Letters, Dec. 3

Dec 02, 2012

Don’t glorify killing

To the editor,

I usually enjoy reading The Mountaineer, but I’m darned if I’m not getting sick of opening up the paper and soon being confronted with a large picture of a murdered (yes, I said murdered) animal-said murder having been committed by a child no less, followed by a long article with all the gory details. The father has been training the child since young childhood for this despicable act.

People, this is not an accomplishment. It is simply a crying shame that animals cannot live in peace in the wild. And don’t give me the old standard comeback of “people have been killing and eating animals for thousands of years, blah, blah, blah.” Yes, pioneers, Native Americans, etc. did have to survive on wild meat, but I said survive.

I doubt seriously that the child and his family would have gone to bed hungry or not been able to survive that night or any other if they hadn’t had bear meat.

Can we not teach our children about the beauty of nature and about kindness to all God’s creatures?

I say “for shame “ on the ones committing the acts and on The Mountaineer for printing (glorifying?) that as news.

Jean Long




Confederate flag is not a flag of traitors

To the editor:

A recent letter on this page asserted that the Confederate flag was a “flag of traitors.” This is the sort of anachronistic nonsense regularly put forward by those for whom disagreement is not complete unless it also involves demonizing their opponents.

Until the late unpleasantness established a more novel Federal view, secession from the Union – regardless of the grounds on which it was justified – was considered a right of each state.

This was view was held by mainstream constitutional scholars, including one Pennsylvania Quaker who wrote a textbook used to instruct West Point cadets during the time in which many future generals, both Union and Confederate, were there.

Until force of arms turned Union war propaganda into precedent, the legitimacy of secession was an acceptable political and legal opinion for any American, Northern, Southern, or Western. When the southern states seceded and formed their own confederacy — using the exact principles used to justify the original Declaration of 1776 — they understood that to be their natural political right.

The idea that a citizen of one sovereign nation can commit treason against another is nonsense, and everybody at the time knew it.

After the war, when treason prosecutions were contemplated against Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis, Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase (a former member of Lincoln’s cabinet) advised the Johnson administration that, were the case to reach the Supreme Court (which it most assuredly would have) that body might well have to rule that secession was not treason as defined by law. The prosecution was not pursued.

The Confederate flag may be rightly considered the flag of a lost cause. It may be arguably considered the flag of a bad cause, or of a cause which, whatever its constitutional legitimacy, had a fatal moral flaw at its center.

It is most certainly a flag under which -— no less than the Union banner — brave Americans fought, suffered and died for what they conceived as “the right, as God gave [them] to see the right.” Whatever it is, though, it is not the flag of traitors.

Samuel Edwards



Campaigns underscored flaws in Supreme Court ruling

To the editor:

There are few games in which it’s legal for two or more opponents to gang up on a lone foe.

One that comes to mind is professional wrestling, which, as everyone knows, is all an act: staged sound and fury that matters nothing.

Another, regrettably, is American politics, which matters greatly.

Much of the propaganda that influenced Haywood County voters on November 6 came not from two particular candidates or from their party, but from a secretive national lobby, Americans for Prosperity.

Americans for Prosperity devoted plenty of money to the re-election of State Sen. Jim Davis and to Michele Presnell’s surprising defeat of Rep. Ray Rapp.

How much money? We’ll never know, because Americans for Prosperity isn’t required to tell North Carolina what it spends--or where it comes from. On the national scale, however, it informed the Wall Street Journal that it planned to spend $130-million. It claims 2.1-million active members but it’s a safe bet that much of the money came from its founders, the radically conservative Koch brothers, Charles and David, who own Georgia-Pacific and other industries.

In flooding Haywood mailboxes with flyers extolling Davis and Presnell, AFP took advantage of U.S Supreme Court footnotes and legal loopholes that say it isn’t electioneering material if it doesn’t use certain “magic words” such as “elect,” “vote for,” “support,” “reject,” or “cast your ballot for.”

The tax laws are likewise willfully blind: they consider AFP and similar lobbies to be “social welfare organizations.”

In the real world, of course, a flyer praising Davis’s politics and urging, “Stay Strong, Jim,” is just as much a campaign ad as the ones in which Davis himself slammed former Sen. John Snow.

Even in their worst rulings on campaign finance, most of the Supreme Court justices have conceded the public’s power to require full disclosure of all election spending.

But it hasn’t happened. Thus, American politics has become as tawdry as pro wrestling.

Martin A. Dyckman