Pledge is not nationalistic
A recent news article noted some comments by Durham City Councilwoman Jillian Johnson regarding the Pledge of Allegiance. (N&O, Sept. 30)
Ms. Johnson noted she is “not religious” and also is “not a nationalist. I don’t have a strong sense of national identity” so she doesn’t believe she’s “compelled to recite a pledge that is a nationalistic statement.” She claims she’s “not taking a particular stand,” but she won’t recite the pledge.
It’s not Ms. Johnson’s atheism that bothers me. Freedom to worship (or not ) as one pleases is guaranteed under our country’s Constitution. However, her statement the pledge is a nationalistic statement is very disturbing.
Without the freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to our Constitution, Ms. Johnson would not have the ability to speak her mind or participate in public protest as she did this year while objecting to constructing a new headquarters for Durham’s police department. I wonder if Ms. Johnson has given serious thought to the meaning of both the Bill of Rights or the privilege of being a United States citizen. I wonder if Ms. Johnson appreciates the freedoms she has.
If Ms. Johnson thinks the pledge is a”nationalistic statement” perhaps she should find another country where she would be comfortable living, and perhaps city of Durham residents should consider initiating a recall petition for her council seat.
Mark G. Rodin
Burr ads twist truth
There’s a saying: Never wrestle a pig. You get dirty, and the pig likes it.
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr is a case in point. Burr’s campaign and his Super-PAC allies are flooding the TV airwaves with dishonest ads that try to dupe voters into believing that opponent Deborah Ross opposed the state’s sex-offender registry.
There’s no twisting of words that would make this true.
As an advocate, Ross sought to protect the privacy of victims of sexual assault and to prevent these heinous crimes from occurring. As a legislator, she voted several times to strengthen and update the state’s sex-offender registry.
In his previous campaigns and in Washington, Burr regularly distorts the truth for partisan advantage. He’s taking his cue from Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a notoriously dirty campaigner and fellow champion for plutocracy.
Burr has a lot of nerve in using this page of the mudslinging campaign playbook. He’s voted against funding for the federal sex-offender registry.
It is my sincere belief that North Carolina voters can see past Burr’s smoke screen and choose a better path for our state and nation.
State Sen. Floyd B. McKissick Jr.
The writer, a Democrat, represents N.C. District 20.
Ned Barnett’s column on the “quiet” U.S. Senate race between Richard Burr and Deborah Ross (N&O, Sept. 18) begs the question: Do voters underestimate its importance?
Our Senate makes momentous decisions affecting every U.S. taxpayer and shaping world events. For one thing, senators strongly influence foreign policy. Since 9/11, foreign policy has been militarized with budget-busting consequences. A study from Brown University shows that our post-9/11 wars have cost us $4.7 trillion. War should be a last resort only after patient and savvy diplomacy, dependable intelligence, and international cooperation have failed.
Unfortunately, this has not been Burr’s approach. Burr voted against the START treaty with Russia and tried to scuttle the Iran nuclear agreement. As chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he has tried to cover up the CIA report on torture. He supports Donald Trump, who has called for “waterboarding and worse” with no apparent regard for its effect on recruiting more enemies.
Voters need to look carefully at candidates for Senate or we will continue to pay dearly with endless wars and endless deficits.
What do you propose?
Regarding Carl Kenney’s column “In places where we don’t belong” (DN, Oct. 5)
I visited the South in the late ’30s and early ’40s and the deep South in the early in the ’60s. Very clearly there was much strong anti-black racism and blacks were greatly economically suppressed, and the effects still linger. I am currently reading/studying “The War On Cops’’ and FBI statistics. Are you?
Whatever all the causes, black-on-black violent crime and murder rates are much higher than those of Asians on Asians and higher than whites on whites, etc.
Do you think the massive legal and illegal immigration rates (very roughly 1.2 million in the last 12 months) suppress black job opportunities? Do you agree that President Obama has encouraged these rates? Do you agree that many powerful Democrat and GOP politicians encouraged these rates? Do you think lower minimum-wage rates would “create” jobs for young black males?
Very sadly many black youths live under welfare and have little to do. Do you think this increases the crime rates? What do you propose doing?
James B Smith
Alas, the creek did rise
We were sad to cancel last Saturday’s Ellerbe Creek Nature Tour due to unsafe weather conditions from Hurricane Matthew.
Thank you to all of the amazing volunteers who worked so hard to plan this great event.
Thank you to the Nature Tour sponsors, without whose support this event would never have been possible: Our PlayHouse Preschool and Kindergarten, Durham Family Medicine, Westside Animal Hospital, Durham Coca-Cola, Remax Realtor Nancy Rizzo, Pelican’s SnoBalls, and Sky Zone Durham.
While Hurricane Matthew forced us to cancel last weekend’s tour, it will not stop ECWA from holding Creek Smart tours or opening our newest preserve, The Rocks, later this fall. We look forward to holding more events in the future that show Durham the beautiful Ellerbe Creek and the important work that ECWA is doing to protect it.
The writer is education and outreach coordinator and CTNC AmeriCorps Service Member for the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association
McCrory’s narrow view
A distinction of importance for the state of North Carolina is that it has the first public university of our nation. A university which is one that holds high regard for the quality and breadth of the education available from our many branches throughout North Carolina.
Does our Gov. Pat McCrory value this? Does he get it that this is a value recognized far and wide in our nation?
NO. He is intent on undermining this well established fine institution along with the crucial education needs of the younger students preparing for higher education. His is a narrow view and a dangerously unskilled approach to building our state and maintaining the areas of strength we have already established and upon which we can build even greater programs.
The growth of North Carolina absolutely depends on a basic understanding of these important keys to our future.
Millennial votes matter
Regarding the Sept. 24 news article “When will millennials start liking Hillary?”: Millennials are cited as being dissatisfied with the political system.
Their concerns are valid: institutionalized racism, stringent abortion restrictions, lack of living wages and unregulated banks and corporations. These issues have continuously plagued our country, and while there has been progress, it moves slowly and is not equal.
So, for those who are milliennials, what’s the best way to stand up for what they believe? Some believe it’s a vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson. Some believe it’s staying home on Election Day. Our country has been there, done that.
In 2000, votes for third-party candidate Ralph Nader elected George W. Bush. His Supreme Court nominees gave us Citizens United and overturned parts of the Voting Rights Act. We began the Iraq war. Financial deregulation led to the 2008 crash.
When 40 percent of America will vote for a man who spews racism and sexism, incites violence and believes climate change is a hoax, no one can afford to throw away a vote in protest. Every vote matters. Our system may be imperfect, but don’t allow disillusionment to lead to disengagement.
Elana Jaffe and Mindy Oshrain
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