Letters to the editor

Zeb Vance: Indeed, no simple man

A few thoughts on your recent article entitled “Zeb Vance: No Simple Man” [Jan. 19]. Although Gordon McKinney’s biography no doubt sheds new light on aspects of Vance’s life that have heretofore received less attention, the accomplishments of this great North Carolinian should not be obscured by viewing them through a 21st-century prism. To brand someone a racist by today’s standards adds nothing to our understanding of the 19th century, when most public figures would have fit that designation. The same charge could be (and occasionally has been) leveled at our founding fathers, and the North Carolina Democratic Party was catapulted into power at the dawn of the 20th century on an overtly white supremacist platform, something the party of today would no doubt prefer to forget.

Your article also played up North Carolina’s “most reluctant and conflicted” effort in the Confederacy. Although it is true that the state left the Union reluctantly and went to war only after turning down a Federal request (viewed by Gov. Ellis as illegal) to provide troops to invade other sovereign states, our state rallied to the Southern cause and provided 125,000 Confederate troops, more than any other Southern state, all from a population of less than 1 million. Of those men, 40,000 lost their lives, along with many civilians, which is one reason that we in the Sons of Confederate Veterans still honor today their valor in defense of their state and their principles.

Zebulon Vance was indeed a man of his times, but also a man of remarkable accomplishments who led his state wisely in its most difficult years. He earned his place in history and his monument in the heart of Asheville fair and square. Let’s not let today’s politically correct, 20-20 hindsight blind us to those facts.

— Michael Arrowood
Public Affairs Officer
Walter M. Bryson Camp 70
Sons of Confederate Veterans

Will the real PC party please stand up

That was an interesting article your contributing writer, Jon Elliston, wrote on Gov. Vance [“Zeb Vance: No Simple Man,” Jan. 19]. Given the times in which he lived, it’s hardly a surprise to learn of his racism.

Given the times in which we live, however, and in view of Elliston’s concluding plea “to revisit, and tell the truth about, his story” — why [the] glaring omission [in the line]: “During Reconstruction his political party made common cause with the Ku Klux Klan …”? Is the Xpress so PC that you can’t print the name of [Vance’s] political party, or do you entertain a hope that your readers are so ignorant of history that they might surmise that Vance’s was some fringe, Al Queda-like party, or that the other political party — the one that actually freed the slaves and, 100 years later, ensured passage of the Civil Rights Act — is the one that should be associated with the KKK?

Nice try. May Gov. Vance rest in peace along with William Fulbright, Robert Byrd, Ernest Hollings, Al Gore Sr. and a host of others in his political party.

P.S. Anyone care to speculate on what contributing writers may write 100 years from now about the political party, and those within it, that upheld the abortion holocaust? And … on the topic of civil rights, it should be noted that Gov. Vance’s political party more recently had 12 of its U.S. senators cast the first dissenting vote in 25 years for a secretary of state nominee, who just happened to be an African-American and a woman, at that! What kind of a scene should we expect from Vance’s political party if Clarence Thomas is nominated for chief justice of the Supreme Court?

— Ken Blake
Mars Hill

Vegan lifestyle helps everyone

I have been a vegan for many years. Frequently, I am questioned about my compassion towards humans versus animals. My answer is simple: It is not about leaning more towards humans or animals; it is about having compassion and respect for all life. … We really are all connected … animals, humans and the environment … [and] by having a vegan diet/lifestyle, you are helping everyone.

Veg diets are associated with a reduced risk for [many health problems, including] … hypertension, lung cancer, kidney disease [and] colorectal cancer. Not to mention that there is an endless selection of veg foods that taste wonderful! You can learn more about vegetarian diets and your health at www.GoVeg.com … or www.VegSource.com.

Many do not realize just how devastating meat and dairy production are for our planet. In the United States, animals raised for food are fed 70 percent of the corn, wheat and other grains we grow, a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people — more than the entire human population on earth! Eighty percent of all agricultural land … [and] nearly half of all the water consumed in the United States for all purposes is used to raise animals for food. … Did you know that 55 square feet of rainforest may be razed to produce just one quarter-pound hamburger? …

Last … animal suffering. [Many] don’t wish to be bothered with miserable facts about suffering if it means that we may have to make changes in our own lives. There is a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that I like very much: “You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.” … More than 25 billion animals (individuals) are killed by the meat industry each year. … The average American meat eater is responsible for the death of about 90 animals per year. … Imagine if you were that one little chicken. We must be the voice for all of those without voices.

— Jodi Mann

Contracts in this state should be enforceable

North Carolina is one of only four states that do not allow wage garnishments as a means of collecting court-ordered judgments for commercial debt, such as residential leases. Consequently, those who owe money based on a contract or lease are never held accountable to satisfying the debt/judgment. It is time, now, during this N.C. General Assembly, to demand this change.

Wilma Sherrill, R-Buncombe, previously sponsored unsuccessful legislation for this, and we thank her for her interest and willingness to attack this issue again this year.

If you are a landlord, businessperson or just a righteous American who believes that legal contracts should be enforceable so that the provider of services or living quarters is not unduly harmed, then please contact your elected officials and demand an end to this legal injustice immediately.

It is foul that North Carolina remains this far removed from doing the right thing, and we don’t intend to be affected by previous opposition to this legislation this time.

We have the support of the N.C. Association of Realtors and the Apartment Association of North Carolina. I now challenge all Realtors and (especially) anyone connected to the real estate industry to voice their support, and for each of them to challenge 10 of their friends to champion this cause. Please make a telephone call, write a letter to any newspaper, send an e-mail — anything to create needed awareness and action! Thanks for your immediate and continued support.

— Fisher Caudle
West Asheville

Tree loss means character loss

I am upset and dismayed about the removal of trees from the side of the road in Montford near the Reader’s Corner. It seems that the removal of the trees was totally unnecessary. I was appalled to see that the bulldozed site is the future home of the Asheville Chamber of Commerce.

Asheville will have a difficult time attracting tourists if it does not retain its charm and beauty — and who doesn’t like big, old trees? I remember some of those trees were quite large — sycamores, I think.

Whoever was responsible for this absurd removal of trees should be held responsible and accountable to the citizens of Montford, who are probably unimpressed with the removal of the big, old trees for various reasons. I hope that Asheville is not losing its character to greedy developers!

— Candice Carr Kelman
Irvine, Calif.

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