Letters to the Editor

This is Viewpoints for Sunday, May 21, 2017

The message of Otis and the pope

The other day, Pope Francis did something extraordinary and unprecedented. He delivered a TED Talk. Seated at his desk in the Vatican, the pontiff encouraged “a revolution of tenderness.” It was a radical, uplifting, spine-tingling message.

For us Middle Georgians, that should strike a cord. This is the sensibility found in Otis Redding’s 1966 classic, “Try A Little Tenderness.” Both the talk and the song preach a brand of loving that sometimes seems foreign. But both celebrate what’s essential in our humanity. The pope declares that we love at the expense of ourselves. When you retrace Otis’ soulful lyrics, you encounter the identical dynamic. Of course, his eyes are on his woman, a woman in need of genuine TLC. He espouses empathy, to see the “us” in her, who “has her grief and care.” She is not an “other.” He sings: “Hold her where you want her, squeeze her, don’t tease her, never leave her, just try a little tenderness.”

His holiness states, “Tenderness means to use our hands and our hearts to comfort.” Otis’s song promotes a rich, localized, immediate involvement; Pope Francis’ message tilts toward a global, encompassing cosmology.

Today, both are needed. Decades after the horrific slaughter in Rwanda where the Hutus descended upon the Tutsis, the ethnic minority, a new-found “tenderness” has emerged. Throughout the country, the two former enemies live side-by-side in reconciliation villages.

It was a hard-wrought truce, a cathartic journey where repentance and forgiveness were painfully and individually sought. Even the Rwandan government pushes this new solidarity — another of the pope’s tenets — with Umuganda, a monthly day of service where all able-bodied citizens work together on local projects. This stands in sharp relief to the sectarianism, nativism and nationalism afoot that can produce plague-scale consequences.

Beyond that, could it be evidence of the ancient Greek expression metanoia, the transformation of the mind and heart?

And that leads to another recent milestone, American Astronaut Peggy Whitson’s out-of-this-world endurance run. From her space station perch, her memorable observation is that the earth posits no borders, no walls. It is all one planet. Of course, it would be ridiculous to believe that we earthlings are the only beings in this vast universe. Let’s hope if any encounters occur, our celestial neighbors have been tuning in to both Otis and the pope. For all our sakes.

Kenneth Rollins,

Perry

Didn’t get the memo

We now have a prime example of how our sad, liberal friends cannot think for themselves or keep up with the changing instructions from their leaders. When President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, Steven Colbert opened his show with the news. Colbert expected his audience to boo Trump. Instead, the assembled crowd cheered the report.

Seems most of the liberal audience didn’t get the memo that Comey was now a good guy to liberals. Apparently, they were still under the impression the evil Comey was persona non grata for preventing Clinton from winning the White House. The bellicose Colbert, looking like a dumb deer in the headlights, was stunned into, unusual for him, silence.

Bob Norcott,

Byron

The real reason?

The truth finally came out now we know why all the land north of the base runway was bought up. It was not to help the fight in case of a BRAC (the sky is falling lie) but to have land for Georgia Power to build a solar farm that will not help anybody.

Does Hill Air Force Base or Tinker Air Force Base have a solar farm close to those bases? Come on 21st Partnership y’all seem to know everything else about a closer, tell us about the other two bases.

Now we know why the 21st Partnership can’t keep a leader for more than a year. Don’t ya think that if a solar farm would help RAFB this would have happened years ago. And we thought the wooden puppet had a long nose.

Tommy Arnold,

Warner Robins

Tinker Air Force Base is spending $243 million to reduce its energy consumption by 23 percent and save the base $20.5 million annually.

Hill Air Force Base has a ground mount solar array that was the largest renewable energy system in Utah at the time it was built in 2009. Hill gets 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources.

Editors

Twilight Zone

In the early summer 2016, I said, as a joke, to a friend of mine that if I had the time I would write an alternate history novel in which Donald Trump is elected president. I now realize how inadequate I would have been for the task. I mean I have a vivid imagination, but in the category of “you can’t make this stuff up” what has been happening must be world ranked. It is like Dante’s Inferno meets Alice In Wonderland.

I keep hearing the voice of Rod Serling saying, “You are now traveling through another dimension. That’s the signpost up ahead — your next stop, the Twilight Zone.”

When I was a lad I remember my grandmother told me, “Be careful what you pray for, you may get it.” Perhaps I should add to that, be careful what awful thing you joke about, it may happen.

Charles J. Pecor,

Macon

Party of Satan?

I’m convinced the Democratic Party is the party of Satan. This is not an attack on individuals, but unfortunately, most Dems are too dim to realize they are the party of men marrying men, women marrying women, who believe it’s OK for their screwed up son to go in the bathroom with my daughter.

They take God out of everything while organizing anarchy in the streets, killing cops, killing babies, promoting class warfare and the entitlement mentality. They believe in weakening our military and want to open our borders. The list of evil goes on and on.

Neal Smith,

Byron

Pay attention

As I read and watch the never ending news of the day here and on CNN, Fox, etc., part of me despairs at all the hours slipping away. Trump firing Comey; why he fired Comey; another completely different reason why he fired Comey. It went on and on.

Trump had the audacity and/or poor judgment to ask the man in charge of the Russia investigation during a job interview to pledge his loyalty. How much do you have to do to obstruct justice before you get indicted?

Conservatives who only watch Fox News should occasionally watch MSNBC or if they can’t turn the dial, Chris Wallace. Sorry for the sermon but it is time for sermons and for careful thought.

Ken Hall,

Macon

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