Reader weary

of political attack ads

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

As a physician, I was disappointed by Debra Rodman’s personal attack ad calling Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico, a quack. A quack is a very insulting and offensive term in the medical community. To a large extent, physicians live by their reputations, which are easily tarnished by even baseless attacks. This ad hominem charge was baseless and mean-spirited.

Let me state that Dunnavant is an obstetrician-gynecologist of the highest caliber of knowledge and skill. She is well-regarded by patients and their families, doctors and others in the medical community. Her health policy record in the Virginia Senate demonstrates her commitment to patients through public health initiatives to reduce addiction, including the opioid epidemic; insurance reforms to cut out bureaucratic red tape; and support of market competition to increase choice and drive down costs.

I am tired of these negative political ads and efforts to sully the reputations of opponents. If such tactics continue, we will struggle to recruit people of the quality of Dunnavant into politics/public service.

J. Gregory Fisher.

Glen Allen.

Reader supplies verse

in response to letter

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Correspondent Jim Taylor recently wrote a letter wondering how the use of a transgender pronoun could possibly violate the Christian faith of West Point High School teacher Peter Vlaming. Taylor then went on to ask readers to “provide chapter and verse where Jesus says, ‘This violates your Christian faith.’ ” Taylor subsequently answers his own question by saying such a passage doesn’t exist.

In Mark 10:6 (KJV), Jesus says, “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.” Note that gender, according to Jesus, has nothing to do with how people identify and or what they think they should be. It has everything to do with how God made them. Therefore, we can reasonably infer from Jesus’ words that Christians have no business playing along with any charade that flies in the face of God.

Terry Mitchell.


What is vaping industry

costing our community?

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

With the increasing news of death and illness brought on by vaping and the growing use of e-cigarettes by the general population, perhaps we should turn attention to hometown Altria and all they “do” for our communities. Reviewing the company website, you can find their proud tout of $74 million in national community in-kind donations. They are “giving back.” And locally, we enjoy the Altria Theatre and many other contributions.

However, as opposed to what they “do,” what are they “taking”? Consider the fact that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23% of all high school students, the majority being minors, use some sort of tobacco product. Consider Altria’s $12 billion ownership in Juul, the leading U.S. vaping device company now with an Altria executive running this business. Consider Juul’s kid-friendly flavors, like mango and bubble gum, that lure teens into trying vaping products that can addict them to nicotine. Finally, consider Altria’s multistory and massive research center downtown (ironically next door to VCU Medical Center) that no doubt is cooking up new recipes designed to attract, addict and produce more revenue for this organization. Yes, it is time to consider hometown Altria and focus on what they are “taking” from us — they are compromising teen and adult health, draining health care spending and tricking us to think they are our community partners.

Thomas Raper.


Set aside arguments

to better serve nation

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

While fighting for American independence, Thomas Paine said, “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

While our country continues to fight for our Constitution, our democracy and our freedom, it appears we have lost track of our soul, our love of country, our commitment to democracy and freedom. But rather we are die-hard Republicans or Democrats rather than Americans.

We are afraid to talk to each other because it is not an intelligent conversation aimed at understanding but rather arguments, pure and simple.

We are attacking our institutions and our fellow Americans. We do not all need to agree. We should not all agree. No one is all right or all wrong. We need to dig for and support the middle ground we share and build on it with the strength and fervor Americans have used to build and defend our great United States of America.

We cannot give up and surrender to discourse, to hate, to misunderstanding, to fear. We are these United States. We need to stand up together — for truth, for freedom, for democracy.

Ask yourself what are you doing to contribute to the discourse? Are you just repeating “what you just heard,” parroting what the talking heads or politicians said? Or are you listening with an informed ear, researching the truth, the history, the sources in order to form your own informed opinion and position?

We need to listen, to learn and to understand, not yell at each other. Are you fighting for and defending truth, freedom, democracy?

Do your job as an American. Participate intelligently with an open mind and heart. And vote.

Esther T. Lee.


‘Being royal a duty,’

even in face of attacks

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In response to Anne-Marie O’Connor’s recent op-ed column, I would suggest that the challenges Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex and wife of Prince Harry, faces in the U.K. media is less about being a person of color as it is that she carries the double strikes of being Hollywood and American, thus perceived by the British as being self-promoting and brash. The new royal duchess has not yet figured out that, in the words of King George V reprimanding a young princess trying to skip an event, “Being royal is a duty, not a hobby.”

Ellen LeCompte.


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