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Letter to the editor: Don’t be manipulated for others’ gain

To the editor:

I am a US Navy officer veteran who served the USA with honor during the Cold War and Desert Storm. I was raised to be a Christian and have done my best to practice the teachings of Jesus. I attended public school in Winston-Salem during the 1960s and graduated from high school in 1973. I have worked to earn money since I was a child doing yard work and baby sitting for neighbors and began having paid jobs at 14 with a permit. I began teaching Sunday School at 16. I put myself through college without help from loans or my parents, and it took me 7 years to get that 4-year degree before I voluntarily joined the Navy.

I know from experience that everything has a context and am horrified to see so many Americans either not know that or act as if they have forgotten that. America’s Founders intended to protect the freedom to speak publicly against our government, but not to violently attack the human beings who are paid to protect those human beings that We The People elected to govern us.

America began as a revolution against taxation without representation, so the founders made sure we were adequately represented by local, state, and federal elected officials. It is the patriotic duty of every one of us to stay informed about the facts affecting life in our neighborhoods, towns, cities, states, and nation, and avoid becoming seduced by those who would mislead us into demonizing our neighbors. Telling lies to maintain power and promote divisiveness is not protected speech, it is propaganda. When a lame duck President does that, it is sedition.

With the current access to the Internet and highly paid pundits who want to increase their ratings, we now have two radically different sets of beliefs in America; one based upon reality and grounded in the facts about what the US Constitution says and how to improve our democratic republic, and one that has demonized the people who believe in facts, science, and the truth about America.

It is not about the so called “elites” or “libtards” or the “conservatives” and those who would reduce the issues to “right versus left” are misrepresenting the facts. If you believe the “other” is dangerous and has bad intentions, then that makes you more easily controlled.

Divide and conquer is an ancient and effective form of warfare. We must unite now to stop allowing us to be divided against one another for the benefit of our enemies.

America’s Founders wanted to protect your right to practice your religion or no religion without persecution. Most recently too many people have been wrongly claiming America is a Christian nation, while advocating for violence, discrimination, rejecting those seeking asylum, and ignoring the suffering of their fellow human beings. If you do consider yourself a Christian, does it concern you to see other people claiming to be Christians, supporting behavior and actions that are the exact opposite of what Jesus taught? Jesus told us to render unto Caesar (aka the government) what is Caesar’s (pay your taxes). Jesus told us to love one another as Jesus loves us; not blame, shame, attack, and kill people who are different than us. When Jesus was punished unfairly and then tortured and killed for the amusement of a crowd, Jesus did not tell His followers to exact revenge and kill the evil doers; Jesus said, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.”

We have a new President and there will be a peaceful transfer of power, even though there are domestic terrorists working hard right now to overthrow our US Constitutionally created system of government. If you cannot accept that, then look in the mirror and recognize you are not a patriotic American. Most of us were raised to play fair, take responsibility when we broke something, and be a good sport, and our leaders must also play fair, be accountable, and be good sports, especially when it is hard, or they do not deserve to lead.

The Founders created a check and balance system in our government so that we might be protected from the tyranny that rules so many other countries. It is a balance of 3 branches of government who provide obstacles and delays in the process of governing to slow things down, to the great frustration of almost everyone who wants to make change. If you want to pick up weapons and overthrow that system, you are not a patriotic American. Regulations and rules were developed to help us function better; for instance, driving on the same side of the road, not to oppress your freedom to drive however you choose, but to prevent putting other people’s lives at risk. If you believe in “Law and Order” and that “Blue Lives Matter”, you do not attack police officers paid to protect the Capitol building. This is important context. If you want a leader who is arrogant, disregards the Golden rule of doing “unto others as you would have them do unto you”, and who puts his ego ahead of what is best for the nation, then you do not want to be an American.

We The People have recently elected someone who does practice Christianity and honors the US Constitution, after four years of enduring the damage done by someone who did not. America is now first only in the number of deaths from COVID19, while other countries have been more successful in managing through the simple courtesy of wearing a mask in public, socially distancing, and washing hands frequently. If you cannot believe that I lovingly suggest it is because you are getting your information from sources designed to manipulate you into doing the dirty work of those who want to destroy the “American experiment in democracy”.

I ask you to become a patriot, and take the time find out what is true, from reliable sources of information, and not just take the word of others who have a vested interest in manipulating you for their selfish gain. Anyone who publicly demonizes other people is either terribly misinformed or has a selfish motive for attacking those other people.

I believe we are all children of God, and even though we do not always get along, we are all family. When asked what he thought should be done about a woman who committed adultery, Jesus said, “Let you who is without sin cast the first stone.” The demonization of others should be an alarm that rallies us to unite, and hold the person engaged in divisive behaviors and making the hateful remarks accountable. We must insist our elected officials practice integrity and demonstrate a desire to cooperate, respect, and work with others.

It is our patriotic duty to remain informed, to do our due diligence to determine what are the facts before electing anyone, and continue to hold them accountable when needed. We all make mistakes and we all can learn to do better if we try. No one knows everything but hopefully we are learning new things every day.

Please try to imagine what it is like to be in the other person’s shoes before condemning anyone. If we want to save America, we must learn to listen to the truth, hear each other’s perspective, and work together in cooperation for the benefit of our nation, beginning in our own home, our neighborhood, our county, and state.

The truth will set us free.

Bonnie D. Clark

Harmony