Cooper also deserves criticism

I realize that we’re in the middle of a crisis and everyone is frazzled. But I think Gov. Roy Cooper’s response to COVID-19 leaves much to be desired. If President Trump deserves criticism, so does Cooper.

I understand the need to reduce social contact, but I don’t think Cooper has been applying the rules consistently or thoughtfully. It doesn’t make sense, for instance, to keep bars closed when restaurants are open.

And Cooper says he won’t challenge the ruling by Judge James C. Dever III that allows indoor church services. Why not, if he thought it was the right thing?

Phase Two isn’t very different from Phase One. And how many restaurants are going to be able to make enough money when they can only use 50% of their dining rooms?

In the meantime, more cases of coronavirus are being reported every day. Is it really safe even to go into a restaurant? We need better leadership than we’re getting.

Donald F. Whitmarsh

Winston-Salem

Words matter

President Trump loves superlatives, yet he has earned a reputation for possessing a small vocabulary. Some journalists, America’s wordsmiths, may have fallen into a similar trap. “Ludicrous” has been appearing with increasing frequency in writings about the current administration and its effects on America. But, is this always the right word? Nuance is important.

“Absurd” means opposed to truth or reason and is best used related to matters inconsistent with common sense. “Preposterous” is amplified absurdity, an outrageous contrariness to the norm. “Ridiculous” is absurdity which invites ridicule and mockery. “Farcical” is the humorous distortion of fact, whereas “ludicrous” suggests playful absurdity that is greeted with scorn or derision. “Foolish,” “senseless,” and “silly” are used to indicate absurdity as folly or connected with trivial intellect. (Example: to promote an untested drug for use in a pandemic is silly, whereas to take it oneself is foolish.) And two other words are closely related, “unreasonable” and “irrational.” The first suggests a bias or intent to be contrary, whereas the second implies an uncontrollable lack of understanding.

Words matter and the nuanced differences among them can help us express ourselves more accurately and avoid using a few hackneyed words repeatedly to brush broadly over matters where important distinctions can and should be made. Indeed, it is ludicrous to think one word is always the best word.

Remembering at Memorial Day, the passing of Winston-Salem Journal’s Richard Creed in May 2017, journalist, columnist, editor and lover of words and grammar.

Randell Jones

Winston-Salem

Moving to Phase Two

I’m glad to see that we’re moving to Phase Two of Gov. Roy Cooper’s reopening plan.

I know that many people are concerned that we’re making this move too quickly. I’m concerned, too. In a perfect world, we would wait until everyone is safe.

But we simply don’t have what it would take to stay closed. People need to eat and they need to pay their rent. They also need to associate with other people. And there are no alternatives.

People will get sick and they will die. I don’t say that casually, I say it with regret. It shouldn’t be this way.

But we can’t avoid it.

As the state reopens, our first priority still has to be health, including mental health. When people get sick, they’ve got to be given the resources to get better. That’s where our battle needs to be, to make sure the legislature provides them with the medical care they need to recover — and to keep from infecting the rest of us.

North Carolinians have lost a lot while being locked up. Coming back isn’t just a matter of going to a restaurant. People will need jobs.

All of us right now could use a little kindness, too. Life is rough enough without making things worse. Let’s all try to be good listeners and to share a kind word when we speak to strangers and to our friends.

It could make a big difference.

Kody Yates

Winston-Salem

Trump without Twitter?

So now Trump has threatened to regulate or close down Twitter for finally fact-checking his latest lie/disinformation. (Since he made the threat on Twitter, I’m not sure if he, in his “great and unmatched wisdom,” has totally thought this through.) This comes on the heels of Trump’s lament of Fox News for “doing nothing for Republicans and me to get re-elected on November 3rd.”

How can Trump continue his march toward fascism when his favorite “news” outlets refuse to fall in line?

Anthony Colburn

Tobaccoville

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