Your views: June 25, 2020

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No humor found in writers comments


Last week’s newspaper had an editorial from Tom Thomas with a ‘’tasteless’’ joke where our names were used. This was totally inappropriate and published without our permission.

Joe and Kerry Bowler


A humble apology

Sometimes there’s nothing to say except I made a mistake and I’m sorry.

I’m saying that to Joe and Kerri Bowler this week.

In the June 18 issue, the Progress ran a tongue in cheek letter in which the couples’ names were printed as in attempted joke.

It infuriated and embarrassed them and looking back I can understand why.

As an experienced publisher/editor, I used poor judgment in printing their names. I should have re- moved the names or called to get permission to print them as I routinely do.

I won’t make matters worse by repeating what was said verbatim, but I want
to make it clear, while the writer intended it as a joke, the events described in the letter did not occur.

The Bowlers did not go to a lingerie store in Asheville nor did the ensuing description of the conversation between them occur.

Knowing the writer, I’m sure he meant no harm
and thinks the world of this couple. It wasn’t his, but ultimately my responsibility to ensure what is printed on the pages of our newspaper is respectful of all concerned — including Joe and Kerri.

The opinion pages are meant to be a place where our community can come together and debate issues, express concerns, be grateful and tell people thanks for supporting their endeavors. It will continue to be just that.

In our world today, especially on social media, it can feel like there is no soul behind the hateful, tasteless comments. I don’t want to contribute to that. There
is a soul here behind my keyboard and this old soul apologizes for that lapse in judgment.

Becky Long / Clay County Progress Publisher


Writer issues apologies for what he considered joke

It was brought to my attention that my letter in last weeks paper deeply offended some people that I have considered friends for many years. This was never my intent. I want to apologize to Joe and Kerry Bowler for writing what I did. Kerry had said that she always enjoyed the articles that I wrote because they made her laugh so what I wrote was simply a joke and nothing reflecting on their personal life. 

Also if they had ever told me anything about their personal life I definitely would not have put it in the paper. So again I want to apologize and say how sorry I am that I embarrassed you.

Tom Thomas


An invitation to pray for our nation

Recent events and current activities give us all a lot to be concerned about. Whether the virus, the protests, the discrimination, the politics, the violence, the uncertainty, the unemployment, the economy or whatever; each one affects us all. How and how much they impact us depends on our individual circumstances, perspectives and frame of reference. But they are all very real.

Even in our quiet little Hayesville, we have many different opinions. That’s the way it should be. That’s why we live here. Living here, we certainly can’t relate to or fully appreciate the benefits and challenges of life elsewhere, especially in the major metropolitan areas seeing so much strife at this time. One thing we can all absolutely agree on, is that things are a mess and a lot of families and people nationwide are hurting.

I propose one simple thing. Although we may have very different thoughts, opinions and answers as to how things “should be” or what should be done to “fix it,” we believers will likely agree that our answers and solutions are not the same as God’s answer. He alone knows the end before the beginning. His solution is the one that lasts and delivers peace and justice to all.

I invite all of Clay County, and anyone else, to join me and others on the town square at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 25 to pray for God’s will to bring peace to our nation. I am a Christian man and I know without a doubt we cannot do this without His help. I’m not a preacher, a great speaker, leader or anything else. I’m just a local guy and I know we need help.

This gathering has a single goal. To pray for God’s will, whatever that is, to bring lasting peace and stability to our great nation. It will not be a debate, it will not be a discussion of our individual opinions, it will not be a demonstration. This gathering is not sponsored by or affiliated with any organization, movement or anything else. This is my personal invite to gather in prayer. Not for my solution, or yours, but for God’s will. I invite you to add your voice in prayer and I ask that this single goal be respected by all who attend. It’s not that I don’t respect or care about anyone’s individual thoughts, ideas or opinions, but this gathering is for the sole purpose of seeking God’s will. I will have a PA system (although it may well consist of my granddaughter’s karaoke machine) and will invite anyone who wishes to add or lead words of prayer to join me.

Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them, Matthew 18:20. As always, God has the answer and it’s there for the asking. Please join me in asking.

In case of dangerous weather on Thursday evening the prayer will move to Truett Baptist church.

Paul Rohs


Bible tells us 'Do not stand by idly'

From conversations I’ve had with folks I know in town, it’s clear to me that there’s a lot of confusion about what’s going on in our country today and it’s reflected in some of the letters printed in the Progress last week.

To start with, many folks don’t understand why the killing of George Floyd has upset so many people, but I challenge anyone to view the videos of ex-police officer Derek Chauvin mashing Floyd’s face to the ground as he pleaded for his life — and not be upset. Floyd was handcuffed, lying on his stomach, not resisting anyone — how could he — with Chauvin kneeling with his full weight on Floyd’s neck, another officer sitting on his legs, another pressing down on his back. Chauvin taunted Floyd while he pleaded for his life, at last calling out for his mother as he lapsed into unconsciousness. He didn’t move after that, but Chauvin continued to compress Floyd’s neck for almost three more minutes.

If you are struggling to understand why there are demonstrations all over the country, in big cities and in small towns like ours, by folks of all races, religions, nationalities — white, black, young, old, Democrats and Republicans — you need to start by watching the video of Floyd’s killing.

When you protest that “all lives matter,” I challenge you to watch the videos of Daniel Shaver in 2016 being shot with an AR-15 at close range – five times. Shaver, unarmed, wearing only gym shorts, literally crawling, begging not to be killed. Look up Thomas Connelly. “Blue lives matter” you say? Sgt. Connelly took his own life just months after fatally shooting a suspect during a deadly standoff. Do blue lives matter enough to pay police adequately? To give them the best training possible? To limit their having to deal with situations that they should not be expected to deal with? To support them when they need our help?

Two of the four officers involved in George Floyd’s killing were in their first week as Minneapolis police officers. Even if they are acquitted of aiding and abetting in Floyd’s alleged murder, they’ve lost their jobs and will probably be haunted by what they did and didn’t do that day.

What should they have done? If you truly believe what the Bible says, then Leviticus 19:16 tells us. You must not stand by idly while your neighbor’s blood is being shed. That is our responsibility, too and it’s why people are protesting all over the country.

While surveys show that more Democrats support the protests than Republicans, it should surprise no one that a majority of Republicans actually support the goals of the protests. That’s true for masks as well. If you get your news from entertainers on only one radio and TV network you will be surprised to learn that most Republicans actually believe we should be wearing masks in public to help us combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

None of this is easy or simple. You cannot truly understand anything about what’s happening in our country and in the world if you don’t make an effort — and it does require an effort — to learn about it. Reuters, BBC, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, LA Times, The Atlantic, NPR, Snopes, The Economist, The Week, PBS, C-Span, The AP, and yes, Fox and more. It’s there on the web and in our terrific local library.

Finally, yes, we are our brother’s and sister’s keeper.

Stone Altman, RN


Precautions taken in group picture below par

I have read the article in the Clay County Progress of June 11 concerning the Ladies' League golf activities.

It was highly ironic to read that pains were taken to mention that the carts were clean and sanitized, and of course, all followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and United States Golf Association COVID-19 guidelines for the health —  while highlighting four groups, including one of 25-plus participants in close proximity wearing no masks. 

You will understand my perplexity as this practice in no way whatsoever follows any public health guideline.

I fully support the right of every individual in making a personal decision to wear a mask or not. Wearing a mask not only protects the wearer; however, it very importantly protects others. Choosing to put oneself at risk is a personal right. Choosing to put others at risk is not.

Macon County, as of June 12, has a total of 178 cases of COVID-19, having spiked from 20-plus only days ago. That kind of spike can just as easily happen in Clay County, putting this population at risk of serious complications.

The smiling faces of this group set a poor example of following guidelines and being considerate of everyone's health.

Natalie Moses


Thanks for supporting our vigil

I would like to thank everyone who peacefully came together for the Candle Light Vigil we held. I would like to highlight the work of Sam Borchardt. Without her vision and work, this event would not have been the success it was. Thank you for co-organizing our vigil.

Lastly, I would like to once again thank our speakers Pastor Holbrook, Tatiana and Sam. Thank you all for your words in helping us remember what we are working towards in our fight for justice and equality.

Thank you,

Talley Breedlove