackson County, he worked with the local United Fund and the Carolinas Community Services. He was appointed to the Twentieth Judicial District Committee, was a member of the North Carolina State Senate and a member of North Carolina Board of Water Commissioners.

He served as attorney to the towns of Sylva, Dillsboro and Webster as well as Jackson County. He was an Elk, Rotarian and Methodist trustee. He organized the Jackson County Savings & Loan Association and served as secretary. He organized Jackson County Industries, Inc., and served as president.

In Congress, he was appointed to the House committees on Science and Astronautics, Appropriations and National Rivers and Harbors.

He became ill and had to spend time at Walter Reed Hospital. He would not agree to treatment during days that the House was in session, so his doctors agreed to treat him during overnight stays, allowing him to be on the House floor for deliberations.

He died 13 months into his term at 41 years old, having accomplished much in service to the people of Western North Carolina, in stark contrast to Madison Cawthorn’s self-serving, reprehensible behavior.

Anne Hall Hines, Cary


Let us come together


To the Editor:

What a wonderful day it would be for democracy, for the U.S. Constitution, for America, if Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi (the three most prominent politicians today) poured their hearts out in a letter to every voter in America.

They could say that the 2020 election was secure. It was historic in turnout. Like every election it had a few mistakes that were accounted for/corrected. That many Americans have been misled by a president who valued political power over unity. That our election system must be protected/stabilized to assure that democracy survives and thrives.

Imagine receiving this bipartisan letter in your mailbox. Imagine these three political leaders vowing to listen to Americans. Listen to each other rather than committing only to party lines. Could it restore respect among Americans?

Jonathan Swift wrote: “Men must not turn into bees who kill themselves in stinging others.” In the Bible we are told the Lord hates: “…he that soweth discord among brethren.” Proverbs 6:19 KJV

It is time for our leaders to step up to the task of leading instead of destroying. We must build on what our forefathers (and mothers) handed us – government of the people, by the people and for the people. We must come together.

Dave Waldrop, Webster


Vaccine process a well oiled machine


To the Editor:

Recently I received my first COVID-19 vaccination and was so impressed by the organization of the entire process that I knew I had to say thank you.

During the entire process I never had to leave my car from the time I entered the driveway at DSS until I left. When I entered the driveway I was instructed to drive to the top of the hill where I was met by a young lady who took my name and the time of my appointment and checked me off her list. She gave me a form to fill out and gave me directions to the next station. All along the way there were men who motioned me forward so that there was no way I could make a wrong turn. At the third station a young lady asked for my insurance card and directed me to the huge white tent where I would receive the shot. I was so impressed that the last station was at the EMS headquarters which made me feel so safe, knowing that if I had a reaction I would be well cared for. The vaccine was administered by a wonderful gentleman with the Jackson County EMS. After giving me the shot (which I did not feel) he placed a card under my windshield wiper which told the exact time I had received the shot. He then gave me a card that told the type of vaccine I had received and when I would get my second dose. I was then instructed to go to the next station where I would wait 15 minutes to make sure I had no reaction to the drug. During my wait time a young lady carefully monitored me and my time and after the 15 minutes was up and I was showing no signs of a reaction to the shot I was told I could leave.

As a retired public school superintendent I know that good organization is critical to the success of any project and I know how difficult it can be to obtain. It takes a great deal of hard work, excellent communication, caring individuals that see the whole picture, and individuals at the top who take full responsibility for the task they are given. This certainly happened in the administering of the COVID vaccine!

When I asked what organizations should receive the credit for a job well done, I was told that those making this happen were the Jackson County Health Department, Emergency Management, Harris Regional Hospital, Harris EMS, the Sheriff’s Office, the Sylva Police Department, and the recently expanded partnership to include the National Guard. Thanks also to the Department on Aging that hosted the project. Having grown up in Jackson County I am so proud of the job they are doing to help wipe out COVID-19.

Ann Melton, Waynesville


A snapshot of Cawthorn’s actions


To the Editor:

In response to letter writers saying Tar Heels should be ashamed of Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C. 11, I offer this snapshot of what the Tar Heel representative did.

Via Politico: “Thousands of National Guardsmen were allowed back into the Capitol Thursday night, hours after U.S. Capitol Police officials ordered them to vacate the facilities, sending them outdoors or to nearby parking garages after two weeks pulling security duty after the deadly riot on Jan. 6.

“One unit, which had been resting in the Dirksen Senate Office building, was abruptly told to vacate the facility on Thursday, according to one Guardsman. The group was forced to rest in a nearby parking garage without internet reception, with just one electrical outlet, and one bathroom with two stalls for 5,000 troops, the person said. Temperatures in Washington were in the low 40s by nightfall.”

Via Madison Cawthorn: “I just visited the soldiers who have been abandoned and insulted by our leaders. I brought them pizza and told them that they can sleep in my office. No soldier will ever, ever sleep on a garage floor in the U.S. Capitol while I work in Congress. Our Troops deserve better.”

George Durden, Sylva