Move to quell protests is beyond disturbing

Unidentified troops dressed entirely in unmarked camouflage and black uniforms have been deployed in multiple states to deal with peaceful protesters. Before you say these protesters are not peaceful, investigate the “violent offenses.”

The Department of Homeland Security’s acting director, who brought troops into Portland, specifically said the problem was graffiti. If a crime is being committed, local and state authorities should arrest the criminals according to law.

This is not a political issue. People protest things as diverse as face mask orders, racial inequities, religious and racial identity and forced business closures. But a false dichotomy is being pushed for political reasons.

Black Lives Matter is being portrayed as a violent, anarchistic organization. The armed protesters who went to the Michigan legislature to protest business closures are being portrayed as a violent, anarchistic organization.

You think these are different? They are not. Imagine if unidentified troops were sent to the Michigan legislature to take away protesters in unmarked cars to an undetermined location.

We have laws. We are allowed to express our opinions. Protest propels change and allows us all to say we are free.

“I disapprove of what you say — and will defend to the death your right to say it.” — Voltaire

Claire Stone


Time running out for elected officials to help stop COVID-19 deaths in long-term care facilities

With only a short time until Congress’s August recess, it’s time to take meaningful action to save the lives of nursing home residents.

Before lawmakers leave Capitol Hill, they must come together to pass a bipartisan COVID-19 response package that provides funding and protects long-term care residents with five key requirements:

1. Ensure regular, ongoing testing and adequate personal protective equipment (PPE).

1. Create transparency focused on daily, public reporting of cases and deaths in facilities, communication with families when loved ones are discharged or transferred, and accountability for how billions of dollars in federal funding is spent.

1. Require access to facilitated virtual visitation.

1. Provide better care for residents through adequate staffing, oversight, and access to in-person formal advocates, called long-term care ombudsmen.

1. Stop attempts to provide blanket immunity for long-term care facilities related to COVID-19.

The toll of COVID-19 on our nursing homes and long-term care facilities is nothing short of a tragedy and national disgrace. Here in North Carolina, over half of coronavirus deaths are among nursing home long-term care facility residents. Nationwide, more than 56,000 residents and staff have died.

No state can combat this virus alone. Families want Congress to act now to save seniors’ lives.

Mark Hensley

Associate State Director of Community Outreach and Advocacy

AARP NC Triad Region

Essential workers need assistance, too

Has anyone noticed that a large portion of our “essential workers” seem to be at the lower end of the pay scale?

Maybe the extra $600 that the CARES Act is providing for the unemployed should provide help for some of those folks who are risking their health to bag groceries or deliver pizza. Seems reasonable to me.

On another topic: Please, everyone, wear your mask.

It’s not about freedom. It’s about looking out for each other.

As for all the God-fearing people, I have to ask: Do you think Jesus would be wearing a mask?

Steve Gilley


Mail-in voting will be critical this election

Voting by mail is popular, safe and vital to voter participation amid the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the U.S. Federal Election Commission and the nonpartisan National Vote at Home Institute:

  • States with higher use of mailed-out ballots see a materially higher voter turnout.
  • Voting by mail increases voting participation in local elections.
  • Mail-in ballots increase participation among voters with disabilities.
  • Both “red” and “blue” states use mail-in ballots.
  • Voting at home is less expensive than in-person voting.
  • Ballots are only sent to registered voters.
  • Ballot envelopes are barcoded to one individual voter and validated by voter signature verification.
  • Tampering with or diverting a mail ballot is a felony punishable by large fines and years of jail time.
  • Voters can track their ballots in real time using Postal Service mail-tracking tools.

I’m calling on our local Board of Elections and state elections officials to take action today.

To ensure a safe, fair election this November, all voters must be able to cast their ballots by mail.

Anne Parlier


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