Our own gem

I recently read with great excitement the New York Times article, “Why Midsize Cities Struggle to Catch Up to Superstar Cities” about the city I have been grateful to call home for over 18 years. While I am no economist, the writer neglected a range of people on the ground who help to make this city a vibrant, exciting place. He overlooked a tasty food scene that circles the globe and the South, a downtown housing boom, the rebuilding of our central freeway, extensive public parks and community gardens networks focused on sustainability lessons, an outstanding performing, visual and musical arts culture and scene, and what I am most proud to be a part of: genuinely remarkable and steady social justice work among faith leaders of all colors and backgrounds.

I’ve long considered Winston-Salem a gem and a secret. That Times article may keep it that way a little longer, lest we get completely overrun.

This city has lost a lot because of changes in industry, but it has picked up a lot through creativity, ingenuity and pride in the town and in benefits that far surpass many of the major metropolitan “superstar” cities.

And with good water, we’ve got amazing biscuits, beer and yes: bagels. And we even have our own Temple Emanuel — only not of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, but Oakwood Drive in Ardmore, of which I am proudly the rabbi.

Rabbi Mark D. Cohn


Question answered

The writer of the July 30 letter “Enough is enough” both posed and answered his own question.

He asked, “What in the world has happened to dialogue about the real issues that are troubling our nation?” Earlier in his letter he referred to a group of presidential candidates as “20-something clowns who emerge from the VW Beetle and take the debate stage,” and described them telling us “...how sorry a president the other candidates would make if we are dumb enough to elect them.”

Why should any of us, regardless of political affiliation, expect to have a productive dialogue about real issues that trouble us, when we use words and phrases that only serve to stir up anger or hurt feelings? If we are to have productive dialogue about any issues, we must start it with words and phrases that promote thoughtful and courteous discussion.

Tim Harris


Who’s to blame?

The problem with all this blaming and accusing is that we don’t really care anymore about right and wrong. As a people, we have become almost exclusively driven by amoral personal pragmatic expediency. That is why we are no longer interested in the rule of law. We want to use the law only to further our personal agendas; beyond that, we couldn’t care less. If our opponents commit infractions, we are passionate about enforcing justice. But when our own “team” flagrantly violates the law, we are perfectly content to ignore and overlook it. It depends only on who has the power to enforce their will without regard for what is right.

When we are no longer willing to live under just law at our own expense, we have entered the jungle. The only question remaining is how long it will take for one of the lions to devour the others and convert our semi-free society into a ruthless dictatorship. Any guesses?

Wade Peeples


His message

I’m sorry, but no. Despite the claim of the July 28 letter “A simple reality,” President Trump’s campaign message wasn’t “It’s the economy, stupid.” His message was, “Build the wall!” His message was, “Lock her up!” His message was, “I’ll get rid of those damn immigrants and Muslims for you.” His message was, “Elect me and I’ll own the libs.” And his voters heard him loud and clear. No take-backsies now!

If his message was about the economy, a quick review of his many failed business enterprises and the high number of lawsuits against him should have been enough to clear the eyes of sober conservatives.

President George W. Bush and the Republicans crashed the economy and President Obama brought it back. Trump’s economy is no better than Obama’s, but he sure knows how to take credit for Obama’s accomplishments.

Robert Quan


Reminder to self

Note to self: The Democrats have convinced me, the Republicans are morons.

Note to self: The Republicans have convinced me, the Democrats are morons.

Note to self: Unless there is a significant change in leadership, to expect the United States to have an economically effective, efficient and responsible government makes me a moron, too!

David Calhoun


In plain sight

You don’t have to really be looking hard to see the evidence of climate change and the resulting impact it is having on our planet. A quick internet search on “climate change impact” yielded 338 million results.

There has been an abundance of scientific evidence to show that the atmospheric CO2 levels have increased significantly in the last 35-40 years and continues to do so. The resulting climate change impact is more than warming temperatures. It has a resulting impact on water resources, precipitation patterns, ecosystems, sea levels and migration, to name a few. At the present, the United States has no coordinated approach to slow and cap the increase of CO2 levels.

One approach outlined by Journal guest columnist Bill Blancato (“Pricing carbon for a positive change,” July 27) is the Energy Innovation Act (H.R.763) introduced in the House of Representatives and co-sponsored by 50 members. This approach would put a price on carbon pollution and distribute back the fees collected to every American via a monthly dividend check.

This is a common sense, market-based approach that does not prescribe a specific solution but will incentivize innovation in CO2 reduction technologies and still protect families financially.

Please ask your representatives to consider this legislation. A solution to help reduce the impact of atmospheric CO2 is in plain sight and our future may depend upon it.

John Gunckel


Vote in the primaries

Did we just change into a legal dictatorship?

Recently, the Supreme Court allowed the president to use funds allocated by Congress in a way specifically denied by Congress. Earlier, the court ruled that federal courts could not interfere with political gerrymandering. So, if executive administrations can disregard laws passed by Congress and can select voters at will, there is nothing to stop them from ruling by decree.

Is this the strategic result desired by Justice John Roberts’ Supreme Court?

It started with allowing unlimited political spending without identifying the spender. Then we heard that no one in our government has the authority to indict, let alone arrest, the president. Why bother with courts if laws can be ignored?

But it doesn’t have to be that way. I think we are still enough of a republic that we can make the changes we need. Our elections still decide who we send to power in our government. We need to use that power to choose people of principle rather than power seekers.

Every vote counts — especially the votes that are not cast. Few elections result in more votes for the winner than those not voted.

But just voting in November will not save us.

Real political control of political parties comes from primary elections. Primaries decide who represents each party and so determines the party’s policies.

Our votes really count in the primary. It is up to us to decide if we want to give up our chance to decide.

Dave Danner Sr.


Immigration solutions

So why did the Republicans not pass new immigration legislation when they had control of all three parts of the government for the previous two years?

So why aren’t the Democrats passing new immigration legislation now in the House that they control?

It seems to me that neither party really wants to pass legislation to change our immigration policy.

To stop the senseless mess at the border, either President Trump or the Democrats could just say, “Hey, pass out green cards to all of them.”

I do support border control, but also realize it has been out of control for the 50 years I have been able to vote. It would seem fair to have quotas, and allow people from many countries the opportunity to come in, not just those who walk and swim.

But first off, let’s be compassionate and make as a priority that we pass legislation to tackle the issue of terrible situations in other countries. A “Marshall Plan” for the Central American countries would seem the way to go.

Robert Geyer

Bermuda Run

Freedom of dissent

During the recent furor over racist tweets and angry responses, we are in danger of forgetting something important: in a democracy it is essential to allow — indeed, welcome — freedom of dissent and the ability to express disagreement with official policies. A true patriot seeks not only the best for her country, but the best from her government, just as good parents want the very best for their children, but expect certain behavior.

True patriots hold elected officials accountable to uphold the highest ideals expressed in our founding documents.

In the Declaration of Independence, our founders insisted that “all men are created equal…with the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” If we believe these noble statements, then it is wrong for our government to create virtual concentration camps to detain those who ask for asylum as they flee violence and chaos. They are coming in keeping with international agreements for granting asylum — agreements we are flouting. We may not grant asylum to them all, but they should be treated with dignity and compassion as they wait, without separating families.

Given that the Constitution declares that our union was established to “promote the general Welfare,” then those citizens asking for a more effective health system and cleaner environment are not “socialists.”

We are all free to disagree over the best policies, but let’s ditch the ugly rhetoric and name-calling. If we limit the freedom of dissent, we may as well say goodbye to living in a genuine democracy.

Dean Clifford


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