Letters to the editor – August 9th, 2017

Published 6:46 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2017

We are all one people

Editor, Smithfield
Two things sparked this letter. One was from a while back — a letter written by a parent who would not let his child go on a field trip because it had to do with the history of slavery. The other was a recent letter about remembering and praying for the members of the crew of the B-29 Enola Gay who dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.

Fr. Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest and a prolific writer. In his book, “Hope Against Darkness,” he talks about how we “refuse to carry the dark side of institutions, of groups, nations, of periods of history. We look for races and nations to blame, instead of admitting that we are all in this human thing together.” Every culture, he believes, is a mixture of darkness and light.

We can’t write off history just because it’s dark and painful, and there has been plenty of it. If you want to see a painful part of America’s early history, watch “The Episcopal Church Exposes the Doctrine of Discovery” on YouTube. The periods of slavery were also very dark times, going all the way back to the Biblical era and probably beyond, and it has been present in many countries. When slave trade first began in Africa, local African rulers and black merchants delivered captured people to trading posts to sell as slaves to European ship captains. There is probably not a nation in the world that doesn’t have some dark history, but the bottom line is that we are all in this “human thing together,” as Fr. Rohr puts it.

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History is history — in the past, both beautiful and ugly — and we are all one people, created in God’s image. I hope we can one day accept the past and move forward into a more inclusive, non-violent, positive future, and not be afraid of looking at (and learning from!) our past. And let’s also pray for all the innocent people killed when we dropped that bomb on Hiroshima.

Beth Harris

Grateful families

Editor, Smithfield Times
We would just like to say that the Isle of Wight Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and Sheriff’s Office are amazing. Both offices were significantly involved with 10 Smithfield families for over two years in the recently resolved travel agent embezzlement case. These two county offices went above and beyond their normal duties in the amount of time, diligence and attention that they gave to this case.

Dealing with these two county offices was a bright spot in a very stressful time. Without the unwavering commitment of these county offices, this criminal would not have received multiple felony convictions, nor would our families have received full compensation for lost funds.

Lieutenant Tommy Potter, Division Commander Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Department, Investigator Katrina Everett, and Isle of Wight Commonwealth Attorney, Ms. Georgette Phillips, and their staff, did right by our families. We cannot thank them enough. Our county did what other big cities couldn’t do and obtained results we never imagined possible.

On behalf of 10 thankful Smithfield Travel Scam Families:
Sheryl Senter

Thanks for the park

Editor, Smithfield Times
It’s a beautiful evening in early August. The heat of the day has subsided and there is a gentle breeze, which made it perfect for a run on the trail at Windsor Castle Park. All the regulars were on the trail, including the English couple with the big black dog, the nice lady runner who always flashes the victory sign as she passes, my former boss with his wife and their dog, and the handsome young people of the high school cross country squad. 

Every time I’m on the trail, I am reminded of the generous gift of Mr. Luter that made this wonderful park possible, and the foresight of the town officials who persevered through a legal minefield in creating the park. I’d like to express thanks to them on behalf of all those on the trail this evening.

Greg Vassilakos

Presidential material?

Editor, Smithfield Times
Ben Sasse, the junior Senator from Nebraska, is a new kind of politician, that isn’t quite so new on inspection. He’s exactly what the founders had in mind when they wrote the constitution; he’s intelligent, honorable and committed to the truth.

The GOP would do well to replace Trump with Sasse (pronounced “sass”) on the ticket in 2020 because of his moral integrity, his intellectual strength, and his temperate rhetoric.

A good friend of mine lives in Nebraska and I asked him what stood out to him about Sasse, the reply was instant: “His character.” And that seems to be the consensus.

The only critiques you will find of Sasse are political, from those who do not agree with him on issues and policy. No hidden videos have popped up. No whisperings of affairs. He hasn’t gone on record defending tyrants. Moreover, in a recent New York Times op-ed, Sasse prescribed how to really make America great again, give kids chores and responsibilities. He defends passionately that understanding a hard day’s work will make a tougher, more resilient, and “life” ready population.

Another key qualification of Sasse’s is his intellectual strength. He holds multiple degrees from Harvard and Yale, he has studied at Oxford, and holds a Ph.D. His firm grasp of American political theory is easily perceived from his frequent quoting of Tocqueville, Madison and other such thinkers. He worked in the private sector as a consultant with McKinsey, helping companies adjust to the advent of the internet, before being hired as the president of a college and rescuing it from financial collapse.

More than intellectual success, Sasse has done what many of us wish we could do — bring some civility to the national discourse. He speaks with a tone that is seasoned with humility and the spice of self-deprecating humor. He cuts through the partisan fog and brings truth to the forefront.

All of these and more make Ben Sasse uniquely qualified to replace Donald Trump, the unreserved antithesis of these qualities, on the presidential ticket in 2020.

Max Shafer