Let’s keep politics and religion separate

To the Editor:

This week a friend posted a Will Rogers quote from 1931 that is certainly relevant today. “Ten men in our country could buy the whole world and ten million can’t buy enough to eat.” 

Registering ‘Unaffiliated’ is a wise choice

To the Editor:

I am confused as to why anyone in a state like North Carolina, with semi-closed primaries, would affiliate with a party when registering. 

Important freedoms are under siege

To the Editor:

We now live in a free country. We cherished the freedom to worship as we choose; the freedom to pick our leaders, and the right to a free press; the freedom to teach our children as we choose; and the freedom to make choices about our bodies and who we love.

Third party efforts futile in U.S.

To the Editor:

I appreciated your article on third parties. The frustration of the people with the two major parties is often expressed as a desire for new parties, but it is futile.

Americans look at Europe and see multiple parties working so they think, “Why not here, too?” The error here is that European nations have parliamentary systems, while we have our “two-party” system. In a parliamentary systems, if your little party gets 2 percent of the vote, you get 2 percent of the seats in parliament. At least you get to voice your opinions, even if nobody cares.

In our two-party systems, 2 percent gets you a big fat nada.

Parties like the Greens, Libertarians, or whatever, sound like viable options, but they are really just wasted effort.

There is, however, a way for third parties to make a meaningful difference. They can go the caucus route. Just for example, look at the Freedom Caucus or Black Congressional Caucus. They could call themselves little parties and waste their time, but instead they choose to operate within the existing two party-system, and as a result they hold significant power. Maybe someday the Constitution will be altered to allow multiple parties like in Europe, but I doubt it. Until then, if you are unhappy with the Dems and GOP, form a caucus.

Boyd Holliday

Lake Junaluska

GOP legislature has stolen my vote

To the Editor:

My vote has been stolen. It has been stolen by the Legislature of the State of North Carolina. Let me explain. 

I live and vote in Congressional District 11. Traditionally, the 11th District has been a swing area. A little over one third of the voters are Democrats, a few less Republicans, and almost one third of the voters are registered as non-affiliated. I am one of those latter voters. In the past, we have been represented by both Republicans and Democrats. With the Democrats and Republicans almost evenly divided, it fell to the un-affiliated voters to determine who would represent the district in Congress.

With the 2010 census, Congressional District lines were redrawn by the  Legislature. At that time, two thirds of the City of Asheville and approximately one half of Buncombe County were removed from District 11 and attached to District 10.  As an urban area, the region has had a tendency to vote Democratic, thus balancing the rural Republican vote. By attaching these areas to District 10, which centers out of Gastonia, almost 120 miles away, a “safe” district was created for the Republican Party. 

Thus the power of my vote has been negated and “stolen” from me by the Legislature.  It no longer makes a difference for whom I vote, as my vote has been cancelled by the political design of the district. I would argue that this is unconstitutional, in that it suppresses the validity and power of my vote.

The current federal court has ruled that some congressional districts in the state are unconstitutional and has ordered the state Legislature to draw new district maps that are acceptable to the court. The North Carolina Legislature is contesting this and has asked the Supreme Court of the United States to place this order on hold citing that there is not enough time to accomplish this before the next election.

Since these districts were redrawn in 2010, I have had to vote in three elections (2012, 2014, 2016) where unconstitutional congressional district boundaries have been in use. If the state legislature gets its way, I will be forced again to vote in an unconstitutional election or to forego voting. Since my vote, as a non-affiliated voter, will not matter to the outcome of the election, I believe that my constitutional right to vote and have my vote counted has been violated.

I have written Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and asked that the lower federal court order not be delayed. My right to vote and have that vote count is important to me. It is my participation in the democratic process of government. When my vote no longer has weight or meaning, the system of government is broken, and with that the political and social contracts of the government with the people have also been severed. We no longer will have, as Lincoln stated, a nation “… of the people, by the people, and for the people.” We cannot let this happen.

Luther Jones


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