The Opinion Shop

Bonus letters on House Bill 2, Medicare, religious freedom, Donald Trump, transgenders

Letters that got overrun by other issues before they could see print:


Enough already, GOP

It’s all a pretense. The normal, regular, everyday Republicans have figured it out. It’s a scam. Republicans have been spouting for years for less government and less tax burden for Americans.

Yet in the March 22 news article “ Vote to void LGBT ordinance expected,” in one fell swoop the Republican state legislators demonstrated they truly are for big government control and reckless spending of our hard-earned money.

Once again they stomped on local governments and threw away money on needless debate.

No wonder Republicans are running to anti-establishment Donald Trump. They are sick of switch and bait.

Rachel Anderson

Chapel Hill


Don’t vote on HB2

Regarding the April 28 news article “ Voter referendum on House Bill 2 possible”: The Republican-controlled General Assembly has created a furor with the passing of HB2 and brought much negative publicity to North Carolina.

Instead of resolving this issue themselves, the legislators are proposing to put the burden of proof on the backs of the citizens with a referendum. Since the GA voted to pass HB2, the legislators should also be the ones to decide its outcome.

Georgie F. Brizendine



Tyranny returns

Aside from the obvious, lately I’ve noticed a recurring, particularly heinous, element to HB2: The absurd proposition that one should carry, and be expected to present, one’s birth certificate in order to use public facilities. The backward fear-mongering that’s feeding this notion would be laughable if it weren’t so frightening.

I believe an enormous event, commonly referred to as World War II, was fought so that we as individuals, as a people, as a nation and as global neighbors (closer now more than ever) could live free of tyranny, on any scale.

That year my granddad spent in one of Hitler’s POW camps wasn’t so his granddaughter, or anyone else, would have to “carry papers” in the United States of America.

Molly Cassidy



The Charlotte law

In his April 17 letter “ Selective outrage from PC elite,” Gov. Pat McCrory stated that the Charlotte nondiscrimination law “mandated that all local businesses and organizations allow men to use a women’s restroom, locker room or shower facility.” This couldn’t be further from the truth.

According to the city of Charlotte FAQ sheet, the ordinance did not apply to a “noncommercial service provider” such as a school or “an organization that engages in expressive activity and sincerely holds a viewpoint that would be substantially burdened in its expression by having to comply with the ordinance, such as a church and associated activities, certain education or day-care providers, certain clubs or associations and certain public policy advocacy groups that are expressive associations.”

Furthermore, “a business may object to a nontransgender person seeking to use a restroom or changing facility for a false reason. A business may require persons who do not have the protected characteristics of gender identity or gender expression to use the appropriate restroom. A business may also report or remove persons who are engaging in criminal activity.”

David Steven Cohen

Chapel Hill


Unrealistic health care

In the interest of clarifying the difference between Medicaid and Medicare: Medicaid in the United States is a social health care program for families and individuals with low income and limited resources.

Medicare provides health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older who have worked and paid into the system. It is not free even after the age 65 nor does it pay total cost of services. Monthly premiums are based on income, and many people purchase supplemental health insurance as well as drug coverage to offset cost of doctors and hospitals. Even with additional coverage, drugs have copays, and not all conditions are covered at all by Medicare so the total cost is borne by the recipient.

To place the total U.S. population under either plan would not be economically realistic.

Maurice N. Courie, M.D.



Christians lacking religious freedoms

Regarding the April 8 editorial “ Mississippi misstep on discrimination,” you stated that “religious beliefs, after all, already have the strongest protection there is, in the Bill of Rights.” This used to be true. Over the past few years, many people have ignored the First Amendment rights of Christians.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s “Obergefell v. Hodges” decision last June only added fuel to the fire. From the legal attacks on businesses such as “Sweet Cakes” to the firing of HGTV’s Benham brothers, Christians are clearly not being protected. In fact, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis was even jailed.

Last year, Chief Justice John Roberts stated that “many good and decent people oppose same-sex marriage as a tenet of faith, and their freedom to exercise religion is – unlike the right imagined by the majority – actually spelled out in the Constitution.” However, Christians are being bullied, sued, fired and jailed simply for not recognizing or participating in same-sex weddings.

For Christians, it is a sin to be involved with any marriage that is not between one man and one woman (same-sex, polygamy, etc.). Therefore, state religious liberty laws are necessary because Christians are being threatened for exercising their religion in public.

Adam Galetti

Wake Forest


Don’t be fooled again by GOP

Independent voters in North Carolina will notice that in signing House Bill 2, “The Public Facilities and Security Act,” Gov. Pat McCrory has disavowed any inclination to be the centrist, moderate governor they thought they might elect when voting for him.

The legislature and the governor have shown, that despite minor differences, they speak with one quite radical voice when it comes to pursuing an agenda of very immoderate policies. There is nothing moderate about denying transgender men and women access to the bathroom.

There is nothing parsimonious in the stewardship of state funds expended to the tune of more than $40,000 to enact unneeded legislation. Neither is there anything civil in denying the rights of voters and LGBT residents and usurping the rights of municipalities, all of which have been pursued during the most disastrous and vindictive legislative terms in memory.

This is not a moderate government at all, and one hopes North Carolina voters will not be fooled in the forthcoming campaign. “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.”

Stephen Jaffe



Behind-closed-door legislation

The actions of the recent special session point to a much more serious threat to all North Carolinians.

That threat is shown in how the General Assembly was able to craft a bill, have it pass both chambers and move on to being signed into law by the governor in a 10-hour period in a single day. This is not the result of a normal democratic process, and there is no way the speed with which this law was crafted could be chalked up to the will of an outraged public.

The session was called with the bill already crafted, with no chance for pre-session review except by those who had crafted it. There was no chance for reasoned debate, no chance for members of the House and Senate to take this bill home and present it to their constituents.

The bill appears to have been crafted by a select few with a set objective in mind and the will and loyal party numbers necessary to pass it.

The outcome was a forgone conclusion, and the special session was just a formality necessitated by our state’s Constitution.

This method of crafting our state’s laws frightens me to the core. It speaks of the power being wielded by a few select party members . It also gives hints of private coordination and perhaps even some strong-arm tactics to ensure that no party members stepped out of line .

George F. Locke



Homophobia run wild

Regarding the March 22 news article “ Vote to void LGBT ordinance expected”: I thought the Republicans were against wasting taxpayer money and more government control. So now they want to waste more by having a special session to overturn a local government ordinance.

How is this not wasting money and more “big government” interference? Do they have any facts to back up their claims to overturn this local ordinance or is it just their homophobic ideas going against the local will of the people?

If they don’t like it, they don’t have to go to Charlotte, and the lucky people in Charlotte won’t have to see these fools!

David Markle



Trump’s experience

David Brooks, in his March 19 column “ No, not Trump, not ever,” said that Donald Trump is “epically unprepared” for the presidency. The logical question raised here is this one: Who is prepared for the presidency?

Trump is a billionaire businessman. He has been in business for 40 years. Trump is also a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

Barack Obama was a community organizer before beginning his career in politics. President George W. Bush was a major league baseball executive before becoming governor of Texas. President Clinton was a career politician before assuming the presidency. President George H.W. Bush was a career politician before winning the White House.

Each one of these men, like Trump, possesses an Ivy league education. Yet they are prepared and Trump isn’t?

The U.S. Constitution is shockingly brief on the qualifications for the job of president. Basically, someone has to be native born and 35 years old. That’s it.

There may well be many reasons to oppose Trump, such as temperament and judgment. However, to suggest that his business experience has somehow not prepared him sufficiently is ludicrous. Do we really think so little of business types? And, conversely, do we really think so well of career political types?

Robert Peele

Rocky Mount


Government overreach

The state legislature will spend $42,000 a day to convene in Raleigh to consider overturning a decision by the Charlotte City Council to allow transgender individuals to use toilets compatible to their sexual orientation.

However objectionable this ordinance is to the rest of us, it was enacted by the duly elected officials of the city of Charlotte, and if change is needed, the people who elected the council members should make the decision at the polls on the next election.

Others, outside of Charlotte, from Manteo to Murphy, should beware that their local ordinances can become targets at the whim of Raleigh. This is democracy?

Frank Read



Power politics pawns

House Bill 2 is a classic “us vs. them” political strategy which enables politicians to rally their base by demonizing their opponents. The searching-for-an-issue law doesn’t actually make North Carolina a better place to live.

The “us vs. them” strategy was used successfully in 2011/12 with N.C. Amendment One to outlaw same-sex marriage. That referendum brought out conservative voters and helped Mitt Romney win North Carolina in the presidential election.

So what, that Mitt lost overall and the law was ruled unconstitutional; the legislative majority and governor got what they wanted – higher Republican turnout, which helped state Republicans and curried favor with the national party.

As a bonus the Republicans reinforce their “activist judiciary” talking point. Does this seem familiar? HB2 demonstrators are in the streets. Our fair state is losing contracts, jobs and respect.

In the end HB2 will be ruled unconstitutional and repealed. The anti-HB2 side will cheer. The pro side will weep. And the politicians will congratulate themselves at using the residents of North Carolina for their own political gain.

That is power politics at its finest. And that’s what it feels like to be a pawn in someone else’s chess game.

Michael Roberson



Bathroom checks

I keep reading more and more about the bathroom law in Charlotte, which the governor and others want to overturn.

Now, if it is overturned, who is going to monitor this? Are we going to have gender police, similar to the “moral police” in Saudi Arabia? Are they going to check under the skirt of every suspected person as he or she enters the restroom? We want to make sure everyone’s safety is taken care of.

Hjordis Tourian