Press has an essential role in today’s society
To the editor:
This is regarding Secretary Mike Pompeo’s recent verbal abuse against NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly and subsequent removal of reporter Michele Keleman from the press pool on his upcoming European trip.
Secretary Pompeo’s actions towards both reporters are a blatant show of contempt for the press. Kelly and Keleman are both highly professional and respected journalists. NPR goes to great lengths to research and offer news that is of high quality and is fair towards its subjects. For the record, I believe Mary Louise Kelly and her reporting concerning the Ukraine interview.
The press has the responsibility of informing the public of the truth about what government officials say and do in their jobs. The press is of great importance in preserving the transparency of government actions.
The first amendment states that “Congress shall make no law” in regard to “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” While Secretary Pompeo or his press secretary might have the legal right to ban a reporter, I should think that there must be a much higher bar set for doing so.
Secretary Pompeo’s recent actions towards journalists threaten the right of the people to know what is happening in our government. I greatly fear for the direction that our nation is moving in.
The person who holds the highest diplomatic office in the nation must be a constant model and reminder of what diplomacy and freedoms look like to the rest of the world. Ironically, the home page of the State Department currently features a video titled “Strengthening Democracy for a Brighter Future.”
Secretary Pompeo’s very recent actions do not in any way strengthen or promote democracy toward a positive future and send a very contradictory message.
The impeachment ugliness goes on and on
To the editor:
We are being subjected to a political, partisan, ugly spectacle called impeachment. It highlights very well what happens when an erratic, tantrum-throwing egomaniac has cowed the people (the GOP-controlled Senate) who are charged with checks and balances.
Their lack of integrity and basic decency is appalling and reprehensible — but not all that surprising. The worst part is that they will probably be re-elected, as their supporters, e.g., the Republican voters, will not be swayed from their conviction that the MAGA-man is their great leader.
Or as he has said: “I am the chosen one.”
The remedy is for all voters to think about and insist on a return to honesty, decency, and civility, and demand the same from our representatives. We must elect representatives who serve all the people, not just the deep-pocket anonymous donors.
The Dems have to identify, support, and elect candidates who have a unified, clear message that insures opportunity, equality, and dignity for all. It’s time to heal our divided society.
Consider how you would feel if you were on trial
To the editor:
In trying to put some perspective on what has transpired, imagine that you are on trial for your life. The jury is pre-selected and meets with the prosecutors behind closed doors for many hours. Doors being guarded by police to deny entrance by anyone.
Your trial begins and the prosecutors present their case and call witnesses of their choice. After this ends, you are told that you are not allowed to call any witnesses or be represented by council.
The trial goes directly to the jury and they are called upon to vote as to your guilt or innocence. Care to guess which way the vote will go?
Does this sound like anything you have ever heard of in America? Well that is exactly what just happened in the House of Representatives.
Thanks for the article
To the editor:
Just a note to say thank you for the article you wrote about my work as a Santa maker.
I have had so many nice compliments about the article. My husband and I agree that it was the best one written about me as an artisan.
I do appreciate you taking the time to visit and see my “cluttered” workshop and writing the story.
Gun sanctuary issue raises concerns
I am writing to you in response to your reports about the petition to make Haywood County a “gun sanctuary.”
This petition raises a number of concerns. I want to address three of them here.
First, the Second Amendment has been interpreted by the Supreme Court in a much narrower fashion than this petition recognizes. Until 2008, the Second Amendment was almost universally understood to apply to the maintenance of state militias, not individuals or free-roving bands of gun owners.
In District of Columbia v. Dick Anthony Heller, the Supreme Court, by a 5 to 4 decision, interpreted the Second Amendment to mean that individuals have the right to possess a handgun in the home for purposes of self-defense.
Beyond that, the ownership and use of guns falls within the regulatory powers of the states and the federal government. (You can read the majority and dissenting opinions at http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/554/570.html.)
Any demand to resist laws beyond this narrow periphery are contrary to prevailing Constitutional law. Vague appeals to Second Amendment rights need to recognize this fact.
Second, I am concerned with the way in which this petition seems to be driven by irrational fears. The unreasonable fear by gun owners that their firearms will be taken away from them is dwarfed by the legitimate fear that millions of Americans now have that their lives, their schools, churches, and public spaces will be the scenes of death and gun carnage.
The fear that stalks our precious land undermines the mutual trust, care, respect, and collaboration for the common good that are so prominent and treasured in our community and in similar communities across the country.
Public display of firearms and even the awareness that people are carrying deadly weapons creates a climate of fear that undermines the very public life we would protect and nourish. A declaration such as that proposed by the petition creates fear rather than trust and hospitality.
Finally, as someone deeply involved in the church and theological work, I need to point out that the term “sanctuary” means a place where sacred objects and rituals take place. The petition implies that our guns have become sacred objects whose ritual use protects our lives from all harm.
I have to ask, then, how this sacred object squares with devotion to the God in whom we are to trust to overcome our fears. Rather than declaring our county a sanctuary for guns would it not be better to declare it a sanctuary for hospitality to the stranger, to the self-giving exemplified in so many lives around us, and especially in the life of our friend and neighbor, Riley Howell?
I hope that the commission can continue to foster these values in positive ways so that people do not rush to a defense of unregulated gun ownership and use that seems to have generated this petition and which only fans the fires of fear that threaten our public life.
William J. Everett lives in Waynesville.