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The Readers' Forum: Monday letters
The Readers’ Forum

The Readers' Forum: Monday letters

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‘Hege bill’ wrong

I disagree with the ‘Hege bill’ (“North Carolina House approves ‘Hege bill,’” April 2).

Nobody wants Gerald Hege to be sheriff again. He tried and failed. But for the state legislature to pass a bill aimed at one person in particular — or any who may copy him — is just wrong.

If a man or woman has paid his or her debt to society, he or she should be free to run for office. Blocking felons from this is as wrong as blocking them from holding any other job for which they’re qualified.

Let the voters decide, not Raleigh politicians.

Jim Holton

Winston-Salem

Tyranny of the mob

Gun violence sparks conversations about gun rights and gun control, just as it did when the Founders were formulating the U.S. Constitution. Those causal, historic events and the founders’ response may not be what most Americans suppose.

During the fledgling days of an independent America operating under the Articles of Confederation, states were powerful and a central government was weak. In 1786-87, sectional troubles in Massachusetts caused disgruntled citizens of western, agrarian counties to shut down the court system with armed citizens surrounding the courthouses. In Shays’ Rebellion, these Americans were protesting excessive taxes and political corruption. Bankers and merchants around Boston controlled the state legislature. To put down the uprising, these banker/merchant elites funded from their own pockets the raising of militia to confront the rebels and to open the courts.

Shays’ Rebellion was on the founders’ minds when they gathered in summer 1787 for the Constitutional Convention. To assure, in part, that private funds would not have to be used to confront the tyranny of a mob, they intended they could raise armed citizens from among the populace as an organized militia. That was the purpose later of the Second Amendment, to make such a force available at public expense.

Today we have the National Guard, controlled by each governor to fulfill that role. Indeed, that “well-regulated militia” was used Jan. 6 to help suppress the tyranny of that day’s mob. Would the founders really intend random, private citizens to have assault rifles and high-capacity magazines?

Randell Jones

Winston-Salem

Shared prosperity

Passage of the American Rescue Plan is lifting our community after a year of loss, stress and heartache. This historic legislation means we’ll be able to get the vaccines and health care we desperately need. More families will get unemployment checks large enough to cover food, shelter and other essentials. Our child care system will be stronger. More schools can reopen safely. Perhaps most important, the expanded child tax credit will help cut childhood poverty in half!

To make sure we can all recover — especially women, moms and communities of color who have borne the brunt of COVID’s impact — we need long-term investments that lift working families and our local economy. We need to reverse decades of underinvestment, which made the pandemic so disastrous for these communities.

When moms are pushed out of the workforce and work hours are reduced in order to assume caretaking responsibilities, it costs us $64.5 billion annually in lost wages and economic activity.

It’s not enough to go back to where we were. We demand resources, like investments in the care economy, that will finally put us on the path to shared prosperity. For my family and community to fully recover, leaders in Congress must quickly pass universal child care, adopt national paid leave, raise the minimum wage, make permanent enhancements to the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit, invest in caregiving for people with disabilities and aging adults, and create a pathway to citizenship for immigrant workers so crucial to combating the pandemic.

Dr. Kimberly Montez

Winston-Salem

Religious?

The Pew Research Center on March 30 released survey results with the title: “Most Democrats and Republicans Know Biden Is Catholic, but They Differ Sharply About How Religious He Is.”

I’m going to take a wild gamble and guess that the people who think President Joe Biden isn’t religious are the same people who think that former President Trump is.

Mary Linda Knox

Winston-Salem

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