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More alike than different

The recent movie “The Best of Enemies” tells the story of the battle for desegregation in Durham in 1971, and is told through the rivalry between civil rights activist Ann Atwater and KKK leader C.P. Ellis. But the movie has an even bigger message for us today.

There’s a telling moment early in the movie when Atwater waves her Bible at Ellis and tells him that the same God who created him created her. This begins the two-week journey where each of them and others begin to see each other not as enemies or stereotypes, but as people with common worries and desires. What they come to realize is that they were more alike than different. Paul calls this realization coming to understand that each of us are children of God. What happened between Atwater and Ellis is that they came to recognize their common sacredness.

What is the message for us today? What if each of us viewed the other as a child of God? Would we talk to and treat each other differently? One would hope so. So let’s try this experiment — for the next 30 days let’s treat each person we encounter, especially someone who is different than us (Republican/Democrat, straight/gay, white/black/brown), with the grace and respect due a fellow child of God. Let’s allow the God in us to connect with the God in them.

What do we have to lose except possibly an enemy? And we may even find a new brother or sister.

Robert Esleeck

Winston-Salem

Immigration and assimilation

The Journal is consistent with its inaccurate reading of American history. Recently, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, speaking at a local church, said, “No other nation has ever survived the diversity and multiculturalism that America faces today.” The Journal (“An inclusive state,” July 5) calls diversity and multiculturalism “cornerstones” of the American experience. Then it adds: “Rejecting diversity is the rejection of an American core principle.” “Opposing multiculturalism thrives among hate groups.”

No nation has survived with diverse populations where assimilation failed to remain the norm. Multiculturalism historically never causes a nation to “thrive.” Austria-Hungary, Czechoslovakia, the Ottoman Empire, the Soviet Union, and, of course, Yugoslavia are examples of failed multi-cultural states. The jury is out on Belgium, Spain and the U.K. as each deals with internal cultural independence movements.

President George Washington’s Farewell Address offers prescient insight for the future success of the Republic. Stay out of permanent foreign entanglements/alliances and seek trade relationships beneficial to Americans; but also, a reminder of how and why the young country melded so easily. “With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. …”

Colonists and pioneers founded and built a great nation from a rugged wilderness. Immigrants have been welcomed here to grasp the opportunities made possible through common values of biblical morality, the protestant work ethic, free enterprise economics, limited government and God-given liberties. Legal immigration and assimilation can preserve social order and American culture for future benefit to unborn generations.

Derrick G. Hinson

Walkertown

Well served

Americans were well-served by the Environmental Protection Agency for almost 50 years, through both Republican and Democratic administrations. But President Trump appears to be redirecting the EPA toward polluter protection instead of its stated mission. He has sought to eliminate or weaken 83 environmental and public health rules since coming into office.

Trump is apparently aware of our strong support for clean air and water. He claims to be an advocate for a clean environment while his actions are just the opposite, as noted in your July 14 editorial, “Trump’s distorted environmental claims.”

Charles E. Wilson

Winston-Salem

Please submit letters online, with full name, address and telephone number, to Letters@wsjournal.com or mail letters to: The Readers’ Forum, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101. Letters are subject to editing and are limited to 250 words. For more guidelines and advice on writing letters, go to journalnow.com/site/forms/online_services/letter/

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