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The Daily Planet's Opinion: Enka Clock Tower to be restored; shows fitting respect for history
Friday, 01 January 2021 14:19

It is a wonderful gift — especially during an especially grim holiday season — that the community of Enka in particular and Western North Carolina in general received when Greensboro-based developed Samet Corp. promised in a Nov. 25 press release to spare the iconic, 149-foot-high clock tower in Enka.

The action was in response to historical preservationists from the community and the area, seeking to have the clock tower saved for its historic and cultural significance, after word came out that plans called for its demolition. Fortunately, the developer listened — and responded both positively and relatively rapidly. (Samet is planning to build a 130,000-square-foot facility in Enka for an unnamed company.) 

“All parties involved in the development of this area recognize the historic role the monument plays in Asheville’s history, and we would like the tower to stand for generations to come,” Brian Hall, Samet’s director of development, said in the release.

Now, we need to revisit the issue of how the 123-year-old Vance Monument, an obelisk based in the heart of downtown Asheville, can be saved rather than demolished.

REASONABLENESS: A laughingstock in normal times, but normal now
Friday, 01 January 2021 14:17
Special to the Daily Planet

One hundred twenty-six members of the United States House of Representatives, all belonging to the Republican Party, America’s conservative party, signed on to a lawsuit brought to the Supreme Court.  The suit alleged widespread voter fraud in four states and asked the court to overturn the outcome. 

The lawsuit was based on debunked conspiracy theories and outright lies — and these 126 Republicans knew it. The whole world knew it. 

And don’t doubt, President Trump knows it, too. He’s playing a cynical game with his followers, stringing them along like a yo-yo.  He blusters them along, so they don’t see him as a loser. It’s cynicism like nothing before in America. 

These Republicans human-trafficked themselves because their Trumped-up constituents insisted on it. It’s reported that congressional offices were deluged with demands that they “stand with the president,” no matter how freaky his behavior.

I find these guys pathetic — in the basic meaning of the word: “arousing pity, especially through vulnerability.” But also in our more common meaning, “contemptible.”

They added their names to the lawsuit out of fear.  They’re worried that their constituents might choose somebody else in the next Republican primary, somebody who insists he would have gone all the way with the president.

In normal times, they would be a laughingstock. Their hometown newspapers would have cartoons above the front-page fold, showing them in court jester costumes. But these are Trump times in their districts, and by signing, they remain hometown heroes. (Yahoo News did run photos of all 126, in black-and-white, in a “news ticker” format, like a moving rogue’s gallery.)

They could have said no, right?

Sure. They could have sat on a park bench, looking at the ducks and children playing and looking deep inside themselves and said, “No, I won’t.  I have values. I want my grandchildren to be proud of me, proud of my courage.” And then they could have explained their positions with strength of leadership. And maintained their integrity.

Integrity, yeah. But they likely would enjoy their integrity back home, not in Washington.  They know that Trump “has got a little list,” and they know they’ll be on it if they stray.  They’d have a primary opponent, and they’d be cut off from national GOP campaign funds.  And then there are the lush perks Congress has given themselves over the years. And staffs and travel. Fear of defeat doth make cowards of Congress.

But all that is just one level of their decision-making. Let’s don’t forget ambition. Congresspeople aren’t where they are because of sweet fate. There’s a category of House member professions called “professional politician,” the folks who spend their lives looking around for the crumb jobs that fall from the government table. But when somebody is elected to Congress, in fact, they all, the doctors, the lawyers, the teachers, all become professional politicians. Their list of priorities has only two items:  keeping their seats and maybe moving up the electoral ladder.

The 126 go-along Republicans are symbolic of the rot in today’s Republican Party. If Donald Trump, out of office, tries and succeeds in isolating, for himself and his glory and his financial gain, the millions of Americans who are now unwavering followers, then the Republican Party will melt away, and a new, true conservative party will inevitably come to be.

Two points in closing:

Members of Congress are certainly correct to represent their constituents’ views when they vote. But they have a higher responsibility, namely, the wellbeing of the country — and complicity in what’s being called an “autocratic attempt” cannot be in the best interest of the United States.

Term limits have been touted as a remedy to the Congress’ re-election worries, but a constitutional amendment was actually proposed in the GOP‘s Contract with America in 1995. It failed to get the required two-thirds vote. 

But hey, the term limit proposed in the amendment for the U.S. House was… get this… six terms!
Lee Ballard lives in Mars Hill. He was a longtime linguist and lexicographer, before heading a naming and branding firm for 25 years.





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