There’s a lot of history we don’t talk about

 

To the Editor:

I am so sick of hearing this argument that we’re “changing” or “erasing” history by changing statues or county namesakes.

The history of the Civil War and the history of how we treated Native Americans in this country will always be the same, because the past is the past. However, we can choose which parts of history we want to honor. Statues, memorials and namesakes are created to honor people or events. Should we have statues honoring people who fought for a cause that, at its core, was over slavery? Should we have our county be named after a man who forced people off the land they’d inhabited for thousands of years so that white people could live there?

It’s ironic that people talk about these things as if we’re changing history when the very history books used in most schools (at least when I was growing up) conveniently avoid the parts of our history that involved mass genocide and forced labor of Native Americans and instead paint the history of our country’s beginnings as some peaceful, “rainbows and butterflies” story, where the colonists had a nice dinner with the Native Americans and the Natives taught the settlers how to forage and grow food for themselves. They also don’t talk about how Native American children were forcibly separated from their parents and sent to boarding schools where their culture was stripped away from them, their names were replaced with European names (to “civilize” and “Christianize” them), and they were often abused. So, who’s really wanting to erase history here?

Sports stadiums have their names changed every time they get a new sponsor. So what’s so wrong with simply changing the namesake of our county? No trouble is involved as it would be with doing a full out name change. It’s simply a symbolic gesture that would mean a lot to the people whose land falls within the county border and whose original land, in reality, all of us outside the Qualla Boundary are living on now. It seems like a no-brainer to have our county be named after a good man who lived in this area and who was part of a tribe whose original territory covered this entire region, rather than an atrocious man who wasn’t from here and who forced thousands of people off of their land so that white people could live there instead. So how about we try to repair some of the wrongs that were inflicted on our neighbors and choose a different history to honor?

Rachel Smith, Whittier

 

A threat to democracy

 

To the Editor:

The other day a friend of mine made this remark: “I never want to hear Trump supporters mention morality (as in the Moral Majority) again. They have bowed down to his steady stream of lies as though the rest of us merely have to accept lying as a way of life in America.”

Another said, “Do people not see the blatant hypocrisy in chanting ‘Lock her up!’ about Hillary Clinton’s peripheral role in the tragic deaths in Benghazi while they tolerate Donald Trump’s central role in inciting an insurrection that resulted in a violent break-in and multiple deaths in the Capitol of the United States of America?”

Hillary Clinton has weathered hours upon hours of investigations that resulted in no charges of wrongdoing against her. Since the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection is so recent, the investigation of Donald Trump has only begun. His failure/refusal to use his mighty power to protect the people in the Capitol that day will haunt everyone who has a conscience coupled with a strong devotion to democracy as the cornerstone of our government.

In short, Clinton’s actions and inactions did not threaten democracy. Donald Trump’s did.

If you believe this verse from John 8:32 (KJV) how do you follow Trump – “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” What have his lies done to our democracy?

Dave Waldrop, Webster

 

Schools performing well under challenging conditions

 

To the Editor:

It is with pride and gratitude I pen this acknowledgment of the dedicated service and advocacy Jackson County Public School leadership has extended towards the learners, teachers, staff, community and stakeholders of Jackson County.

At a time in which we, as teachers, have been urged to serve our learners and community with grace on the forefront of our minds, JCPS leadership has modeled that call. From the onset of 2020-21 school year, JCPS made the incredibly difficult decision to retain as much face-to-face learning time as possible. The early decision of our school board and district leaders has proven to be the emerging Centers for Disease Control and Prevention model for the country.

During a time when state and local government across the nation are faced with incredibly difficult decisions around vaccine distribution, Jackson County Public Schools prioritized teachers. This decision clearly indicates the belief that getting learners back to face-to-face learning, while protecting teachers is central to protecting our community and moving forward against the most difficult odds. The foresight and measures Jackson County Public Schools implemented early on and most recently are now beginning to unfold as the national standard for the safe return to life in the most unprecedented public health crisis of the last century.

Thank you, Jackson County, for your duty and service to learners and workers of the public school system.

Eleanor Young, Cashiers

Young teaches at Blue Ridge Early College.