Letters to the editor – October 4th, 2017

Published 6:04 pm Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Correcting history

Editor, Smithfield Times
Thank you for last week’s excellent “Short Rows,” reminding us that statues are not the real issue. It’s Americans’ humanity — or inhumanity — to each other, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other wedge that some current politicians continue exploiting to stoke hate and divisiveness rather than unity. Those who react to demands for removing Confederate statues with the cry, “You can’t change history,” miss the larger point. The protests aren’t about changing history; they’re about correcting history. For way too long, Americans — not just Southerners — have been served up a meager platter of mostly white European history with its foundational lie of white supremacy.
Years ago when racial segregation defined life in the South, I was in the fourth grade in the all-white school in Smithfield. Our history book, The Story of Virginia, had only a couple of pages about slavery and, as you noted, how genteel it all was. Even as a child, I could not imagine anybody being happy to be a slave. I thought there had to be more, that I was not being told the truth.
Nobody could explain to me why skin color should make any difference in how a person was treated. I turned pages in vain looking for a fuller story. Our history books deliberately left out the fullness of our history, including its horrors as well as its heroism.
African-American history is not just something to recognize and celebrate each February during Black History month. Black history is American history. If we are to become educated people, we need to help each other reconcile and integrate our history and truly understand the terrible wounds that slavery, segregation, racism, hate and racial injustice have inflicted and continue to inflict on our country.  Despite their considerable flaws and fears of democracy, our founders had enough idealism to create a transcendent constitution that laid the basis for a future they knew they would not share. We have come a long way, but we still have a ways to go toward realizing our constitution’s promises of equality and justice for all of our citizens. I choose to believe we can.
Mary Batten-Bland

Brewer supporter

Editor, Smithfield Times
Early this year I had the opportunity to meet Emily Brewer and learn that she intended to run for Virginia’s House of Delegates representing the 64th district. We talked about a number of concerns I have including deputy salaries, the local job situation, education, and mental health. When I described a particular bill that had been introduced and was being considered, and the dire consequences it could have for law enforcement across Virginia Emily stopped me, made a phone call, and told me not to worry because the bill would not pass. It didn’t.
Emily is a small business owner with great appreciation for rural Virginia and it’s traditions of farming and hunting. She also understands the need for jobs in our area that will keep our young people here. Emily supports the 2nd Amendment and will defend it. She and her family attend church in Southampton County.
Emily recognizes the problems faced by Virginians today and has sound ideas on how to fix them. While young, Emily is far from inexperienced and possesses insight and energy that will allow her to get things done.
The 64th district needs a person who will listen to and understand our concerns. We need someone to provide a strong voice in Richmond. I hope you will join me in supporting my friend, Emily Brewer, on Tuesday, November 7th.
J. B. Stutts

DeGroft supporters

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Editor, Smithfield Times
We support Herb DeGroft for the Isle of Wight County board of Supervisors. In the past, he has been a public servant during his distinguished career both as an enlisted man and an officer in the USMC. He still continues to represent and support the veterans of our county by working with and representing the VFW Post 8545. 
His leadership abilities have been shown by serving Isle of Wight County. He has served as Hardy representative on the school board for 13 years; appointed by Henry Bradby in 1994, and re-elected in 2005 and 2009. He had a special appointment by the board of supervisors for the year 2000-2001. He also served on the PDCCC local board for eight years with the last two serving as president. Not only has he served as the county representative to senior services of Southeast Virginia, but was appointed by Supervisor Henry Bradby to replace him in 2007, and serving as board president the last two years; and was reappointed in 2016. 
He has proved to be a fiscally responsible conservative with dedication to the Isle of Wight county taxpayers. He is not afraid to tackle difficult issues or viewpoints. He is not a “yes man,” but is an independent thinker and does what is best for the county and citizens. He is not out for personal gain, but does what is best for county and country. Herb uses common sense and the K-I-S-S principle to ensure ease of compliance and is always accessible to constituents.
We think Herb DeGroft is the best candidate to represent our county.
Don & Robie Aubuchon

Dangerous Road

Editor, Smithfield Times
Someday soon, someone will die on Foursquare Road (hwy. 6 20). It is a speedway. Our grouping of mailboxes and newspaper drop boxes have been taken out by speeders on three occasions. Frequently, telephone service has been interrupted as a result of drivers crashing into telephone junction boxes adjacent to the roadway. On three occasions, electrical power service has been interrupted by drivers taking out power poles. It is also noted that tractor trailers frequently cross the double yellow lines on curves. It is also noted that the county’s trash trucks are among those who speed on Foursquare Road.
I have expressed my concerns in person to the Sheriff’s Office; however, there continues to be little local law enforcement presence on this highway. Apparently, there is little concern for the public safety for those of us who travel this roadway daily.
Robert K. Redlin