I am trying to understand

By Steve Wall • Guest Columnist | On Sept. 10, 2020, Donald Trump greeted a cheering crowd in Freeland, Michigan, with these exact words: “We brought you a lot of car plants, Michigan! We brought you a LOT of car plants. You know that, right!”

This was greeted with excited cheers. So I have to wonder — did many of the people in the crowd realize there were no new car plants built in Michigan during the Trump administration? Were any aware that over 3,000 workers in the Michigan auto industry had lost their jobs since 2017?

Shop local, be safe

I’m semi-quarantining in the week leading up to Thanksgiving due to a potential exposure to COVID. At this very moment I’m working at my stand-up desk enjoying a homemade hot mocha made with freshly roasted Colombian coffee beans from Steamline Coffee Company. It’s damn good coffee.

No time to let down our guard

If you’re feeling COVID fatigue, it’s no wonder. 

It seems this all started “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” We could be so lucky. In fact, it was one year ago, Nov. 17, 2019, that the first case of the novel coronavirus emerged was reported from a seafood market in Wuhan, China. At least that’s according to Chinese government data that was reported in the South China Morning Post.

The bright spots of a pandemic holiday

I’ve started listening to Christmas music and it’s not even Thanksgiving, but you know what? It’s 2020 and anything goes. Whatever makes the world feel less heavy is allowable. 

Finding a way past the divide

Can we bridge the divide? That’s the most fundamental question facing us as Americans as we sort out the post-mortem of the 2020 election. Is there a way forward that will forge a common bond as Americans that will be more fundamental to our personal identity than political ideology?

It won’t happen easily. No, I feel certain that in the short term the landscape will be littered with the wreckage from retribution, pride, fear, ignorance, accusations, etc. A long election season is dragging on, and too many of the major players are too entrenched in their distrust of the other side. 

Is a $16.4 million jail a good idea?

The Haywood County Commissioners have decided to move forward with a long-term plan to expand the existing jail at the cost of $16.4 million dollars with an added 145 new beds.

It is incredibly frustrating that our commissioners are more than willing to greenlight millions for incarceration but flat out refuse to discuss harm reduction, homelessness or treatment programs for community members. As a matter of fact, a former commissioner who is now a state representative made it his mission to degrade anyone who inquired about these issues.

Is it OK to just be satisfied, even happy?

As the sun began its descent on Monday —  the eve of Election Day — I sat down to write this column and my thoughts turned to happiness and satisfaction.

I thought about being in a place, a state of mind, where one can look at one’s life, both into the past and into the future, and perhaps break into a small grin and say something like, “Somehow, surprisingly, I’ve managed to create a pretty good thing, a life and a family I never imagined for myself. I’m happy.” 

Tillis should refuse to confirm High Court nominee

By Terri Henry • Guest Columnist | When President Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sen. Mitch McConnell did an about-face on his past policy to deny consideration of Supreme Court nominees in an election year. As you may recall, Sen. McConnell refused to consider the nomination of Merrick Garland back in 2016 on the basis that the American people should be able to opine on the next Supreme Court justice through their vote. Sen. Thom Tillis agreed. At the time, Sen. Tillis said, “We are in the middle of a presidential election, and the Senate majority is giving the American people a voice to determine the direction of the Supreme Court. This is about the principle, not the person.” At that time, the election was still eight months away.

Holding a family together

They say when a mom dies a family can fall apart. 

I’d heard this before, in movies and in real life, but I never thought it would be an issue for my family. We’ve always been so close. We always made it a priority to be together for holidays and other special occasions. But when a mother passes, the remaining souls realize it was often she who made all of this happen. 

Vice President’s words don’t match his actions

By Larry Bryson • Guest Columnist | Vice President Mike Pence has stated, “I am a Christian, conservative, and Republican, in that order.” He might want to add politician to his list. I’ll leave it to you to decide its place in the hierarchy.

Jesus, however, reminds us, “By their fruits you shall know them.” When Pence engages in misleading, partisan rhetoric, it is difficult to see Christian principles at work. Generalizations such as, “You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America,” “President Trump is a truth-teller,” and “President Trump marshalled the full resources of the federal government from the outset of this pandemic,” lack the honesty Pence’s faith calls for.

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