The more we know
Presidents Day, created in honor of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, brings a variety of thoughts during an election year.
During my recent visit to Ford’s Theater, the guides shared that all U.S. presidents since the theater re-opened in 1968 have visited to pay homage, most only once. Our current president has visited at least twice, they shared. I applaud his interest in learning about a great leader, hoping his visits are not simply morbid curiosity about that president’s fate.
Across the street in the Petersen House where Lincoln died stands a great tribute to the 16th president. It is a tower of books spiraling upward three floors, constructed from the 15,000 titles written about Lincoln, a deservedly inspirational, America-preserving leader worthy of regard, study and emulation.
From a man who read books by the light of a fireplace, we learn that the more we know, the better decisions we can make. That’s good for us individually and for our democracy. Those who don’t read are no better off than those who can’t read. Knowledge is humbling, but ignorance is a tyrant. Fortunately, ignorance is preventable and curable. By reading, we learn our views are not the only views and what we believe are not everyone’s beliefs. Read a book. Read a newspaper. Call a witness.
All visitors to the Petersen House are encouraged to read any of those biographies and commentaries, all instructive on how not to be a tyrant oneself — or, at least, not act like one.
An excellent representative
The city of Winston-Salem is fortunate to have Kevin Mundy as a candidate for City Council representing the Southwest Ward.
I worked closely with Kevin when I was the general chairman of the Crosby National Celebrity Golf Tournament during my tenure as a chief executive at Sara Lee/Hanes. In his demanding role as tournament director, he showed great leadership skills in his ability to manage through the myriad details of this massive annual event. He was able to pivot from handling the demands of celebrity guests and senior corporate executives to dealing with the concerns of the volunteers.
In addition to his role with the Crosby, Kevin was the manager of community relations for a number of years at Sara Lee/Hanes, working closely with other business, government and nonprofit leaders to sustain and improve the quality of life in Winston Salem.
Kevin knows our community inside and out. He has a passion for Winston-Salem and the people who live here, and I know he will make an excellent representative on the City Council.
Proud to live here
In the March 3 primary, Democrats in the city’s South Ward will choose between the incumbent, John Larson, and either of two challengers. As a practical matter, this will probably determine who represents us on the City Council for the next term.
We all want local government to “just work.” Pick up the trash. Fix those potholes. Put out the fires, catch the criminals, perk up the parks. Save us from our neighbors’ worst impulses and overlook our own. But don’t spend too much! It’s a tough gig. And I’ve seen it done badly in other towns.
Life in Winston-Salem, while not perfect in every respect, is pretty darned good, at least insofar as city government has power to influence it. Whenever I’ve had a problem with city government, John Larson has always returned my calls and helped with solutions. We may not agree on every policy choice, but in his votes he has been temperate and sensible. In all our interactions, he has been decent, kind and respectful. I have no doubts about his abilities or intentions, which both are now sharpened by years of on-the-job experience. Having John Larson as my city councilman is one of the many reasons I’m so proud to live here.
If we want good government, we need to recognize excellence where we find it. Good public servants ought not be cast aside for light or transient reasons. They are too rare and valuable.
In short: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
Election letter deadline
Letters about the March 3 primary election must be received no later than 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 24, to be considered for publication.