November 19, 2008

Inbox — Nov. 19, 2008

Letters to the Editor

CYCLE OF VIOLENCE

“Deadly delay,” Sarah Kelley’s cover story in the Nov. 5 LEO Weekly, aptly conveyed the heart-wrenching account of how one young woman’s life was stolen and her family’s life devastated forever as a result of domestic violence. I assure you the story of Rebecca Caldwell could be the story of your sister, your daughter, your co-worker or your neighbor.

It is easy to think that this violence doesn’t affect you — that it only affects the poor, the uneducated or the weak — but domestic violence affects all of us. One in three women will be the victim of domestic violence, and every day three women in the United States are murdered by their intimate partner.

Too many times we blame the victim for staying, for leaving, for pulling out of the legal process. Maybe this is because it is easier to point fingers than to understand the strength victims of domestic violence truly possess.

Domestic violence is not a crime perpetrated by a stranger; these are two people who once loved each other. These are not crimes of anger; they are crimes with deep roots in power and control: manipulation, threats, isolation, economic oppression and sexual abuse.

Sometimes domestic violence victims and the community can do everything right, and still her life will be taken. But it is also important to remember that every year hundreds of victims in our community escape with the help of law enforcement, court orders, social service agencies and caring family and friends.

This is why The Center for Women and Families’ crisis lines are answered 24 hours a day, every day of the year, to help victims find strength to begin rebuilding their lives, establish violence-free homes, navigate the legal process and become survivors. Our number is 877-803-7577.

Denise Vazquez Troutman, President/CEO
, The Center for Women and Families

I’M A REPUBLICAN

Mr. Stephen George: First, I want to say that I truly do enjoy reading your thoughts. However, you will be disgusted to know that I am a Republican, and I am amazed at your lack of acknowledgement of middle ground in the political realm. Everything is extreme for you: Either I’m a McCain-voting racist, barely literate, gut-level redneck, or I took the time to “think” and voted for Obama. I am not bitter about the outcome of the election, and it is not my intention to be spiteful, but based your attacks on the far right in “The Endorsement” (LEO Weekly, Oct. 22), it is hard to take seriously your editorials that claim to be fair.

As a reader, I felt like you used personal attacks out of poisonous hatred for people who think differently than you. Your consistent use of the word “you” suggests that your readers are the ignorant people who you use to represent your opposition. If your intention is to sway the audience, why not give them the benefit of the doubt that they have the capacity to think instead of calling them names?

The only thing I take personally is your lack of gratitude for our troops. Out of countless pieces that have been published, not one of your editorials shows even a little respect for the soldiers, like my father and 18-year-old brother, who are willing to sacrifice their lives for the country you live in. I’m not arguing or suggesting, by any means, that you should support the war; however, I am asking that you evaluate the difference between compliance and respect.

Lauren Watts, Simpsonville

Editor’s Note: Not writing about American troops stationed in war zones (choosing instead to address the political situation that got them there) and failing to show them “respect” are two different things.

CHURCH AND STATE

In response to Paul Johnson’s “Churches Exempt” letter published in the Nov. 12 LEO Weekly: This apparent insight into Jesus’ teaching on wealth and its relation to a church’s tax-exempt status is not accurately informed.

I would like to add that the reason for the tax-exempt status applied to churches is the fact that they are nonprofit, charitable organizations. Furthermore, churches are forced to complete every shred of paperwork in order to prove their status and receive tax exemption from the IRS. I suppose Mr. Johnson would like to slap a fat tax on any tax-exempt nonprofit that generates power, influence or funds, so I took the liberty of listing a few: PETA, Greenpeace, Planned Parenthood and the Red Cross. These groups have a much more recognizable influence and an enormously larger budget than about 95 percent of churches in the world. They also have a clear political voice.

It seems everyone is anxious to keep the “church” as far from the “state” as possible; the “state,” however, is encroaching ever closer to the “church” in an effort to silence any dissention. This I do find frightening for all religious people.

Jesus did not “praise” the poor; he revolutionized the concept of wealth. What he really taught was that wealth is not always an accurate measure of success or importance, but that the purity of the heart, a kind of purity that his life and teaching offered, is always an accurate measure of wealth.

Jeremy Salmon, Crescent Hill

AMERICA’S SOCIAL EVOLUTION

As the euphoria of our collective, historical, electoral highs diminish and the effects of a historic electoral hangover comes to its conclusion, many are now beginning to ask, “Just what does this historic moment in time signify for black people, and for America as a country?” These times are truly confusing for black people, and their confusion is readily registered in both the tone and nature of their incoherent conversations. Many (in true oxymoronic fashion) describe this historic election as a rebirth of a nation, while simultaneously stating, “Just because Barack Obama made it all the way to the top of America’s political mountain, this changes nothing for black people in America!”

Contrary to the disjointed ramblings of pessimistic cynics, this historic election of President Barack Hussein Obama does represent a new day and a new page in America’s storied history. This historic election is not representative of the rebirth of America, but is instead representative of this country’s progressively encouraging evolution, and her optimistic process of maturation. For those pessimists who say America has not and will not change for the betterment of blacks, I say the nation is changing daily for the betterment of all her citizens.

For 389 years, from 1619 to 2008, black people in America existed under the inauspicious veil of inequality, injustice and inferiority. Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008, symbolized America’s awakening and willingness to embrace her African brethren, to be included, as family in the great American melting pot. America has long since recognized and tried to make recompense for her erroneously immoral, state-sponsored policies of inequality. She has installed mechanisms to correct and make right her racial- and gender-based immoralities and injustices. The laws of the land have effectively eradicated racial inconsistencies, and we must begin to understand that an act of racism by a citizen does not make America racist, and we must rely on the justice system when we are victimized by acts of racism. 

This historic election signals a progressive shift in the cultural mindsets of whites, as it pertains to racial intolerance, and demands an appropriate, responsible and mature response from blacks, as all of us as Americans embark upon this new era in the country’s social evolution.

Mustafa Rasul Al-Amin, Pleasure Ridge Park