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Vote for our country

We all need to be certain that our voter registration is current and has not been purged by the state government. Also, anyone who has served a legal sentence in Arkansas needs to call their county clerk to have their voting rights restored.


Eureka Springs

Fix immigration laws

It crossed my mind a while back that our president is trying obliquely to force our government to pass some useful and fair immigration laws. The ones we have evidently don't work very well. It seems unjust, economically unfeasible, and sometimes cruel to strictly enforce, and for too many years flouting them was easy.

There are those who would rather blame the government--i.e., the president--for the failure of our laws than to take up their responsibility to create laws that benefit our country and those who want to live here and can add to the national good. (I wanted to use the word "welfare," but it has taken on some political/economic coloring.) Even worse, it seems they tacitly encourage openly flouting the law. Not a good idea.

We need immigrants, and have always grown better for the people who have come here. There's a fallacy in the idea that we are going to be overpopulated: The U.S. birth rate, as in many wealthy countries, is nearly unsustainable as it is. Also our historically fine Judeo-Christian work ethic seems to be dying of old age, concurrent with waning religious energy. Many unappealing jobs go begging because no one "feels" like doing them.

I encourage lawmakers to stop playing political games with this serious issue!



Champion the bridge

The award-winning HBO series Big Little Lies opens each episode with a wide shot of a graceful bridge: the Bixby Canyon Bridge in Monterey, Calif., where the series is filmed. It always reminds me of another bridge much closer to home: the Big White River Bridge at Clarendon, gateway to the Lower White River bottomlands.

Both bridges were built in 1931. Both represent the era's apex of design and materials, and were built to last. One bridge is celebrated, photographed, visited and filmed, championed by the state of California. The other is near Arkansas' capital city, yet unable to be championed due to a lack of compromise by the powers-that-be. Add one more voice to the chorus asking: Please let the bridge stand, re-purposed as a recreational pedestrian/cycling gateway to the Delta Trail. Please let her stand. As I write this, a re-assessment of the situation has postponed yet another threatened demolition of this iconic structure. Perhaps there is yet time for sanity to prevail.

The bridge at Clarendon forms the centerpiece of the documentary film-in-progress based on my book Daughter of the White River. This bridge marks the site of the River People's once-thriving network of houseboat communities, and the birthplace of river girl Helen Ruth Spence, Arkansas folk hero and subject of the book and film. It was built during her brief lifetime.

The Delta has been subjected to a century of hardship. Clarendon's bridge, originally constructed (during the Great Depression, no less) on Arkansas land, remains well-suited and well-situated to contribute to the state's economy. Re-purposing the bridge makes more economic sense than paying an exorbitant amount to waste a national historic landmark. On a deeper level, re-purposing this bridge allows the surrounding community to come together, celebrate, photograph, visit, film and champion a uniquely majestic example of American engineering, design and function.


Hot Springs

Spending too much

I am convinced that our four representatives and two senators do not have a backbone among them. They vote alike, have the same talking points, and I am satisfied they call each other every morning to coordinate their dress for the day.

Meanwhile, our dictator "want to be" president is spending our country into bankruptcy. Millions for his golf outings, millions to take all his family on overseas trips, millions for his July Fourth celebration so that he can emulate his heroes, Putin, Kim, and Xi.

The billions we are spending, $750 per day for each detainee, on concentration camps in Florida and along the southern border. The company the government contracted with is a private hedge fund in Washington, D.C., directed by Gen. John Kelly, Richard Armitage, and other ex-Trump administrators. The parent firm is D.C. Capital/Caliburn, and the company running the camps is Comprehensive Health Services. General Kelly was a lobbyist for the firm, and the thing is we are borrowing money to fund this operation or taking it from other agencies to do this.

Where is the indignation and outrage? If this was a Democratic administration, they would be squealing like a pig under a gate. Unfortunately it seems the editorial writers of this newspaper are not much more than shameless shills for this administration. Hopefully this nightmare will end next year, if we have anything left.


Hot Springs Village

Helping the homeless

Philip Martin's story about Dirty Walking Man stirred a childhood memory of The Goat Man, who walked with a cart pulled by a goat near Savannah on U.S. 17, a busy highway between the Northeast and Florida. That's all I know about him, or her.

A sighting of The Goat Man was much anticipated and discussed on trips from our small town to Savannah.

When I think of our homeless citizens, I often remember the relationship of Doc, in John Steinbeck's Cannery Row, with a panhandler. He always gave him money. I don't have the book and can't find the quote, but he said something to the effect that the panhandler was doing his job with as much integrity as anyone.

Cannery Row's citizens had a variety of roles. Doc, as I recall, respected them all. Kind of like Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, but grittier.

Charity is a good response to homelessness, but not a solution. In fact, "solving" homelessness may be the wrong idea. Helping them become "productive members of society" rings hollow to me.

I feel like "the right thing to do" begins with recognizing their citizenship. They are our people. They are different in unique ways. Our local governments should address their individual needs based on study, leading to understanding.

It will require political leadership, money from taxpayers, a professional staff, and cooperation with other agencies. It will not be charity any more than filling potholes or building bike lanes are charity.



Editorial on 07/07/2019

Print Headline: Letters


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