Letters to the Editor

This is Viewpoints for Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016

Revolutionary civics

The “Why America is Free Curriculum” (WAIFC) immerses students in the life of revolutionary America. It is a six-week hands-on history experience for fourth or fifth-grade students taught through all subjects. When students internalize what they have learned, it becomes part of them, affecting attitudes and behavior. Embracing history in this way in elementary school provides a firm foundation for understanding civics in middle school. When the students reach high school, they will not just memorize names, dates and documents, but they will appreciate the relevance of these documents.

America is the first nation founded on the idea of freedom, rather than on power, wealth, religion or war. Liberty requires civic responsibility. Many teachers acknowledge that the usual curriculum does not allow enough time to adequately cover these concepts.

We must recognize that our shared identity is more important than our differences. It is vital that the next generation understands our national heritage belongs to all of us. WAIFC is taught in 12 states in over 150 public and private schools, with 39 of those schools being in South Carolina and 10 schools in Georgia, but it should be available to every child.

Mary Pearson,

Perry

Sensible gun requirement

Several nights ago on the news there was a piece about a proposed Georgia House Bill that would require some minimum basic training in order to obtain a state Concealed Carry Permit for a hand gun. This bill was filed by the Democratic leadership in the House and Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, without any discussion at all, ruled it dead on arrival.

I'm a conservative Republican who supports our Second Amendment rights, but I'm also concerned about a bunch of untrained, sometimes mentally ill yahoos, running around armed to the teeth looking for something to shoot at.

Until very recently I was a resident of North Carolina where I obtained my Concealed Carry Permit. Unlike Georgia, where no training is required, North Carolina requires an eight hour classroom course plus a live firing range experience involving the firing of at least 30 rounds at stationary targets. According to friends, the state of Florida has very similar requirements.

My course, attended by a mix of about 15 men and women, was taught by a retired police officer. During the course, there was a great deal of interaction between the officer and the students, including interaction between the students themselves. It didn't occur to me until later that the officer was observing each of us to determine if there might be any serious psychological issues present. We took two written exams and were fingerprinted by the local Sheriff's office for a criminal or mental health background check.

The course cost me about $150, but I learned a lot and feel much more confident when I carry. I think it was really helpful for the female students who had never had much experience handling a gun before. I urge my Republican friends to get behind this bill so we can all feel a bit safer while out and about.

Charles T. Wolf Jr.

Macon

British security

For several weeks comments have been made about the past presidential election, some positive while others not so. One in particular was from professor of psychology Bill Curry “paroxysm” over Mike Smith’s article demonizing Hillary Clinton. Curry said it was not professional, in fact petty. However a difference of opinion is just that — an opinion — but if one had to pick between the two, my guess goes with Smith.

Hillary has put the country at risk by her conduct, in fact, if tried in a court martial she could be found guilty of treason. I’ll base my argument on pass history. In 1650 the Royal British navies had lost ships because of lack of security. The admiralty implemented 31 articles of war of which were read daily “by orders” on board all ships of war. Article No. 3 would apply to Hillary, which as quoted, that any person who “shall give, hold, or entertain intelligence to or with any enemy or rebel” without proper authority and is convicted by a court martial will be punished by death.

Frankly speaking, thanks to Hillary, the Constitution should be amended to allow for the secretary of state and secretary of defense to be governed by civil as well as Uniform Code of Military Justice like all military personnel.

Daniel E. Lee,

Macon

Wealth the only qualification

Friday’s letter from J. Hatcher Graham was, for the most part, quite sensible about how America has survived situations much worse than the coming Trump administration. He urges Democrats to give Trump a chance, and I agree. My concern, however, is with his characterization of the Republican response to Obama’s presidency as “we…sat back and gave Obama his chance.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. Instead, there was persistent derision of Obama along with every possible effort to block his proposals in Congress and make him fail.

Simply attempting to defeat President Obama was not good for America. I have never seen such a complete avoidance of compromise. Any Republican member of Congress who cooperated with Democrats in any way was reviled. In order to avoid this criticism, Gov. Nathan Deal kept 600,000 poor people from expanded Medicaid and cost our state billions of dollars. Finding the middle on issues has been one of our nation’s most valuable customs, and some of Congress’s finest achievements have come from efforts across the aisle. I truly hope Democrats and Republicans will attempt to restore this useful tradition.

In doing so, however, we should not ignore the fact that Trump is a provocative figure. As we see his intended list of appointments, replete with individuals either ignorant of or avowed destroyers of the very programs they will direct, readers of any stripe should have questions.

It is worth noting that the standard for his appointments appears to be wealth as the measure of success. I will remind readers that generating wealth is not a valid qualification for operating the programs which serve our country, and genuine skills for such undertakings have no connection with making money. Remember that there are, after all, respectful ways to raise objections and have one’s opinion become part of the decision-making process.

Roby M. Kerr,

Macon

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