To The Daily Sun,
An open letter to the voters of Alton:
For almost seven years I have had the privilege of serving as a trustee of the Gilman Library here in Alton. I would like voters to know that I have decided not to run for another term, and that in March, voters will have an opportunity to elect a new trustee. This is a time when good people of Alton who love the library need to consider if they, or someone they know, might step forward to run for this position.
It would be wonderful if there were several candidates to choose from. I would encourage anyone who uses and loves our Gilman Library, to consider service to Alton by becoming a candidate for this important elected position. Trustees of the Gilman Library are charged with providing leadership, guidance, maintenance, and support for all aspects of this valuable community resource.
Some of the characteristics which would be welcomed on the board include interests in special programs for teens and young adults, innovative ways to involve volunteers in the library, understanding new developments in technology, and, of course, energy, enthusiasm, and willingness to learn.
In order to become a candidate and have your name on the ballot in March 2015, candidates will have to file with the Town Clerk in January 2015. If you might consider running for the office of Library Trustee, please feel free to call me with your questions, contact another trustee, talk with head librarian Holly Brown, or attend one of our meetings.
Thank you for the honor of serving as Trustee of the Gilman Library.
Last Updated on Friday, 28 November 2014 08:55
To The Daily Sun,
Scott Cracraft lets it be known he's a U.S. citizen, a veteran, and a taxpayer. Thank you for your service, Scott. You're one of millions of us.
Now as to Scott's letter naming the Tea Party as some kind of radical, big lie, fascist-like organization I must respectively disagree. Can't remember any "big lies" told by the TP. I do remember "If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor" and "If you like your insurance you can keep your insurance." And how about that the Benghazi murders were not a terrorist attack but a peaceful demonstration that got out of hand triggered by some anti Muslim YouTube video? As for some who questioned Obama's citizenship is it really unreasonable to question an unknown candidate with few credentials, no accomplishments of note and sealed records? I don't think so, and still wonder why he had to seal all his collage stuff if all is on the up and up?
Obama has proven to be a serial liar over the past few years, which gave rise to the Tea Party whose expressed complaint is they want the law and Constitution followed which they deemed Obama and progressives were not, and there is certainly enough circumstantial evidence to leave the question open to argument. Perfectly reasonable in my opinion, as is their concern over the ever-growing national debt. So what exactly is radical about that Scott?
When has the TP attacked the poor; their only complaint is you liberals are creating thousands and thousands more and with jobs scarce allowing hundreds of thousands more unskilled needy aliens into the country. Compassion is one thing, but destroying the middle class and throwing millions of our own citizens into poverty just for political power is criminal, I think. And yes, that is exactly what Democrats are doing.
Gridlock? Well I guess Scott never heard that 300 bills were passed by the House and sent to the Senate where Harry Reid quashed them, never even allowing them to go to committee for debate. Why, because Harry didn't like them. Okay for Harry and Dems to refuse to pass legislation they don't like but not for Repubs? Get real. Congress is not a rubber stamp for any one party or president.
Tea Party violence? When, where? Now that's just plain bull, Scott. Liberals keep bringing up that red herring every so often even though there is no history of any conservative group resorting to violence unlike left wing mobs and thugs. Even now left-wing agitators are responsible for Ferguson burning and mayhem. Just can't stand the rule of law or that all real evidence supports it was just and right.
All told, it appears to me the left will use any excuse, any lie or distortion to steal power then blame anyone or anything else for the harm it does to those they proclaim they are helping.
Last Updated on Friday, 28 November 2014 08:49
To The Daily Sun,
Some recent letters have made inaccurate and misleading claims about the relationship between religion and government in America.
One writer claimed that the government forbids the teaching of creation. Not true. Creationism can be taught in a class about religions. But it cannot be taught in a science class; because it's not science. It's faith. Virgin birth is not included in a biology course for the same reason. The same letter said that schools "indoctrinate" students in the "theory of evolution." I would hope that evolution is taught in a science class. Students deserve a real education, based on 21st Century knowledge, not something stalled in the 18th Century. Evolution is a "theory" only in the same way gravity is a theory. It's tested, and based on facts and evidence. Those who still don't believe in evolution keep company with those who also believe that the earth is 7,000 years old, that the sun and planets revolve around it, and that if you sail too far west of Hawaii you'll fall off the edge of the world.
Another letter argued that some of the fundamentals of our country like the idea of a democratic republic and the rights of citizens are Christian principles. Actually our founding fathers derived them primarily from Enlightenment ideas, which were, among other things, a response to the authoritarianism of Christian kings and clergy throughout Europe. Christians in power opposed concepts like democracy and freedom of conscience and religion. They saw them as dangerous to their rule. A phrase later used to sum up this attitude was "error has no rights." Those supposed errors included separation of church and state, republicanism, and democracy. Ideals like natural rights and the social contract were not found in the prevailing European Christian theories of government. And so-called Christian principles that are found in our government can be found in the writings of all major religions, non-Christian Greek and Roman philosophy, some native American societies and among people who believe in no religion. They aren't exclusive to Christianity.
The basic problem is the ongoing attempt to peddle the claim that American is a "Christian nation." But the only mention of religion in the Constitution is in Article VI, which prohibits any religious test for holding office, and in the 1st Amendment, which prohibits Congress from passing any "law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting its free exercise..." The Constitution is a "Godless" document by design, and the writers deliberately left the word "God" out of it. They did not believe that America should be a Christian nation governed by the Bible. They believed strongly in the separation of church and state, knowing — given their knowledge of history — that mixing religion and government was a recipe for disaster. Jefferson wrote that "our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinion, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry."
The "Christian nation" argument is also based on the overly broad assertion that the founders and signers of the Constitution were Christians. The majority of them were not traditionalist Christians but were Deists, who believed in the God of the natural world. Many of them did not believe that Jesus was God. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Adams and the rest would have considered today's preachers like Pat Robertson, Bennie Hinn, Tim LeHaye, James Dobson and their ilk to be crazy, or corrupt con men. Or both.
If we use the same shaky logic used by the "Christian nation" apologists, we could just as easily conclude some other falsehoods:
— The founders were all white. Therefore America is a whites-only nation, established upon the principles of racial exclusion.
— The founders were all men. Therefore America is a male-only nation, founded upon the principles of male domination and the exclusion of women from public life.
— Most of these "Christian" founders were slaveholders or supported allowing slavery to continue in the new nation. Therefore America is a slaveholding nation, founded upon the principles of slavery.
The claims that the United States is a Christian nation are based on twisted evidence and logic. They are also often thinly-veiled attempts to turn America into a theocratic country, where religious dogmas replace the Constitution, where our long-established cherished principles are discarded, and where one religious group tries to force everyone to live according to its sectarian creed.
Last Updated on Friday, 28 November 2014 08:43
To The Daily Sun,
In commercialization of Thanksgiving and Christmas due to the penetration of the body politic by the philosophy of secular humanism with this concomitant deleterious effect on the social fabric is one of the deplorable aspects of the times in which we live.
On the other hand, the reluctance of part-time, low-wage, benefit-less retail employees to work the holidays is clearly a Marxist inspired assault on the capitalist system and the American way of life.
Last Updated on Friday, 28 November 2014 08:39
In covering the violence engulfing Ferguson, Missouri, media routinely cite the following numbers to explain the frustration of the minority community there: Ferguson's population is two-thirds African-American, yet the mayor, five of the six City Council members and nearly the entire police force are white.
But there are other numbers. In the municipal election held last year, 52 percent of the voters were white — in a city, to repeat, that is 67 percent black.
The first set of numbers is related to the second.
Clearly, what we are calling a minority population is a majority. If most of Ferguson's eligible African-American voters feel that the city government treats them unfairly, they have a simple remedy: They can elect a different city government.
Black city leaders have made this case, but their message has been lost in the drama of downtown burning and looting. Chaos afflicted this city in August after a white police officer fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American. Chaos has descended again after a grand jury declined to indict the officer involved.
In between was a midterm election, in which only 42 percent of registered Ferguson voters turned out to cast ballots for the powerful office of St. Louis County executive. This participation was actually 10 percentage points below that of the previous midterm in 2010.
In the midterm elections nationally, blacks, Latinos, young people, single women and other generally progressive voting groups failed to show up in large numbers. Older white people did.
Of course, calls for civic participation are hard-pressed to compete for attention with the world's news cameras looking for excitement. The Ferguson rioters — a crowd no doubt swelled by opportunists of all variety — are not leaving much to save. When the action ends, the cameras will depart.
The purpose here is not to second-guess the grand jury's decision. There were highly conflicting witness reports of what happened.
Nor is the purpose to advocate voting along racial (or ethnic) lines. Voters will ideally cast their ballots for candidates deemed most capable of serving their needs.
Nor must a police force perfectly reflect the racial makeup of a population, though, it must be said, Ferguson's imbalance seems extreme. But again, Ferguson's black community can change this situation by electing officials sensitive to their concerns.
It's true that Ferguson's municipal elections schedule doesn't encourage turnout. These elections take place in April, far from the traditional voting day in November. They also occur in non-presidential years, when turnout by minorities and young people traditionally drops. In the most recent municipal election, only 12 percent of registered voters — white, black or otherwise — cast ballots. Voters can change those dates.
This poor showing frustrates civic-minded African-Americans advocating change in a normal, nondestructive way.
"Every time there's an election, we have to show up," Patricia Bynes, a local black Democratic official, told Reuters. "I don't care if we are voting what color the trash cans are. We need to show up."
At Brown's funeral, a family member called on mourners to make themselves heard at the polls. But only 204 residents of Ferguson registered to vote from the time of the fatal shooting to the Oct. 8 registration deadline for voting this year — only 204 in a city of 21,000 people.
And as pollsters keep reminding us, what determines the end result isn't how many people register to vote. It's how many registered voters actually come to the polls on Election Day.
This can't be said often enough. The power that matters in Ferguson — and everywhere else — is exercised in the voting booth.
(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)
Last Updated on Friday, 28 November 2014 08:24