The problem is people’s hearts

 

To the Editor:

I was born and raised here in Sylva. While growing up, the Confederate flag was not spoken of as a racist or white supremacist symbol. Instead, it was known to represent the South.

The statue was put there in remembrance and honor of those who sacrificed/lost their lives. Yes, some may have fought only to defend slavery, but most were fighting to prevent the federal government from imposing taxes, forcing infrastructure, etc., against state government wishes. Many were forced to go to war as well. More people lost their lives during the Civil War than any other American war.

Our courthouse is one of the most photographed in North Carolina. There have not been complaints until all of this has started. There is no better place for that statue to be than in front of that courthouse. That is one of the most historical places of the county, so why remove something that represents dedication, new beginnings and growth? That is a part of our history, just like many other things in and around the courthouse (library).

Slavery was wrong, and I am glad it was put to an end. Racism is wrong, but removing a statue isn’t going to change the way people act. We should be able to agree to disagree, rather than be prejudiced toward those with different beliefs, opinions and lifestyles.

When will tearing things down and changing laws to please people end? What is next? Next people will want to change the county name, tear down veteran monuments, close church for good, ban the Bible, you name it.

The issue is not racism, white supremacy, police brutality, the BLM movement, etc. The problem is people’s hearts. Hate and sin.

No matter what decisions are made, I know where my heart is and know the history of our town. I hope people consider standing up for protecting our history/statue so that I can take my children there some day to tell them how our ancestors fought for what they had. Thank you for taking time to listen.

Jessica Hall,

Webster

 

Obscuring our common enemy

To the Editor:

The question of Confederate memorials has become a polarizing issue in our town and in Jackson County, at a time in history when we are most deeply in need of unity. Facing a devastating pandemic, severe economic uncertainty, and a dangerous climactic crisis, we need to work together to rise above all these threats.

Historically, race has been used to divide us and to obscure our common enemy – the tiny handful of the wealthy who have recklessly wreaked havoc on the planet and driven down real wages for their own unparalleled gain. They have funded and invested in political leaders to protect their interests, the worst of these leaders being the current president of the United States.

The president has put himself forward as representing “the common man,” when nothing could be further from the truth – he uses his office to protect his own wealth in the most obvious, unprecedented manner. How does he keep his supporters from seeing this? The tried and true divide-and-conquer method of racism. This is what stands in the way of unity. Hitler did the same.

Unity must be based on principle – we cannot have it by ignoring the fact that slavery existed and that racism persists. White working people, poor white people and the white middle classes must support the demands of black people for equity and respect. We must recognize that it is in our own best interests to do so, and that we have much more in common with black Americans than we do with the wealthy tiny few, just as white indentured servants had much more in common with black slaves than with white slaveowners.

Who are the wealthy tiny few? The Walton family, owner of Walmart, is the richest family in the world, making $4 million an hour according to Bloomberg.com. And how much per hour does Walmart pay its workers? And this on top of decimating small local businesses in towns like Sylva, all over the country and the world. America’s richest 0.1 percent today control more wealth than at any time since 1929 (bloomberg.com/features/richest-families-in-the-world). This is what we need to be worried about.

Racism keeps us from fighting our common enemy. Racism divides us, violence and threats of violence divide us, disrespect for each other divides us. Let us as white people oppose racism and the symbols of racism – including Confederate monuments that were erected not to honor the dead, but to proclaim white supremacy 50 years after the Civil War.

Louise Runyon,

Sylva

 

Worth is worth, regardless of birth

 

To the Editor:

I have grown so tired of hearing “you ain’t from here so you don’t get a say.” That is the most ridiculous statement, as if the thousands of people who weren’t born and raised in this county have not given of themselves in some way to better the beautiful place in which we live.

I’ve been here for 15 years, paid taxes, have certainly done my fair share of serving the community, made a life for myself here and call it home. And I ain’t going anywhere. My money is as green as those locals who have been here forever, and my voice and vote counts just the same.

Let me clarify: You don’t have to be born somewhere to have worth there. Most of the folks I’ve seen perpetuating this ideology haven’t been the most productive or civic-minded citizens. If you’re going to claim only people “from here” should have a voice, maybe you should start doing your part to make this community a better, safer, kinder place, in whatever capacity you can.

If we didn’t have folks moving here and contributing to our county with their experiences from all over as doctors, nurses, clergy, teachers and other important community figures, we would be a boring homogenized people. Stop alienating people who are trying to make a life for themselves in “your” town.

This place is my heart and my home, and no, I won’t submit to: if I “don’t like it? Leave.” Speak up. Make your voice heard. Challenge the status quo. Do your part.

Kaleb Lynch,

Cullowhee

 

We must rise to face this crisis

 

To the Editor:

Very seldom does this writer express his opinion in the newspaper; however, the noise concerning the wearing of a face covering grows so loud that my conscience will no longer allow me to remain quiet.

First because we are faced with the most serious health crisis in the past 100 years, yet it seems to me that scores of people are not taking the threat as seriously as they should.

I hear much chatter concerning individual rights. This right comes from a long line of people who championed a Bill of Rights to our Constitution when there was no Bill of Rights, so I stand for and yes, champion individual rights. However, it seems that too many folks have forgotten that individual rights end where the other person’s rights begin.

Face coverings in a public setting are the right thing for any and all of us, for we have no right to infect our neighbor if we might be the carrier of a life-threatening disease.

One right we have is to bear arms; however, few would argue that someone must be restrained if the one bearing the gun is waving it about shooting indiscriminately, and the same principle holds true for anyone who indiscriminately exposes other people to a deadly virus.

Again, consider the ancient precept that before the Divine Bar of Justice we really are our brother’s keeper.

The basic law of our religion and culture calls on each of us to love our neighbor and ourselves. To disregard the wellbeing of our neighbor says as much about our own character as it does about the neighbor.

Yes, I am a defender of individual liberty and proved it by putting on the uniform of this country in the time of war to defend that liberty. But now is the time for all good men to come to the defense of our country and rising generations.

Robert C. Blanton,

Sylva

 

A long-needed conversation

 

To the Editor:

What a time we live in. This president tried to re-institute white supremacy and racism but instead did the opposite. He hoped to sow chaos in our political situation, then dominate it. Instead he brought resolve from those who would’t be silenced.

As statues are pulled down or removed, he stood in front of Mt. Rushmore, a potent symbol of the history of our country, and also of The Great Sioux Nation. Here lies the rub, as Shakespeare would say.

No matter your political beliefs, the facts regarding the history of this nation are plowed deep in the soil of genocide and racism. Greed was sold as “Manifest Destiny.” We didn’t question the need for ethnic cleansing to rid the land of 90 percent of its inhabitants. (Amnesty International deemed it the most horrific genocide in history.)

On roads outside Sylva, signs denote the Indian trail General Rutherford followed to massacre and burn Cherokee villages. Instead of naming it Rutherford Trace, we might tell the real history of greed and genocide that lies in the story of the founding of our country.

I am grateful for this president who asks us to look deep into our shared history. This is a conversation that has needed to happen for a long, long time.

Ginna Bourisseau,

Cullowhee