ANDY G. MILLER, Kernersville

Blaming the media

I’ve voted for only two Republicans in my entire life: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. I won’t vote for Chris Christie, either. However, until his March 6 speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, I had thought that Christie and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg were about the only two reasonable Republicans left.

In his speech, Christie contrasted accomplishments of state governors, such as himself, with the dysfunction in Washington. Of course, he neglected to mention that Republicans and tea partiers, hell-bent on proving that positive government cannot work, have manufactured almost every bit of that Washington dysfunction. And who does he think keeps Republicans in control of that Vaudeville farce, the U.S. House, if not gerrymandering Republican state legislators and state governors?

Then Christie blamed the media for Republicans’ problems. Today’s media do have their shortcomings, like the fact that they think that if they say more bad things about Hitler than they do about FDR, then that means they’re biased. The media has turtle-stepped and tip-toed around Republicans and the mess they have made of Washington and the country, always careful to uphold the highest standards of the non-journalism the media calls “balanced reporting.” Besides, no one has more cynically exploited the media than have Republicans, a fact Christie is certainly smart enough to recognize.

Two things are certain: As long as he denies responsibility, Christie can change nothing. Not in Washington, or anywhere else. And blaming the media is the last refuge of a loser.

DR. JAMES S. CAMPBELL, Pfafftown

Make marijuana legal

If President Obama is serious about being "My Brother's Keeper," he needs to write an executive order to make marijuana legal at the federal level. An inordinate number of state and federal drug prisoners are black or Hispanic, reflecting the racist enforcement of drug laws in the U.S. (Studies show drug use is proportionally equal across all races - about 10 percent.)

Just think of the tens of thousands of children of color growing up without a father because of long "mandatory minimum" prison sentences for possessing marijuana. The stereotype of the absent and irresponsible black father is made much worse because of the racist application of our drug laws - first convict young black men of a victimless felony, incarcerate them for years, deny them employment and voting rights when they get released because of their prison records, and then accuse them of irresponsibility because they cannot support their families! Meanwhile, most whites get a pass for drug possession - perhaps a fine and some community service.

U.S. drug prohibition laws have become the new Jim Crow laws for racial oppression. It's about time the country ended this racially-based injustice.

“My Brother’s Keeper” is the name of a new federal initiative to provide greater opportunities for young black and Hispanic men.” – the editor.

MICHELLE LANDE HUGHES, Winston-Salem

A major overhaul

The state’s mental-health system needs a major overhaul. Everyone knows it, but little is being done.

Mental-health advocates know that one of the main obstacles to fixing the problem is to erase the stigma. More needs to be done to raise awareness and let people know that it is OK to get help.

We need to educate people so that they will recognize signs in themselves preventing emergencies and tragedies.

U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy has introduced mental-health legislation. It's unfortunate that even advocates can't decide if it is good or bad. Therefore, once again, most likely nothing will change.

We don't need bills passed or mismanaged money to fix the broken mental-health system. We need those with mental illnesses respected and their voices heard.

We need those people who make the decisions as to how and where the money is spent to put the needs of the people they serve their top priority. People should not have to wait for treatment resulting in trips to the ER or worse. I think that the taxpayer's dollars are not being spent wisely and it needs to be evaluated.

There needs to be accountability. Where is it going to come from? Who is going to hold the people who are making the decisions responsible? I think that the people in the community need to do it. However, what power do we really have? I, as someone with a mental illness and a citizen, don't think I have any.

When You Write

The Journal encourages readers’ comments. To participate in The Readers’ Forum, please submit letters online to Letters@wsjournal.com. Please write “The Readers’ Forum” in the subject line and include your full name, address and a daytime telephone number. Or you may mail letters to: The Readers’ Forum, P.O. Box 3159, Winston-Salem, NC 27102. Letters are subject to editing and may be published on journalnow.com. Letters are limited to 250 words. Letter writers are allowed one letter every 30 days, but writers may respond to “Sum It Up” every week.

If you would like a photo of yourself included with your letter, send it to us as a .jpg file.

For more guidelines and advice on writing letters, go to journalnow.com/opinion/submit_a_letter.

The Journal welcomes original submissions for guest columns on local, regional and statewide topics. Essay length should not exceed 750 words. The writer should have some authority for writing about his or her subject. Our email address is: Letters@wsjournal.com. Essays may also be mailed to: The Readers' Forum, P.O. Box 3159, Winston-Salem, NC 27102. Please include your name and address and a daytime telephone number.

Load comments