After reading UNC-CH associate Professor Mark Driscoll’s piece (“We should salute student activists protesting Silent Sam at UNC,” Dec. 18) equating the Silent Sam controversy with the German occupation of France and the civil-rights movement in the US, I worry about his sense of proportion, not to mention what he is teaching his students. Also, anyone who ties UNC President Margaret Spellings to the sentiments of BOG member Thom Goolsby is obviously not so hot at research either.
So the pricey development of the Biddle estate can’t come up with any funds for Durham Public Schools or the affordable housing fund (“Duke family estate will be developed into high-end, expensive townhouses,” Dec. 19)? Where’s the balance here? Yes, we need denser housing in Durham, but we also have many other needs: appropriately funded schools and affordable homes top the list. Unfortunately, Durham continues to cater to the rich at the expense of everyone else.
More ID issues
I contacted NCDMV today to try to resolve an issue with different versions of my name on the documents required for a REAL ID after reading someone else’s letter to the editor (“ID issues,” Dec. 2) about this potential problem. The agent I talked with was very pleasant and took the matter to his supervisor. But because on some documents I am a “Jr.” and my social security card does not include the “Jr.” and has only my middle initial, I will probably not be able to obtain a REAL ID. It would be extraordinarily difficult, if indeed even possible, to go about changing all these documents so that they match perfectly. There should be some simple mechanism to resolve situations like this, as I expect that I and the other writer are not the only persons who find themselves in this plight.
In this season of joy and blessing, when we remember Mary and Joseph and Jesus, let us welcome the immigrant. Rather than talk about strengthening the wall (“A government shutdown is looming, but you may hardly notice,” Dec. 17), let’s work for an immigration policy that supports asylum seekers and strengthens economic development in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Let us stop supporting a border patrol that dumps out water left for thirsty immigrants in the desert. As people of faith, we are called to welcome the stranger and to give support and loving kindness to those in need. It is long past time to close the internment camps for children! Come on folks. We are better than this. Tell Congress and President Trump to follow the law and provide a hearing for those who seek asylum.
Gail S Phares
Not worth it
Re “Prayer and protests over Silent Sam on Sunday, a graduation day for some UNC students,” Dec. 16: Just put it in a museum. It’s not worth the energy or the resources to maintain it. There are real problems that demand our attention (i.e. education reform, climate change, stagnant wage growth, and so forth). Additionally, we should not force anyone to live in the shadow of the past. I also think supporters of the monument are coming close to idolatry. I mean praying for its return speaks to a spiritual reverence rather than a healthy respect for history.
The controversy over the Silent Sam statue seems to forget who Silent Sam really was. The only thing for certain is that those doing the protesting never fought in a war. Having served in Vietnam, I never heard a soldier or sailor say he was fighting for any special political cause. They fought because that was what they were trained to do.
Most of the UNC students that joined the Confederate army were never a part of slavery. They were just young kids that happened to live in the South. In fact, if the same young men had lived in the North, they would have joined the Union army for the same reasons. However, once the bullets start flying the average soldier realizes he is nothing more than a pawn in someone’s political game.
It is a shame that Julian Carr made the remarks that he did at the statue’s dedication. The remarks have become the controversy rather than the statue itself. The Civil War is over, slavery is over, let’s remember Silent Sam for who he was; a young student lost in a controversial war.