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OPINION | LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Spirit of compromise | The guise of freedom | Use vaccine mandate

September 14, 2021 at 4:59 a.m.

Spirit of compromise

I am glad I don't have Sarah Huckabee Sanders' disposition, and wake up hating every day. I thought when she was shilling for former President Trump that it was a part of her job; I think now she did drink the Kool-Aid and actually buys into the notion that if anyone disagrees with you or has a different opinion, they must be called ugly names and must be defeated at all cost. Sarah and Donald Trump are much alike; everything they have achieved has been from riding on the shoulders of their daddy.

I believe we need leaders who will work to heal our state and nation. Leaders who will work with those who have different views, and work in the spirit of compromise and finding common ground. I think we have lived with hate long enough. Hard to talk about Christian values with so much hate in your heart. In a republic such as ours, elected representatives are to serve the people, which means the majority. States' rights and individual rights can't overrule the majority; we lost that fight over 150 years ago.

My grandma told me something a long time ago which has stuck with me for 80 years: "There is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us that it behooves none of us to talk about the rest of us." I sincerely hope we can change directions.

J.E. JACKSON

Hot Springs Village

The guise of freedom

In his book, "The First New Nation" (1963), sociologist and political scientist Seymour Martin Lipset pointed out that two sacred American political values--freedom and equality--were incompatible. "Freedom" means being free to do better than other folks, to achieve inequality. Thus, there has been a delicate balancing of these two values over the course of our political history. While all politicians say they support both values, Republicans have tended to emphasize freedom, while Democrats have tended to emphasize equality.

In his Aug. 2 New York Times column, Nobel economist Paul Krugman added a new dimension to this issue: "[W]hen people on the right talk about 'freedom' what they actually mean is closer to 'defense of privilege'--specifically the right of certain people (generally white male Christians) to do whatever they want."

Too often this kind of "freedom" encroaches on the freedom of others. Krugman reminded us that Barry Goldwater argued for the freedom of store owners to deny service to non-whites. Clearly, he had no concern for the freedom of non-whites to shop in those stores. Defense of a traditional privilege was at stake, not freedom as a universal value.

Finally, the now-controversial critical race theory and other sociological analyses examine the extent to which social structure and established cultural patterns weigh heavily on the experiences--successes and failures--of different kinds of people. Imagine the chances of a straight white male or a Black lesbian--all else being equal--getting a job, a promotion, a rental apartment, or a loan. While the effect of social factors is not 100 percent, they betray privilege under the guise of "freedom."

EARL BABBIE

Hot Springs Village

Use vaccine mandate

I am in favor of federally mandated vaccines. My mother nearly died of diphtheria as a child, so I'm lucky to even be here. We don't have diphtheria anymore because everyone got vaccines once they were available. Arkansans are sick and/or dying unnecessarily. We could end our pandemic problem if we would just get together and fight this thing: "Get 'er done," require vaccines, mask up in schools, etc.

Our teachers should be vaccinated, both for their protection and for the protection of the little ones who can't get a vaccine yet. Gov. Asa Hutchinson could do the right thing and call for this, but he has already signaled he won't. With the rise in childhood illnesses, I'm very afraid for my grandchildren in school and for dear family and colleagues who are still in the profession.

Employees who work in health care should have to be vaccinated or go home. I'm a former cancer patient. I had to get my diagnostic mammogram a couple of weeks ago, and you know how close the technician has to stand when you are being smashed into the machine? This tech had her mask dangling around her chin. When I asked her very politely to secure it, she refused and said, "And I'm not vaccinated either. You just need another tech. " Um, yes, I did need another tech. She is in close proximity all day with those who are likely immunocompromised or ill, and she won't wear a mask or get the vaccine. That is just wrong.

If you are frustrated with how it's going, especially if you vote Republican, it's time to call your state rep and state senator and ask them to give Governor Hutchinson the cover he needs to get vaccines in arms so we can end this miserable pandemic.

DONNA DRURY

North Little Rock

Don't care about poor

I just viewed a news clip of Donald Trump visiting a fire station on Sept. 11. As per usual, some of the first words which escaped his lips were about how he had really won the presidential election. Donald Trump remains supremely obsessed with himself. Meanwhile, his minion in Arkansas travels throughout the state promising to protect us from the "radical left."

It was members of the far-right persuasion who attacked our seat of government in Washington, and I believe they pose a much greater threat to the continuation of our democracy. These short-sighted people are fixated upon greed and profit, and will only make our current climate crisis more extreme. The Republican Party has become a bastion of those who only care about the rich getting richer. Have you seen Sanders' house in west Little Rock? Does this look like the house of a person who cares about the struggling people in this state?

CATHERINE LAMB

Little Rock

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