My sit-in story
Probably in 1953 when I was 14 years old, I worked in the layaway room of the Mother and Daughter Store in downtown Winston-Salem after school and Saturdays.
Mr. Clark Billings was our store manager and his wife also worked in a downtown office. Mr. Billings came to me one day and asked me to go to the lunch counter in the Woolworth store and get a certain sandwich that his wife particularly liked. So I started out not being familiar with downtown and the segregated structure. I didn’t know there was a counter for whites only and another on the other end of the store for blacks only.
I approached the blacks-only counter. Seeing a white boy trying to buy at the counter, the waitresses drew back and would not help me. Some of them told me to leave, that I was just trying to start trouble, but I was determined to please Mr. and Mrs. Billings so I stayed.
Their store manager was finally called in to handle the situation and told me I needed to go to the counter at the other end of the store where I was treated with suspicion but finally got the sandwich for Mrs. Billings.
We’ve come a long way since then.
A climate crossroads
We are at a climate crossroad. If we do nothing, the future looks very troubling for our grandchildren. If we take climate action, we fear upending our comfortable lifestyle. But what if our great-grandfathers and grandfathers had done nothing in World War I or World War II? Germany and Japan would have reshaped the world for us, their grandchildren. They left the comforts of the U.S. to fight for our future. It took courage and sacrifice for the greater good. They were fearful, but they knew it was the right thing to do.
This is our “Greatest Generation” moment. This is our chance to renew that American spirit and put the future ahead of ourselves. We must act immediately and forcefully, as there is little wiggle room in the timeline to get it right. We must establish an aggressive, comprehensive climate policy that will set adequate goals and standards of compliance to eliminate carbon emissions. We cannot succeed without a fair, appropriate policy, and only Congress can set this policy.
A conservative climate policy solution that uses a gradually increasing revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend approach is currently the best solution. This is not a tax. Fees collected are rebated back to the American people as dividends to be used to offset increased fuel costs. The market demand will then drive renewable innovations.
Let’s be as brave as our forefathers. Let’s fight for our grandchildren’s future. Let’s demand appropriate climate action from our congressional representatives. Time’s a-wasting.
The Journal should affix the following disclaimer to Marc Thiessen’s columns: Warning: context-free, distorted facts and specious arguments to follow. In his Feb. 29 column, “40 Years after the ‘Miracle on Ice’,” he conveniently omits statements Sen. Bernie Sanders has repeatedly made denouncing authoritarian or communist regimes, including statements Sanders made during the very time period Thiessen cites.
Thiessen conveniently omits this, and more, from Sanders’ 1988 press conference in the Soviet Union: “I was very impressed by their desire to become a democratic society ...They understand that they have had a miserable history since the revolution of 1917 —.” Democracy, not communism, was the shared goal. His June 13, 1988 press conference is all there on YouTube.
Then there’s Thiessen’s childish, specious misrepresentation of what Sanders means by democratic socialism: expanded public services as practiced by democracies such as Denmark, Sweden, France in the 1980s, and other European countries. Whether or not these countries provide a good model for the U.S. is a point of legitimate debate. But red-baiting evidently has a shelf-life long past Joseph McCarthy; Thiessen’s attempt to align democratic socialism, as it is practiced in democracies in Europe, with totalitarian North Korea is both disingenuous and pathetic.
Whether emerging from President Trump’s tweets or newsfeeds on Facebook, we live in a truth-challenged culture of misinformation, lousy journalism and half-baked reasoning, appealing to knee-jerk partisanship rather than reasoned debate. The Journal, however, has a responsibility to hold the columns it prints to a higher standard.
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/