The ethical course

“Wiley project raising questions” (Jan. 23) aptly headlines the latest development in the years-long controversy surrounding the proposed walled-in athletic stadium at Hanes Park, an edifice designed to give Reynolds High School teams a so-called “home field advantage” over their opponents. Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school board member Leah Crowley’s push to accelerate the time for the demolition of the Wiley Magnet School gym is indeed a wrong-headed idea. As the Journal makes evident, Crowley violates the project list and timeline painstakingly worked out through an open public process available to voters when we approved the 2016 school bond project. “Crowley’s Folly” is not only fiscally irresponsible; it also substantially interferes with the educational mission at Wiley.

Also distressing is that Crowley appears to be acting under a conflict of interest. Accelerating the Wiley gym project is, of course, designed to enhance fundraising efforts — both private and public — for Crowley’s pet stadium project. Every elected member of the Board of Education bears the responsibility to exercise prudent decision-making on behalf of all the citizens of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. But lest we forget: Crowley’s husband gets paid to be the head football coach at Reynolds High School — does any other school board member have that kind of intimate economic connection to the success of Reynolds athletics?

The only ethical course for Crowley now is to recuse herself from any vote, either in committee or by the full board, on anything having to do with her special interest.

William B. Gibson

Winston-Salem

Empathy is necessary

Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s perspective, emotional responses and life circumstances. Based on my experience, compassion is impossible without empathy.

President Trump has not exhibited any acquaintance with the concept or practice of empathy. In his two-year reign, Trump’s two most significant failures of empathy have categorically defined him as a heartless autocrat.

First, our president presided over the separation of children from their parents as a tactic to discourage families seeking asylum in our country. The abrupt separation of a child from a parent is as traumatic an experience as I can imagine. There was no evidence of concern or understanding of the refugees’ motivations for seeking relief from unspeakable living conditions.

Second, on Dec. 22, 2018. Trump called for a partial government shutdown, and on Jan. 25, 2019, the longest shutdown in our nation’s history ended (“Trump retreats to end shutdown without wall money,” Jan. 26). It is hard for me to imagine the stress and desperation nearly 800,000 government workers endured without essential paychecks. Innocent citizens of any nation should never be used as hostages in political battles, and there is no reason for such a procedure as shutdown to exist.

The dark side of the story is that Trump has threatened the possibility of another shutdown if he does not get money for his wall by Feb. 15. Obviously, he was not touched by the unnecessary hardships suffered by our fellow Americans that he and only he caused. Empathy demands no more shutdowns.

Charles Francis Wilson

Winston-Salem

We deserve better

We take exception to Rep. Virginia Foxx’s Jan. 21 guest column, “Legislating for life, 46 years after Roe,” where she states that following the Roe v. Wade decision, “an estimated 60 million infants have been killed in the womb in the United States alone.” This gruesome description conjures up images of infants cooing and smiling prior to being put to death.

In reality, as Rep. Foxx should know, abortions are performed before a fetus can sustain life outside the womb.

Rep. Foxx’s statements are designed to inflame her base and have no place in a democratic society.

The majority of women support abortion rights. Striking down Roe v. Wade would make abortion a crime and eliminate a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her body.

We deserve better from our elected officials. If Rep. Foxx would hold town hall meetings she might hear other points of view on this and other concerns of her constituents.

Barbara Morgan

Kernersville

Glen Combs

Winston-Salem

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