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Opinions: April 19, 2018

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 Fund drive boosting food pantry efforts 

 Once again, the Clay County Food Pantry is preparing for its annual matching funds drive. This will be possible due to the generous matching gift that is being donated by Jerry and Wanda Gottlieb. The pantry will receive a matching gift for every dollar received. Donations of food items will also generate a matching gift. The fund-raiser runs March 1 to April 30. Last year’s drive raised more than $23,000 from our generous community including individuals and local businesses and churches. During the year of 2017 we were able to distribute more than 13,800 boxes of food through more than 10,500 family visits from Clay County residents. If you wish to have a food drive, we will provide containers and pick them up when filled. Your tax deductible donations via check can be made out to Clay County Food Pantry and mailed to CCFP, PO Box 853, Hayesville, NC 28904, write “Gottlieb” on the memo line. Remember all these donations, cash and/or food items, will be matched. Thank you in advance for your support. 

Sue Martinez 
CCFP secretary 

Helping hands made dire situation better 

 The residents of Barlow Fields Subdivision off of Fires Creek Road want to thank all those who pitched in to help after the tornado hit on the evening of March 17. I want to thank our neighbors in Fires Creek Cove, Blue Ridge Mountain EMC and all others who came to help us clear our road so we could get out of our homes and have electricity and phone service. It was a full day of work and we really appreciate it. Without you we would have been stuck for days. What a wonderful place we live. We are thankful to God that no one was hurt. 

Cathy Hogan 
Barlow Fields resident 

It’s clear, Lincoln started war over money 

This is in reply to Mr. Bondourant’s letter. 
The historical documents he was referring to were declarations of independence, not declarations of war. The former do not always have to lead to the latter. 
I propose to write as if I were an observer of events on May 1, 1861 and report what was generally known to all at that time. 
First, Mr. Mincey may have confused his presidents but it was the same federal government in 1838 as in 1861. 
The secession crisis lasted from Lincoln's election in early November to the beginning of hostilities in April 1861. 
The flash point was Charleston Harbor. The key to the harbor was Ft. Sumter, but federal forces were on Ft. Moultrie on election day. 
On Dec. 9 South Carolina signed an agreement with President Buchanan that it would not molest federal troops if they stayed put and were not reinforced. South Carolina would victual the garrison. 
Major Robert Anderson was assigned to command at Ft. Moultrie on Nov. 15. He was advised by his subordinates to move to the stronger position at Ft. Sumter but twice refused, citing lack of orders. 
On Dec. 15 General Winfield Scott advises President Buchanan to shift the garrison to Ft. Sumter. President Buchanan refuses. General Scott makes the same recommendation to President-elect Lincoln by letter. Lincoln also by letter tells Scott to be prepared to reinforce the garrison as soon as he takes office on March 4. Scott receives Lincoln's reply around Dec. 25. On Dec. 26 Major Anderson spikes the cannon on Ft. Moultrie and moves to Ft. Sumter, in effect much strengthening his garrison and breaking the agreement with South Carolina. 
Since his election Lincoln said little about slavery, other than he would not interfere with it where it already existed, but much about federal finances. 
The South had paid the federal government's expenses for years by tariffs. Few tariffs had been collected since Jan. 1 and the federal government was nearly broke by March 4. 
On Lincoln's way to Washington in February he said in Pittsburgh, “A tariff is to the government what a meal is to the family.” 
To the Virginia Peace Commission on April 4, “Well what about the revenues? What would I do about the collection duties” 
Again to the Peace Commission on April 12, “If I do that (let the south go) what will become of my revenues? I might as well shut up housekeeping at once.” 
To a delegation of the Baltimore YMCA on April 22, “But what am I to do? What shall become of the revenue? I shall have no government. No revenues.” 
It should be fairly clear to an observer on May 1, 1861 that Lincoln started a horrible war over money. 
In 1871 the Supreme Court rendered a decision in The Protector case given by the Chief Justice Chase, a Lincoln appointee. There were four other Lincoln appointees on the court. It ruled that the War was begun by Lincoln when he imposed a blockade on the Southern ports on April 19, 1861. 
Phillip N. Bannister, MD 

Term limits should be imposed on all officials 

 The two Penlands running for office. I am happy for Dwight Penland, but hey he needs to find some other job to do. He has run for about everything and has been in elections since 1997 or so. Plus I think the house — main property — is in Georgia and taxed in Georgia, which should finally settle the matter. You can't have the best of everything and want to have both states, too. To me it is all a conflict of interest and Tommy Davis and the Republicans also agree. As to Scotty Penland, how can you be interim superintendent of schools and a commissioner, too? There are times I think that Clay County reminds me of Washington and the double standard that goes on there and here, too. There needs to be term limits in all politics. Plus, Penland has retired from schools and now is back temporarily? Give me a break, he needs to go on a cruise and stay out of Clay County business. The last time he was here he pushed for new this and that, can you imagine him as commissioner? The county would be broke not that it isn't already. On that subject, the new 1/4 cent sales tax proposal failed and the commissioners needed it so badly instead of tightening their belts and not giving the county away, they shafted the poor property owners of Clay County? Now they are back at the trough this year when the property taxes have been raised, everything else is up for grabs and they want to shaft us again. I say term limits — remove the current bunch and go back to three people. People forget that we are a small county with tourists, transients and old people/ others on limited incomes. The county treats this county like a tourist attraction with unlimited funds. It will end up forcing more to move away like the graduation students. There is nothing here, but beauty, the country and quiet living, we are not the city/Asheville.

Gary Thurston 



 The Bible or the bayonet, which path will America choose?

There has been a lot of talk recently about gun control since the Florida high school shooting, some even calling for repeal of the Second Amendment. Although I believe some form of gun legislation may be helpful, specifically laws prohibiting the purchase and ownership by mentally ill persons, the real issue is not the guns themselves. The mass shootings we are experiencing are symptoms of a much deeper problem — a culture that is in moral decay, and in the case of America, a culture that is turning away from and rejecting its Judeo-Christian faith and foundation.
History is a great teacher and it demonstrates that civilizations who discard their moral foundation begin to self-destruct. We see this clearly in ancient Israel and the Roman Empire; it’s a pattern which continues through today. Our founding fathers knew and understood this and left us plenty of warnings about not going down this path. The following quotes from two of our founders are but a few such warnings. 
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars… And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined educated minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle,” President George Washington. 
“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. It is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue,” President John Adams. 
Although not a founder, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (1847- 49) Robert Winthrop made the following observations based upon mankind’s history, “Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them or by a power without them; either by the Word of God or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet.”
Those who founded and helped govern America early on understood what has been called the Golden Triangle of Freedom. Simply put, freedom (as envisioned by our founders and experienced over the last 200 plus years) required virtue (morality); virtue required faith (religion) and the free exercise of faith required freedom. If America was to survive as a self-governing nation, then she required moral law abiding citizens capable of controlling/governing themselves and that according to the founders required religion.
I’m not a prophet nor do I consult crystal balls, but I am a student of history and history is not on America’s side if she continues to reject her moral and biblical foundation. The violence and madness we are experiencing will only continue to escalate until America self-destructs or turns back to God. 
Jim Johnson

Taxpayers victims of a personal agenda in county politics

 I am writing regarding the April 12 issue of the Progress in relation to Dwight Penland’s appeal being upheld. 
Personally I don’t think it should have happened in the first place. 
The thing that bothers me in the article is that it says taxpayers of the county will have to pay $6,660 for meetings and lawyer fees. 
The lawyer’s fee totaled $4,496.64. One can’t help but wonder what’s up with that?
Just as Penland felt he was being wronged and appealed the Board of Elections’ decision, I feel the taxpayers are being wronged in asking us to pay the bill for something we didn’t have anything to do with.
Evidently, all of the Republicans didn’t even go along with it.
As a taxpayer I feel that regardless of party affiliation we should be asked to pay for a few people’s personal agenda. I may be the only one who feels this way, but if so that’s just the way it is. 
I feel the ones responsible for making this bill should be responsible for paying it. If the Clay County Republican Party wants to pay it that is great; however, this time they may want to get the opinion of everyone in their party before making decisions.
Eddie Burch


Social restraints unraveling in society and in government 

 America suffers from reading deficit disorder. Many are glued to TVs and radios, digesting the lures the infotainment complex tosses overboard. Loaded language (propaganda) used to manipulate and promote an emotional rather than rational response to information. Why bother to think when someone can do it for you?
Helen Keller said, “Language is mostly a means for concealing the truth.” Daddy Bush said, “The 24-7 news cycle is one of the worst things to happen to our country.” Witness Fox news provocateur Laura Ingraham singing to her predictable choir for days on end about the Parkland School shooting. Presently the aftermath as mostly a left-wing conspiracy.
How would she feel if her child and classmates were the victims? Everyone lives in a bubble until the unthinkable happens. The right plays it as if her free speech rights are being violated. Her and student David Hogg both have free speech rights. This time a tech savvy 17 year old outfoxed a pro. These young are smart enough to go straight to the source for results. The corporations. No red tape. No B.S. Instant action.
After all the corporations own the government. We have the best democracy money can buy. More and more people are turning to the corporations for help. Sometimes the corporations act on their own. For example, the transgender bathroom fiasco. As Trump said at the time, “It’s a solution looking for a problem.” The talking heads bring up a subject and rarely stick close to it. Out of the blue they throw in old agitations as diversions. Keep ‘em worked up to keep the ratings up. Rage is all the rage. Brings to mind my recent op-eds taking to task some sycophants cozying up to President Trump. In particular, national religious figures. In two rebuttals Ronald A. Jakelis chastises me for doing so. The latest being in the March 22 edition. 
On March 23, I received the weekly magazine I subscribe to. In it was a viewpoint by Michael Gerson, a Republican with an extensive resume in government which includes a stint as top aide and speech writer for former President George W. Bush. He articulates my views far better than myself. “It is remarkable to hear religious leaders defend profanity, ridicule and cruelty as hallmarks of authenticity and dismiss decency as a dead language. President Trump’s presidency has coarsened our culture, given permission for bullying, complicated the moral foundation for children, undermined standards of public integrity and encouraged cynicism about the political enterprise. His tribalism and hatred for ‘the other’ stand in direct opposition to Jesus’ radical ethic of neighborly love. Jerry Falwell Jr., Franklin Graham, and others are providing religious cover for moral squalor, winking at trashy behavior and encouraging the unraveling of social restraints. These evangelical leaders have ceased to be moral leaders in any meaningful sense,” Michael Gerson.
Mickey Cochrane





Clay County Progress

Mailing Address: PO Box 483, Hayesville, NC 28904
Physical Address: 43 Main Street, Hayesville, NC 28904
Phone: 828-389-8431
Fax: 828-389-9997