The first time I read one of Vic Corey’s letters I was on a security sector reform assignment in Ukraine. That evening I joined an Irish colleague for a beer on the patio of the Ukraina Hotel in central Kyiv. The patio overlooks the Maidan, the sprawling plaza where tens of thousands of Ukrainians rose up against a corrupt, Russian-backed regime during the 2014 Revolution of Dignity.
With that setting as inspiration, my Irish friend asked how Americans became so partisan and divided. I pulled up Corey’s “God-sent-Trump” letter on my phone, and explained, with much embarrassment, that Corey represented the views of a vocal minority of Americans.
My colleague was appalled. He served in the Irish security services during the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland. He experienced, first hand, how religious-political sectarianism destroys lives and erodes civil society.
The U.S. has been fighting wars abroad against religious extremism for 20 years. Yet many Americans don’t recognize religious extremism here in our own homeland.
I don’t see any difference between radical Christian and Islamic extremists. Both seek to erode our constitutional freedoms and human rights in favor of their perverse, delusional zealotry.
Men of Corey’s ilk seem to forget our Forefathers rejected the notion that rulers were anointed by God, and fought for the concept that chief executives derive power from the people.
Thanks to radical Christian extremists, far-right fascists and hapless celebrity-worshiping bumpkins, our four-year experiment in Banana-Republicanism has ended in catastrophe. And now we stand on the brink of becoming another Northern Ireland or Ukraine.
For the sake of our nation, our children and grandchildren, reject extremism in all its destructive forms. It’s each of our responsibilities as citizens to demand competent leadership, professional governance and rule of law.
This is in response to a reader’s Jan. 20 request to cancel opinions by Vic Corey. Let me start by saying I am not supporting him nor anyone else, I am however supporting freedom of speech. There is a lot I hear and see that I disagree with, but that is simply my opinion and does not give me the right to say cancel them or refuse to let them speak. We set a dangerous precedent when we try to shut down voices that don’t agree with us. The contributor said “I believe in free speech” but don’t let him speak. It doesn’t work that way, to practice our freedoms we must also be willing to allow others to practice theirs. We don’t have to like what they say any more than they have to like what we say, but in America, everyone deserves a voice.
Tell the truth
“Truth be told, I was no hero; but I served with some real heroes.” This remark by one of my fellow Vietnam War vets connotes honesty, humility and sincerity. The use of the words, “Truth be told …” at the beginning of a spoken sentence says, to me, that what follows will be not so much a confession as an admission of reality.
From time to time we all are tempted to fight reality. We build cocoons of self-delusion in order to avoid facing plain reality. I, for one, have done just this on several occasions during my 77 years of struggling to cope with the vicissitudes of life in the real world. Eventually, though, I have come around to admitting the truth to myself.
Truth, to some folks, is what they want to believe — not the other way around. In order for our society to be able to heal itself from the wounds it has incurred during the past four years, we must all resolve to accept, yea embrace, plain reality. In the words of my sainted mother, “Always tell the truth; then you don’t have to remember what you said.” Our first job is to tell ourselves the truth. Then we should encourage others to do the same. Can do. Must do!
The truth is plain
If astronomers, peering into our galaxy, observe a body moving in a regular elliptical orbit around nothing, through Newton’s laws of motion they precisely infer that it is not in orbit around nothing. They may not be able to see the object at the focus of the elliptical orbit, but they can calculate its precise location and even its mass. They don’t have to see it to know it’s there.
When we observe things here on earth happening in precisely controlled pathways, it is not necessary to actually see the body controlling the motion in order to know exactly where and what it is.
When we watched Dominion voting machines and equipment across the entire nation all shut off at the same moment on election night, and only re-emerge hours later, all behaving in a different pattern, it’s no “unfounded conspiracy theory” to conclude that some unseen force has precisely controlled this behavior. This is an absolute certainty, and cannot be dismissed as “right wing propaganda” or “lies.” No matter how many courts adamantly refuse to allow such evidence to be presented, they do not thereby prove the absence of forensic evidence.
When quantitative forensic examination of individual Dominion election equipment establishes precisely when and how it manipulated election results, to dismiss this evidence as “anti-democratic sedition” constitutes a lie, no matter how often it is repeated. When machines reveal that they switched votes by tens of thousands from one candidate to another in a synchronized instant, outright denial of the forensic evidence does not negate its existence.
Repeatedly insisting that no such thing ever happened, and that anyone who says it did is an “enemy of the people,” is never truth, no matter how often the outright lie is repeated, or how many organizations proclaim it.
Guy E. Miller
Your truth, mine
Imagine (temporarily) that you and I are involved in establishing a policy to control rabbits in a very important meadow. As part of research designed to guide the policy, a photograph is taken of the meadow at dusk, when rabbits emerge to graze.
Scrutinizing the photograph, you discern a rabbit at the far end of the meadow. You conclude, “With only one rabbit showing up, there doesn’t seem to be a problem.” I say, “No, no! There are twenty rabbits in the meadow, there and there and there.” You say, “But those things you are pointing to are small shrubs, not rabbits.” I say, “You are ignoring the overwhelming evidence of ears on those rabbits.” You say, “But look at the enlargements of the picture. Clearly those are not ears; they are branches.”
I say, “Well, you have photoshopped the rabbits to look like shrubs.” You say, “But consider this photo’s ‘exif’ file. Every digital photo has such a file that identifies all technical actions that the photo has undergone. This file shows no changes made to the image. Anyway, the photo was printed directly from the camera.” I say, “This conspiracy has grown way more than I imagined! You have schemed with the camera company and the printer company to make this picture!”
You say, “That’s foolish. The Rabbit Policy Committee has investigated all evidence and determined that the meadow is safe from too many rabbits.” I say, “You snowflake deceiver! These are deep rabbits! Deep rabbits! In the meadow during the day, I feel thousands of piercing eyes; at night, I sense millions of silent movements! The meadow must be burned!”
You say ...
I’m simply amazed The DR chose to print a letter from an obviously disturbed individual named Robert Tyson in your Jan. 19 letters to the editor. Tyson uses Scripture to make a point but neglects the underlying falsehoods of his argument. I will not bore you as much as he nor will I attempt to twist Scripture like he does to make a point. Mr. Tyson, answer me this, you obviously support the killing of 3 million unborn children a year yet you accuse me of following Satan in an attack against our country. You sir are a very disturbed individual. This newspaper has my address and if you’d like I’ll meet you in any parking lot in Pitt County. How dare you call me a follower of Satan because I believe in President Trump. Just let me know Robert, I can’t wait.
Sticks and stones
I figured I had better complete this letter before I lose that chromosome and become a fence post.
Why do some people have to attack people they don’t agree with? Everyone is entitled to have an opinion. Think about it. What would the world look like if every person thought the same way. Boring! Attacking each other does not change anything. Look at the riots over the summer and the attack on the Capitol. All of this heartache and property damage has changed nothing.
I was attacked about one of my letters because an assumption was made that since I think the America people should be placed at the top of our government policies, or first, I was obviously a Trump supporter. This also leads me to believe the writer believes non-Trump supporters don’t put America first. Of course, that’s ridiculous. I am no politician’s supporter. I am a United States of America supporter. I wish we could do without politicians. Politicians like to say they care about the American people but a number of them have shown the only American people they care about are themselves.
As far as restoring America as a leader in the world, America never lost that status. We continue to lead the world in borrowing money so it can be sent to other countries leaving America’s future generations to pay it back. We are sending the country (Pakistan) that harbored Osama bin Laden for years, $10 million, while sending Americans $600 to help folks affected by China. So much for honoring the Americans killed on 9-11-01.
Ed Diehl III
The path forward
Finally we see a clear path forward, a path of equality, a path of sharing, and a path of reaching across the aisle and talking to each other ... unless we are simply moving from one group in power to another. The coming days will see if those of us who have praised the coming of the new administration will see simply power shifting, not sharing.
We are a nation of differences, differences that make us all strong, bricks in a wall, one failing not taking the wall down. Do we build a wall or go on as we have for the past four years of indecision, personal attacks, violence against our democracy, each brick not wanting to part of the wall?
A piece of us is finally part of us, sitting in our government as it should have been. That piece will fail just as any other piece will fail ... often but not always. We are human and any human enterprises fail. Will we build on the knowledge we gain from our failures or like spoiled children simply point fingers at each other?
We should expect this government of Democrats to fail at times just as governments of Republicans have often failed. Let’s move forward, all of us, learning from those failures. Or die a young nation torn apart by spoiled children demanding their way is the only way.
Frederic W. Whitehurst