Letters to the editor – June 8th, 2016

Published 7:54 pm Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A political lament

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    Since I’m a political independent, folks might think I enjoy watching our two national political parties attempting to unify their members behind two grossly unpopular potential nominees. Not so. I too have to live in a country governed by whichever one turns out to be the least hated in November.

    How did it come to this? Somehow, the whole nominating process seemed unreal, so it’s probably not surprising that it led to a bizarre outcome. Seventeen Republicans started the race, 16 of this number competed furiously to be recognized as the most authentic conservative, only to discover that most voters could care less. The Democrats forced out two highly qualified candidates before the contest had barely begun, even though both were moderates who would probably have fared well in November.

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    The Republicans say the nation is in a catastrophic state — domestically, internationally and morally. The Democrats say we just have to protect the marvelous accomplishments of the present administration. The Republicans say climate change is just a hoax, probably less because they doubt the science than because they need political cash from oil tycoons. The Democrats talk of generous new entitlements while remaining totally silent on the massive national debt. The Republicans shout we must obliterate Islamic State quickly; the Democrats claim that we’re already winning, but neither one says out loud that boots on the ground may be the only solution.


During Donald Trump’s business career, whenever he made a mistake he could merely declare bankruptcy and start over. If he is elected President, I hope someone will remind him that this method of escape is not available when you are running a country. If Hillary Clinton is elected, I hope she can find a way to act on her pledge to “fight for the middle class” despite the appearance of being already bought and paid for by Wall Street.

    Bob Waxham


Some have to hate

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    I had hoped that I would not see the two letters that were in the Smithfield Times last week, both of them pandering to a “fear of others”. But I guess it has to be expected. President Reagan allowed the FCC to discard the Fairness Doctrine. The media has taken that to shape how we get our news based on their bias and ratings. Today, five corporations control over 90 per cent of what Americans see and hear. I can assure you, it is not fair and balanced. A brief aside here, I am thankful for the independence of The Smithfield Times. We are much more likely to read real news and thoughtful editorials in these pages. And yes, when haters have to hate, their letters are published.

    The letters I referred to were disgusting. The first was a vague, barely coherent smear of people because of their religion. Haters got to hate. Conflating terrorists with religion is not a good thing. The worst terrorist organization in our history was the Ku Klux Klan. They called themselves Christians. I know a lot of people that would beg to differ.

    In terms of the threat to this country, more people have been killed by toddlers with guns this year than terrorists. I don’t hear anyone suggesting that we ban all guns or fear toddlers. It is xenophobia to suggest we ban refugees in a nation where many of us are descendants of refugees.

    The second letter was a rambling screed used to justify bigotry. The writer cherry picked FBI hate crimes data. The number one perpetrators of hate crimes in this country are racists, not terrorists. The religious hate crimes the writer mentioned were third, following sexual hate crimes. Still, the statistic was used in a letter filled with misinformation. The writer cites supporting Donald Trump as a way to back America’s military. However, there is evidence that the number one pick for active duty military is Bernie Sanders. Trump would be laughable if Trump could be held accountable for his failures, or even what he says. It is not so funny, because he has excited hatred and violence throughout his campaign. I offer a quote to dismiss these skewed letters.

    “The most violent element in society is ignorance.” – Emma Goldman

    Jerry Tenney


Attorney’s faulty memory

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    I believe Mr. Al Jones, who represents Mary Delk Crocker, owner of Pierceville, is having some memory problems. My husband and I had Mr. Jones prepare our wills and process one real estate acquisition. We even sat next to him and his wife at the Opera a few years back, and he invited us to join the Chamber Society. And yet he told a business owner on Main Street that he didn’t know who we were, and had never met us. Now I read in the Smithfield Times (June 1) that “ Jones doesn’t believe either of these individuals or groups [referring to my husband and the Preserve Smithfield non-profit] has contacted Crocker or anyone associated with her about their ideas [about Pierceville].”

    In fact, Preserve Smithfield representatives spoke directly with Nancy Lynn Delk (whom I believe is in charge of Ms. Crocker’s care and a close relative) at the Town Council’s urging. Nancy seemed genuinely pleased to learn of our plans to preserve the physical structures of Pierceville, and to re-establish a colonial working farm on that very historical and important property. However, she asked that we first contact Mr. Jones about talking directly to Ms. Crocker concerning Preserve Smithfield’s plans. Colonel RB Braunhardt called Jones; he stated that we could not communicate with Ms. Crocker, thereby flatly refusing our request to talk with her.

    Mr. Jones is quoted further in the newspaper as saying we [Preserve Smithfield] “prefer telling the newspaper before the property owner.” The Town Council and its subsidiary committees have been thoroughly informed and briefed of Preserve Smithfield’s plans all along during this 18 month-long process. Of course, newspaper employees have been present at those meetings, but we don’t control what they write and put in the paper. Not only does Mr. Jones have a selective memory, but also something is rotten in Denmark. Or, is that Smithfield?

    Susie Gay


Why I relay

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    I relay toward a world without cancer. I relay in honor of my mother, Sandra Blount, who is now a nine-year breast cancer Survivor; and in honor of those who won the fight against cancer. I also relay in memory of those who lost the battle against this deadly disease, known as cancer. With the efforts of relayers, such as myself, and the American Cancer Society, I believe that one day a cure will be found I take pride in knowing I am working to create a world where this disease will no longer affect our loved ones.

    Together for a Cure,

    Sirena Blount Sears


Renovating the playground

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    Providing time for children to play outside is an important part of the elementary school day. Who doesn’t remember their own time spent on the playground when they were young? Surprisingly, if you went to Hardy Elementary School, you would still see much of the same equipment today that you played on as a child. This state of affairs is not a condemnation of our school division, but a consequence of the difficult but correct choice of putting our children’s academic needs first in an always-challenging financial environment.

    The Hardy PTA is working to raise funds to provide a much-needed renovation to the playground. Now is the time when the role of community in taking care of our children’s health and well-being comes to the forefront. As the 2015-2016 school year winds down, the Hardy Playground Committee is gearing up to begin raising money over the summer as we push toward our major fundraising period this fall.

    We’ll be approaching local businesses and non-profit organizations to kick-start our efforts and will follow-through with a variety of strategies to encourage a direct investment from the members of the Hardy community. Combining our efforts with funds provided by the school division, we can make our kids, our parents, our teachers, and our administrators proud of the Hardy playground.

    The PTA and I will keep you posted about upcoming fundraisers and opportunities to contribute to this project. We look forward to your support and are excited to eventually unveil the results of all of our hard work.

    Matt Thomas
    HES PTA Playground Committee


Love Your brain

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Everyone is at risk of developing Alzheimer’s, a fatal disease that is often misunderstood.

    Did you know?

    Alzheimer’s is not just memory loss. Alzheimer’s kills nerve cells in the brain, affecting an individual’s ability to remember, think and plan.

    Every 66 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s.

    Currently, there is no way to prevent, cure or even slow Alzheimer’s disease.

    During the month of June, the Alzheimer’s Association asks you to uncover the truth about Alzheimer’s and take action. Visit alz.org/abam to:

    Get the facts about Alzheimer’s disease.

    Learn how to love your brain.

    Discover how to go purple — the color of Alzheimer’s awareness — on Facebook, Twitter and more!

    The Alzheimer’s Association provides education and support services to patients and their families. I got involved with the Association after my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease; she lived almost 10 years after the diagnosis. I used the Association’s resources to help me understand and cope with challenges throughout Mom’s illness, decline and passing.

    I hope you will join me and countless others in supporting Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month during the month of June.

    Lin Harbold