Restaurant experiences

To the editor:

My husband and I, both in our 60s, have started to occasionally go out to eat. I want to express appreciation to those establishments where the staff are wearing masks when they come to take our orders and bring our food. While it would undoubtedly be more comfortable to go without the masks, they are showing concern for the health of their patrons and we will go again.

Contrast that with a recent experience in a popular restaurant where no one was wearing a mask. The waitress came to the table, cheerful and talking a bit loudly since, after all, we are older and may be hard of hearing. The food was good, as usual, but eaten from a far corner where we had scooted as far as we could to get further away from her. We have had sympathy for all eating establishments in recent months, but the message received in this case felt more like our protection was not that important.

Gail Heathman

Waynesville

Black Lives Matter

To the editor:

Last Wednesday’s Mountaineer contained a letter to the editor titled “God Loves All.” The author poses a concern about the slogan “Black Lives Matter” and suggests we change that to “ALL Lives Matter.” I would like to share some thoughts about this proposition.

First, I firmly agree that God loves all creation and, that if we love God, we must love one another, all sentient beings, and all creation. Our problem is that we claim to believe those words and yet continually fail to put them into practice.

To understand the statement “Black Lives Matter” as referring only to blacks is a misunderstanding. It was never meant to imply ONLY black lives matter. To change that to “all lives matter” is too often used to avoid the issues of inequality, systemic oppression and the denial of liberty and justice that have been a part of American culture from its inception.

I do concur with what the writer had to say. Do we realize how often “all lives matter” has been used to denigrate legitimate concerns and return to business as usual? Last week we watched the Vice President taken aback by an interviewer asking if he would say “black lives matter.”

He never could bring himself to utter those three words and instead fumbled into “all lives matter.” I doubt his reason was some lofty theological belief, but rather a concern about how he would be received by his supporters.

To say “Black Lives Matter” is necessary because blacks have been discriminated against by the majority for 400 years—slavery, Reconstruction, the rise of the KKK, the age of lynching (4,000+, lasting into the 1980s), Jim Crow laws, separate but equal, disenfranchisement by law or intimidation from the right to vote, the rise of nazism in our nation and so forth.

Much of this has not gone away in spite of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. In fact, it appears recently to have gotten worse.

In reflecting on this matter, I asked myself when the last time was that I had to protest because MY rights had been denied solely on the basis of my skin. My answer is never. So if black lives matter because ALL lives matter, we need to specifically point that out in today’s world.

If we are to love one another, all sentient beings, and all creation as we are told God does and expects us to do, then we as a people have a long way to go. Let’s make the words from the Pledge of Allegiance true—”one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for ALL!”

Gary Knapp

Waynesville

Mail-in voting

To the editor:

Donald Trump, with zilch evidence, claims that mail voting is rife with fraud. Trump rants against widespread mail voting, although he himself votes by mail. And Attorney General William Barr said: “Foreign countries can easily make counterfeit ballots, put names on them, and send them in.”

However, for the past 20 years, more than 250 million ballots have been cast by mail nationwide, while there have been just 143 criminal convictions for election fraud related to mail ballots.

What Trump is really afraid of is that it will help Democrats and Independents. It well might because mail-in ballots make it easier to vote, which is something Trump fears, yet all Americans should want. Ignore Trump’s intentional “Fraud!” campaign and cast your vote by mail.

Go to http://www.ncvoter.org and click on Voting By Mail for information and instructions and an Absentee Ballot Request form. Or, you can call the N.C. Voter hotline at 1-888-687-8683.

Any North Carolina registered voter may request and receive a mail-in absentee ballot. No special circumstance is needed, and voters are NOT required to provide a photo ID with their absentee ballot.

Voting by mail this year also avoids precinct crowds where the coronavirus might spread. Think, reflect and vote for progress, equality and justice for all!

Bill Lusto

Waynesville

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