Let’s remember to be present for others


To the Editor:

Robert Frost, one of America’s greatest poets, described a farmer who stopped everything he was doing in order to talk with a man who, at that moment, indicated that he needed someone with whom to share his thoughts and feelings. The kindness of the farmer is what we need desperately in America, especially at this time.

Many people are so focused on their own needs and issues, that they are not aware of the pain and sadness of those around them. There is a tremendous amount of emotional pain present in a large number of people living in this country. These individuals could be present in our own homes or in our professional settings. We need to ask ourselves if we have been able to experience empathy for these poor souls who are desperately needing someone to extend themselves to them. Simply acknowledging their existence is therapeutic for the speaker and the listener. Denying the existence of people we don’t understand or consider different from us is a painful rejection.

We need to take the focus off ourselves and look around us. Being present for others is the greatest gift we can give anyone. Take time to really look at others, greet them, listen to them, give them time. It will make a difference in these times of hate, cruelty and belligerence.

Michael Gonzalez, Sylva


The final answer


To the Editor:

The wisest ruler who ever lived stated this truth emphatically: “There is nothing new under the sun,” so I think it a curious reality that I did not see the answer until a friend pointed our group of prayer friends to the Old Testament book of Habakkuk.

Read it for yourself and see that Solomon’s statement is painfully true. Of course, I wish we could just skip to the last words of Habakkuk and not have to experience the truth of everything that precedes them. Sadly, I have come to understand that we, conservative Christians; and no, this is not a reference to any worldly, political party; will suffer greatly for ignoring Biblical commands that were originally supposed to guide this nation.

As a retired teacher, my heart is broken as I have watched school children being brainwashed to believe that reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag declaring our nation to be under God’s control is wrong. This travesty has simply assured us that our nation not only can, but will, be divided. It is not an antiquated statement that is found in one of those old books that is outdated as proclaimed by progressive “Christians.”

Jesus, himself, was quoted by the disciple Matthew: “Every nation divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”

I am also deeply concerned that young children in our local schools, who are not even fully physically developed, are not being protected against the lie that their physical bodies may not indicate their gender. Adults have all the license they need to decide God made a mistake when He created them, but God also warns adults that leading children to question God’s creation of them is a fatal mistake.

Obviously, my perspective is not popular in today’s supposedly enlightened culture, but I actually believe that if I fail to speak out against what is being encouraged in our local media, then not only those who try to censor me, but I myself, will be held fatally accountable. I actually fear God more than anything or anybody else in this world.

I will close this letter with yet another plea to our governing officials to ask our local African Americans how they feel about tearing down a prominent historical statue. I have invited the beautiful Christians at a local Black church to watch the same documentaries that I have asked our local government officials to watch: Larry Elder’s “Uncle Tom” and Eli and Shelby Steele’s “What Killed Michael Brown.” Sadly, there are references to our last controversial American President in these documentaries, but I have faith that whoever reads this letter and decides to be open-minded and authentically liberal and gracious, can filter through any worthless political statements.

Lorraine Arnold, Sylva


Actions of Jan. 6 beyond unacceptable


To the Editor:

Not even a week into 2021, the United States Capitol building was the target of a coup. On Jan. 6, 2021, the 117th U.S. Congress was validating the Electoral College votes for the 2020 election. While they were validating votes, U.S. President Donald J. Trump was encouraging his base to storm the Capitol.

First of all, it is outrageous that the president would incite an act of terrorism. The Capitol has not been breached since 1812, during a war which was 209 years ago! In 1812, it was stormed by British soldiers, this time it was stormed by an angry mob of thugs. To make matters worse some of the police were barely trying to stop the insurrection, they were letting people through the gates, even taking photographs with this mob of hooligans! Then the group proceeded to vandalize the Capitol building, even going as far as urinating on the walls.

These actions are beyond unacceptable. All of those violating the Constitution should have consequences for their unreasonable actions.

Liam Shirey, Sylva


Editor’s note: This letter from Shirey, age 11, was 

submitted with parental permission.


Cawthorn unfit to serve 11th District


To the Editor:

Madison Cawthorn, the 11th district’s neophyte congressman, is a disgrace. He swore a sacred oath to defend our Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. Instead he has repeated falsehoods and encouraged dangerous and deluded extremists to engage in an illegal insurrection.

Even after the deadly events of Jan. 6, his first act in Congress was to vote against the legitimate winners of the 2020 election. There is no credible evidence the election was rigged. This lie was intended to undermine faith in our democracy and install Trump as president. His seditious complicity and ethical violations warrant his removal from office. He is wholly unworthy of representing our district.

Chris Taber, Sylva


Let’s stop finding reasons to fight


To the Editor:


One thing I think we all can agree on is that things need to change in this country or there won’t be much country left to change.

Last week’s article about Rep. Cawthorn was an indicator of this need. The article quotes Jack Debnam as saying, “Needless to say, we don’t agree with the Democrats. Everything right now just seems to have gotten so polarized…” If you read the words carefully, the hypocrisy is clear. It is not Democrats who are condemning the actions at the Capitol. It is Americans, who are concerned about the rule of law, accountability and freedom that the Constitution decides, rather than individual people taking the law into their own hands.

We have a right to be concerned when leaders encourage anger and fear among the citizenry. When we label anything as “us” vs. “them,” whether political labels, or the citizens and our government, it creates polarization, the exact kind that is perpetuated by Debnam’s pointing his verbal finger at “the other guy,” instead of bringing people together to find a solution – all of us.

We are Americans first. We cannot effectively run our country based on loyalty to a party or to any one person. Our loyalty should always be to our country, its people and its safety, not to agendas or preservation of power.

Before any amendments were ever added to the Constitution, the Preamble of the Constitution established the purpose of our government – the same government that so many people have demonized today (paraphrased): We the People, create this government to establish justice, promote domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty for each other and future generations.

“We the People” means you and me, and the people we hire through the election process to represent our interests. We ARE the government.

“Establish justice” means that we create a system of accountability, which allows us to trust and depend on our freedoms.

“Promote domestic tranquility” means we are working together to encourage everyone to get along, even if we can’t always agree on everything.

“Provide for the common defense” means we are protecting each other from violent threats, within our country, or abroad.

“Promote the general welfare” means we have a responsibility to ensure the well-being of our citizens, like requiring masks and social distancing to prevent the spread of disease, or pollution restrictions, or assisting those in need.

“Secure the blessings of liberty” means we are able to express our freedoms as long as we don’t endanger each other and our reason for being.

This is why we are here, folks. And it’s all laid out in the first sentence of our Constitution. Everything that follows it is just details. We are the government. We’re not Democrats or Republicans, “Conservatives” or “Liberals.” We are so much more. We are people. We are Americans. Let’s treat ourselves with the respect we deserve, and stop finding reasons to fight. God bless America.

Mark Stein, Webster