Letters to the Editor

This is a special Viewpoints election edition for Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016

Big deal

What’s the big deal about Trump’s behavior? John F. Kennedy’s behavior in the White House was much worse than Trump’s would ever be, and he was a much loved president. The big difference is Trump blabbed about his alleged behavior that happened years before he ever thought about being POTUS. I really doubt if he ever did all the things he claimed to do anyway. If people loved Kennedy so much, why don’t they love Trump?

Walter Huckeba, Perry

Incompetence not bias

If there is one thing that the current presidential campaign has done for me, it has furnished me with many more examples of the incompetence of the mainstream news media in the U.S. Note that I wrote “incompetence,” not “bias.” To demonstrate that it is not bias, let me give you an example about media treatment of each of the two political camps.

Trump complained that Judge Gonzalo Curiel, presiding over a lawsuit against Trump with regard to “Trump University,” was biased against him because of the statements he had made about Latinos. In writing about this, any eighth-grader would have been smart enough to find out from Trump exactly by what actions on the part of the judge — probably denied motions — Trump considered himself to have been treated unfairly, and then take those examples to some neutral legal scholar — a law school professor, perhaps — to find out whether or not the judge’s decision was unusual or unfair. That, of course, is not what the news media did. Instead, they went around asking other Republicans what they thought about Trump’s statement, and, not surprisingly, got a lot of negative comments from them about him.

The treatment of Clinton has been even worse, if you count the length of time the media’s nonsense has gone on. Clinton used a standard email system for her government correspondence, and the media passed on stories of the possibility of classified communications having been compromised. When I first heard these stories, it did not make sense to me. The State Department uses the same system for classified communication, SIPRNET, that the military does, and a document sent on a SIPRNET computer cannot be received on a non-SIPRNET computer. Even stranger, the news media were completely silent as to what kind of classified materials might have been compromised. So, what was going on? I found out at last on the internet, at “Emails? I suspected the worst — until I read the FBI report,” by Steve Stoft, October 17, 2016, at http://zfacts.com/clinton-fake-email-scandal. In short, Clinton did nothing more than other government employees in the State Department, NSA, FBI, etc. were doing. The whole brouhaha about a possible security breach was simply dust being kicked up by Republicans wanting to brand Clinton as “untrustworthy.”

In all of this, the mainstream media has been following the maxim: “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.” That is, you don’t need to tell the people the meat of the story, the facts, when you can keep them in a continual state of excitement with occasional whiffs of scandal.

Scott Buchan, Warner Robins

No on Amendment 1

I hope everyone read Charles Richardson’s Sunday column about the Opportunity School District Amendment 1. He was right on the money. After reading a mail out I received asking for its passage, I was drawn to one of their reasons why they thought it would be beneficial to our educational systems. It read, “68,000 children are trapped in Georgia’s 127 failing schools for no other reason than their address, trapping them in a cycle of poverty and crime.” If the money that had been poured into finding the best standardized test (that has yet to be found after numerous changes), think about how much more this money could have been used for in the schools and for the teachers in those failing districts.

As a former educator, the educational needs of our students was and still is a top priority for everyone in the teaching profession that is also supported by our local administrations, boards and parents. Voting “yes” to Amendment 1 will take that away from our schools when state appointed advisors take control of our schools. How can someone in Atlanta have any knowledge of what the needs are for our schools in Middle Georgia? Please vote “no” on Amendment 1 on Tuesday.

Elaine Greene, Gray

Why I voted for Hillary

As First Lady, Hillary Clinton helped bring health insurance to children. Over 8 million children have health insurance today because of her strong efforts. When she served as senator from New York she worked to bring relief to New York City. The first responders (firefighters, police and others) received aid for their health problems from 9/11 because of her efforts. She worked with Republican senators to help bring this about. Thus I believe, as president she will work across the aisle with Republicans to unite the nation and get something done.

The second time she ran she won 67 percent of the vote. President Barack Obama respected her and trusted her enough to appoint her secretary of state, the most important Cabinet position. As secretary, opinion polls continually rated her popularity at 65 percent. For the last 20 years she has been at the top or near the top of the Most Admired Women in the World. Since she left the Cabinet in 2013 she has been the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination and thus the main target of Republlicans. All 17 of their candidates in the primaries attacked her without ceasing. The Republican National Convention in 2016 was one long attack on her. I believe she is the best prepared in foreign policy and domestic policy of any candidate ever to run for president. And I believe she will carry out her slogan of “Stronger Together” and help unite our divided nation.

John Ricks, Cochran

Politicians are fair game

This is in response to Travis Middleton’s letter. Journalist did not drive Vice President Spiro Agnew from office. He resigned from office. Later he plead no contest to one count of income tax evasion and paid a fine. Journalist did not drive President Nixon from office. He resigned from office after several of his key advisers plead guilty to participating in the Watergate cover up. President Ford pardoned Nixon. Under the terms of his pardon, Nixon could not be tried for any of his actions.

If a presidential candidate says something foolish or inappropriate, they cannot get mad if the media makes it known. Politicians know the media is monitoring everything they say and everything they said in the past. If they do not want to be embarrassed they should be careful before they speak.

Freedom of the press is the cornerstone of our democracy. Citizens have a right to know what a presidential candidate says at a campaign event, or what he has said in the past. A presidential candidate has the right to speak to supporters and advisers in private. But he has to be aware who is there and who is listening. Attendees have the right to make a politician’s comments public.

Politicians can try to take back their comments, but once said it sure to be revealed. Politicians can try to cover up their deeds, but eventually they will become known.

Jim Costello, Perry

RINOitis

Why don’t the RINO (Republicans In Name Only) just come out of the closet and admit they are infatuated with Hillary Clinton instead of using the fall back excuse that they can’t support Donald Trump because he has an immoral character (let him without sin cast the first stone). I admit he does say and do things that are embarrassing to most humans, but we are not voting for a new pope or rabbi or pastor, we are voting for a Supreme Court justice (or maybe two), appellate justices, other congressmen or women, new laws and regulations, etc., that he will work to see are changed to fix the mess President Obama has created and his protege Hillary Clinton will continue.

Hillary has always been narcissistic and arrogant since she left law school and guided Bill into his political career as her surrogate. She finally sees her opportunity to become what she has always wanted to be — the most powerful woman in the world and she will do and say anything to reach her goal. If she was any other person and committed the things she has done she would have been indicted long ago and probably convicted. This election is cut and dry. You either like what is currently going on or you want positive change with Trump.

John Liles, Macon

Headed for Mars

I wish the members of our government were as passionate about the issues of our country as they are about digging up dirt and slinging mud. The taped interviews from days gone by and emails confidential or otherwise are so minute in the big scheme of things. We have citizens from infancy to seniors who are going to bed with little to no food every night. There are children and teachers going to school in buildings that we would not house our stray dogs in. But one of the candidates is at the opening ceremony of a luxury hotel and the other one is accepting charitable donations from foreign governments.

Teenagers are being brainwashed by drugs or Islamic rhetoric and their parents are struggling to find jobs and affordable health care while legislators are bickering over legalizing marijuana and how many hours they have to spend each day raising funds for their political parties. Our infrastructure is falling apart and local governments can’t stay ahead of the natural disasters that are devastating neighborhoods because of aging levees and roads. The media contributes by focusing only on the sensational. This is just the tip of the iceberg. No wonder people want to go to Mars. This place is a mess.

Becky Gorman, Macon

Prayers for our nation

A parking lot conversation on Monday with a friend and neighbor ended with his excited, cynical response to the latest election scandal (our national election reduced to great entertainment). It knocked the wind out of me. I thought to myself, “in this season we have come to gleefully hating, we have rejoiced in self-loathing.”

The next day, in a small worship gathering celebrating All Saints, a woman prayed very simply: “God, we pray for our nation that you heal our divisions. May we move through this election with peace and acceptance.” Can this be our prayer now? For healing, for change? We have much work to do. There are great inequities in our economy. There are deep cultural, racial, and generational divides newly manifest. The political establishment seems out of touch and ineffectual (and this only reflects our own shriveled faith and widespread mistrust). Yes, there are structural changes that cry out to be made. But more basic to the health of our nation and closer to home, we must discover a new quality of attention, of patience, of listening. We must come to a new realization of our common humanity and interdependence.

It is a question of vision, of faith, something that must be patiently built up among us. We could begin by following the lead of the people from Des Moines and Urbandale, Iowa who came to the memorial sites of slain police officers Anthony Beminio and Justin Martin. Jane Hurd said, “... today we’re — we’ve become part of the rest of the country.” Debbie Siemer said, “Our world has changed. It’s — our innocence is gone. They (her children) need to be taught respect.” And Jennifer Schumann added, “And I’m trying to think how I can do more for our community and be more open and talk to my neighbors and show more love than fear.”

Their apprehension of our shared humanity, and their sorrow, are keys for all of us. May this be our common task going forward. May this be our prayer.

Steve Bullington

Adrian

Ignorance

When considering this election I am reminded of the saying: Fear an ignorant man more than a lion.

Earline Ham,

Macon

Hold your nose

Erick Erickson’s columns over the past year have been as baffling as they are perplexing. He is so rabidly anti-Trump that he seems second only to George Will in accepting the demise of this nation if it keeps Trump out of the White House. Worst of all, he keeps trying to convince us that it is God’s will that Hillary be elected in order to assure Trump’s defeat.

He has written that Christians are under no obligation to vote, and that he will never support Trump. In his column of Nov. 4 Erickson offers anecdotal evidence of Christians making a deal with Satan by supporting Trump.

Guess what — come Nov. 9 we will have a new president, and it will be either be Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. This election will not be decided by a convention of the states. Neither Gary Johnson nor Jill Stein stands a snowball’s chance of winning, and everybody knows it. A vote for either is a vote for Clinton. The same holds true for write-ins or staying at home.

The only reason Obama got a second term is because Evangelicals stayed home rather than vote for a Mormon. Looking back, wouldn’t you love to have had Mitt Romney for the last four years?

Call it choosing the lesser of two evils if you must, or tell yourself you are voting against, rather than for someone. Hold your nose if you have to, but four years of Hillary and this republic will be beyond repair.

Joel Raley,

Bolingbroke

Such a guy

Just so you can comprehend how little Donald Trump cares about you, your wall, or your jobs, here’s how he treated his own family.

A Jan. 4, New Yorker article (http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/what-sort-of-man-is-donald-trump) reported that Trump’s nephew, Fred Trump, contested his grandfather’s $100-$300 million will because it seemed suspiciously and unfairly generous toward Donald Trump and his children. Donald immediately terminated the family insurance that was providing care to Fred’s baby, William, born with a rare neurological disorder that produces violent seizures and can lead to cerebral palsy. (This was before Obamacare, when getting insurance with a child in this condition was almost impossible.) A Nassau County judge later forced Donald to reinstate his nephew’s insurance, saying Donald Trump had no authority to cancel the policy.

Pulitzer Prize winning writer Heidi Evans, asked Trump if he might come across as cold-hearted, given the baby’s medical condition, Donald said, “I can’t help that. Why should we give him medical coverage? It’s cold when someone sues my father.”

Except no one was suing his father. His nephew wanted a fair settlement of what Donald Trump considered to be his own mountain of money. So, like the smarmiest of all villains, he used an 18-month-old baby as leverage to force his nephew to accept his terms of the will. Fred and his children settled for “substantially less” than the rest of the Trump family. (The Times article notes that baby William did later develop cerebral palsy.

Dennis Evans,

Warner Robins

Voting in November

When you go to the polls, be careful not to fall for artfully worded measures on the ballot. Amendment No. 1 is phrased in such a way that a “no” seems wrong, but it’s not. The amendment seeks to remove local control over our schools, replacing it with control in Atlanta. Gov. Deal’s endorsement of the measure should be scrutinized because his daughter-in-law’s company’s income is tied directly to the success of the amendment. My friends who know something about schools say “vote No.”

Amendment 3 similarly sounds good upon its first read, but it is a terrible idea. Presently, our judges’ actions are monitored by a totally independent group. Amendment No. 3 would replace this independent board with a group of political appointees who, as we all know, are necessarily influenced by politics, not by what is right and what is wrong. Please vote “No” on Amendment 3. As for our race for senator, please remember that Sen. Johnny Isakson took an oath to follow the Constitution, yet he has violated that oath by not following the Constitution’s dictate that he vote on all Supreme Court nominees. Finally, as to the choice between our two major party candidates, I simply say, “God help us.”

B.J. Survant, Macon

Stale solutions

Thomas Friedman must have a real backache from reaching so far into the barrel of excuses for why we should not vote for Donald Trump. We are all going to be replaced by a microchip? Hillary is decent and Trump indecent? Clinton is like a mafia don compared to Trump. All of Trump’s supposed shortcomings are small potatoes compared to the years of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s political graft.

I agree wholeheartedly that Clinton is a flawed leader. I also agree that Trump is a flawed politician. One would expect that from someone who is not a career politician. Above all else, that is the reason so many have embraced Trump’s candidacy.

We hope that finally, after all of these years of political obfuscation, there is someone who might get to the bottom of what in the heck is going on is Washington, D.C. More money than ever is flowing into Washington, yet we are still hearing the same stale solutions for the same problems, year after year and election after election.

Amanda Upshaw,

Macon

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