The state decides

Responding to the Feb. 12 cartoon in the Journal about democracy and standing up to President Trump: We as Americans better stand with Trump if we want a republic and freedom.

Things like socialism are attractive because in a secular society without God, folks see the culture as being the provider of all things. Socialism is a form of stealing and the Bible says, “Thou shalt not steal.” But socialists say in effect, “You have permission to steal if you’re the government.”

Under socialism, the state makes your choices for you. It controls all goods and services in the economy. The socialist state makes all the allocation decisions. Can you go to college? What kind of work can you do? Where do you live? The state decides all these things for you. Young people need to think twice before they vote.

Lawrence Overton

Clemmons

State of illusion

President Trump turned what should have been a dignified State of the Union address into a circus last week. He lied about his accomplishments and presented a distorted picture of the U.S. economy. He gave the Medal of Freedom to a hate-monger. His statements about gun rights being under siege were protested by Fred Guttenberg, a father who lost his daughter during the Parkland massacre, who was quickly escorted from the gallery. Meanwhile, Trump’s lackeys in the Republican Party roundly applauded him.

The reality is that manufacturing is not coming back to America in any significant way despite the recently concluded trade agreements; the majority of the wealth remains concentrated in the hands of multimillionaires and billionaires like Trump; a high percentage of the jobs created in recent years are low-wage; and many small farmers across this country have been devastated by climate change and Trump’s tariffs on China.

Trump did enact a massive tax break, but most of the benefits have gone to the wealthy. Similarly, his multi-billion-dollar farm bail-out to offset the damage of his China trade policy went to big agribusinesses and farmers with large holdings.

Trump did not acknowledge the desperation of many Americans who are trying to get by, working long hours at a pitiful minimum wage, who have trouble putting food on the table and lack decent housing. This is the Other America that Trump and the GOP ignors and are trying to hide — just like everything else they have covered up.

Tim Miles

Mount Airy

Accepting people

I’m not the most PC person in the world. Anybody who reads my letters here knows that I’m not a liberal.

I got a little tired of all the “inclusive” political talk at this year’s Oscars (“Brad Pitt, Laura Dern, ‘Parasite’ win at Academy Awards,” Feb. 10). I get tired, too, of hearing about people’s private business — their sexual orientation, their racial struggles, etc. I don’t hate anybody; I just get tired of hearing it. I’d rather Steve Martin and Chris Rock just tell jokes.

But I’ve got to admit that I get it. If the “normal” folks (what am I supposed to call us?) hadn’t pushed so hard to keep gay people in the closet and if we hadn’t kept treating women as if they were inferior or too emotional or whatever, if we’d helped them when they started speaking up for equal rights, they wouldn’t have to make a point of it now. We asked for this by being ignorant and mean.

I look forward to the day when people are just people and they don’t face discrimination just because they’re different. I wonder if it’ll happen in my lifetime.

Gary C. Parent

Winston-Salem

No higher calling

The “Boy Wonder” speaks again and you can barely see the puppet strings in the picture. Once again we hear the highly unqualified N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction, Mark Johnson, parrot his far-right supporters (“N.C. schools chief calling for an end to Common Core,” Feb. 8).

As a teacher, mentor and literacy coach of many years, I was thrilled to use a document (Common Core) that stressed thinking and problem-solving instead of rote regurgitation. The concepts were clear and broad enough to allow teachers space for creativity as long as the curriculum was taught and assessed. One of the goals was also to provide some quality standardization across districts and states.

However, one of the problems in fairly assessing students was that the instrument mandated by the state stressed speed and memorization instead of comprehension and application. This is a disconnect that someone with a long and strong education background wouldn’t have made.

Mark Johnson was in this job only for the steppingstone it provided to his real ambitions of “higher office.” I use quotes since I believe there is no higher calling than teaching and leading the education of children. Surely we can find a qualified person for superintendent next time!

Patricia Williams

Advance

Johnson is running for N.C. lieutenant governor. — the editor

Experienced

and caring

We have an important primary election coming up on March 3, with early voting from Feb. 13 to Feb. 29. I am writing in support of John Larson’s reelection to the Winston-Salem City Council for the South Ward.

When I first met Larson, he talked to me at length about the vibrancy, diversity and strength of our city. Every time we talk, I learn something new about my hometown, and I learn something new about how friends and neighbors can work together toward positive change. That’s why I got excited about his campaign. I wanted to see what he could accomplish for the South Ward.

Larson promised to encourage sustainability, expand our parks, secure more resources for our neighborhoods and support public safety. As soon as he was sworn in, he reestablished a sustainability committee within our city government. He developed plans and acquired funding for Washington Park, Hobby Park and a new pocket park on Konnoak Drive. South Ward has $1.9 million going toward needed street improvements thanks to Larson’s intervention.

He has also fought hard to ensure our police and fire departments can build new facilities like Fire Station 13, purchase cutting-edge equipment and fund pay incentives to attract and retain top talent. He knows the importance of making sure the men and women who keep us safe are supported and safe as well.

Local voters need experienced, caring council members who keep their promises and get things done. That’s John Larson.

Joshua Canzona

Winston-Salem

Congratulations

As part of an initial congratulatory tweet to the Kansas City Chiefs, the president of our country, a very stable genius, did not know that the Kansas City where the Chiefs play is located in Missouri, not Kansas. A proud moment for our country! I rest my case.

Greg Romeo

Winston-Salem

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.

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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