Thursday, October 12, 2017
Defiance can be good
There was an article in the obituary section in Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette about the passing of Dr. Jack Wagoner Jr. The title, "Doctor's practice defied racial norms," caught my attention. The late Doctors Wagoner and Raymond Miller joined with two other physicians nearly 50 years ago to open a racially integrated medical practice in Little Rock. Doctor Wagoner was white and Doctor Miller was black.
For years, Doctor Miller was my primary care physician. I recall his easy-going style and dry humor, which he displayed whenever I went to see him. It seems, according to the article, that Doctor Wagoner was also one with an easy-going persona. I never met him, but from my experiences with Doctor Miller, I can see how these two would have broken the ground they did.
I'm quite weary, to say the least, of the current environment in our country. It seems too many of us are willing to be led, without question, back down the path to "racial norms" that were commonplace 50 years ago, when Doctors Wagoner and Miller were willing to take a risk.
Defiance can be a good thing ...
Whole lot of protests
To those so offended by the NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem, the First Amendment recognizes their right to do so, and the American flag symbolizes that right, whether we like it or not. Just as the flag and Constitution both symbolize and recognize your right to speak out in protest against the protesting of the players. A lot of protesting in America these days, and "on many sides," as the president might say. However, there is a difference between protesting in the name of social justice and protesting in the name of pride.
Speaking of protesting, many who disapprove of the actions of the NFL players are the same people who gather around flag poles and on statehouse steps to make a public display of their professed faith. "Praying for our country," says this kind of protester. And yes, this is simply another kind of protest. If someone makes a point to pray in public in order to be seen and heard by others, something Jesus said not to do, by the way, then that is not a genuine prayer. It is just a protest.
But go ahead, it's your right.
To distribute pittance
Like thousands of other Arkansans, this past year I received a sum of money awarded to former smokers of Marlboro Light cigarettes. (In my case about $3,000.) Last week, I received a court-ordered notice pertaining to "Pulaski County Circuit Court Case No. CV 2003-4661 Miner v. Philip Morris Cos.: Marlboro Lights Class Action settlement."
Lo and behold, there is a small sum of money left over that is so small that it cannot be distributed in a fair manner to the thousands of harmed individuals (a mere $2.2 million, per the court.) Apparently this court thinks a fair way to dispose of this petty amount of money is to award (give) it to the William H. Bowen School of Law for scholarships for need-based lawyer wannabes, some of whom may be interested in public litigation.
In short, that is where approximately $2.2 million will go unless the thousands of claimants want to change the minds of the fine folks at the Thrash Law Firm in Little Rock by letter, or better still by showing up in court on such and such date after submitting a notice of intent to appear.
Wow. Such a tiny amount of money with very little time to keep it away from so many little people.
CARL E. BUCHANAN
Not about patriotism
As a veteran, I am very proud of my service to my country and will forever stand for the national anthem and for the displaying of our nation's flag. That said, my service and dedication to our nation also protects the rights of all of our citizens. Therefore, I agree with and support former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's (and others') silent protest against police brutality.
We're taught in school that the first right under the Constitution is the right to lawfully assemble, protest and have free speech (i.e., First Amendment). I'm quite dumbfounded by all the negative opinions expressed by your readers who've written letters otherwise. So, to those critics only, let's be clear on a few things:
This protest has never been nor will be a protest against our beloved country's flag or anthem. Mr. Kaepernick, or anyone, for that matter, who chooses to protest peacefully and lawfully at any event or venue can do so legally and must be afforded all the protections under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.
This silent, peaceful and lawful demonstration is about the number of deaths regarding the unjustified use of deadly force displayed by some in law enforcement across the country.
This movement is nothing new. Sports icons have always used their platforms to raise social awareness to effect change. Remember Tommie Smith and John Carlos and what they both did during the 1968 Olympics?
To clarify, this silent, heroic, and harmless freedom of expression is entirely about police brutality committed by some in authority toward our citizens, and is not a protest against patriotism nor our nation's time-honored customs and courtesies.
ARTHUR L. WOODS
The focus of attention
I am a Vietnam veteran and I fully support any and every citizen of this great country's right to voice their opinions and to protest. However, in my opinion, it crosses the line when these so-called protesters openly show disrespect to our flag, our national anthem, and our proud men and women in our military services.
When I see these protesters, it especially grieves me to think about the thousands of men and women in the military who gave their lives for this great country and for the freedoms for which it stands. When they were asked to give, they gave their all. They did not take a knee and turn their backs on us.
If you want to protest and take a knee or raise a fist, then take it outside or, even better yet, how about the news media just train their cameras on the flag during the national anthem, for that is where the TV cameras and our attention belong.
Hot Springs Village
But who's counting?
Re "Counting handshakes" from Mary Jo Davis in Clinton: You had exactly 60 words in your letter to the editor.
Just thought you'd like to know.
Editorial on 10/12/2017
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