Hanover leadership

rejects white supremacy

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In his news story “White supremacists in Klan robes hold surprise rally outside Hanover courthouse” C. Suarez Rojas reported on a small group of Ku Klux Klan members who gathered at Hanover Courthouse on July 6. I do not know if Rojas actually went to the site of the gathering or simply called around to get other’s opinions.

I do know that he contacted me and we had a much longer conversation than reported in his article. What bothers me is not what he wrote but what he didn’t write. What he wrote included some of my words but not the context of our conversation.

After asking if I was aware of the gathering, I explained that I was and that our sheriff’s department had been in contact with the participants to ensure that everything was peaceful and within the law. At the time, I believed the gathering had already dispersed. He then asked me: “What is Hanover County going to do about it?”

This is where things went a little haywire. I told him that we would do nothing, as to do so would be in violation of the Constitution of the United States, which guarantees all of us the right to peacefully assemble and speak our views. This is very important as these rights are what keep us free. These freedoms can only exist if they exist for all. We cannot guarantee them for the righteous and noble and deny them to those we see as less fit.

I made it clear that I condoned none of the Klan’s ideas or principles and that white supremacy is in no way condoned by me or anyone else in Hanover’s leadership. While I do not care for the messenger, I, you and all of us have a responsibility to ensure that peaceful pursuit of lawful assembly and freedom of speech are protected for all.

The KKK has the right to express its message and I have the right to reject it and I do.

W. Canova Peterson,

Chairman,Hanover County Board of Supervisors.

Like American backbone? Re-elect Donald Trump

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

It was gratifying to see on the front page of the July 5 issue, the story of 91 immigrants who completed the process for becoming legal citizens of the United States. We will be a better country because they are here. Then, on the Opinions pages was more of the unending criticism of President Trump for the situation on the border and every other thing his opponents can dream up. With tons of opportunity to help, the Democrats have done nothing because they have a philosophy of never letting a crisis go to waste.

The situation on the border is too good an opportunity to slam the commander-in-chief. If we had a wall, we would greatly diminish the flow, be able to clearly identify the real asylum seekers and help them. It takes a lot of strength to live under constant ridicule and I applaud the president for holding the course. The Democrats don’t hate Trump for what he is doing; it’s hard to be against apple pie. They just can’t stand him for what he did — fairly and completely turning off the spotlights for Hillary Clinton’s coronation. Nobody knows how 2020 will go, but if you like America with a backbone and not just a wishbone, then keep Trump in the Oval Office for another four years.

Lewis Brandt.

Dillwyn.

Personal opinions don’t belong in news stories

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

I became interested in journalism as a high school student during the Watergate period. The independent doggedness of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, and the absolute requirement by editor Ben Bradlee that the reporters obtain two independent sources for all content stood out as true professionalism. In contrast, I am appalled at what is written in many national news stories these days by writers from the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post and others.

This is not a rant about fake news or liberal media bias, but a plaintive cry of exasperation at how unprofessional the national media has become. I could provide myriad examples but a most egregious one that prompted this letter was an AP news story by Zeke Miller and Jonathan Lemire published June 30, “North Korea: Trump’s offer to meet Kim a ‘very interesting suggestion’” about the invitation by President Trump to Kim Jong Un to meet at the DMZ in Korea. The second paragraph read “The invitation, while long rumored in diplomatic circles, still came across as an impulsive display of showmanship by a president bent on obtaining a legacy-defining nuclear deal.” Based on what do they use such characterizations? These writers didn’t even use the lazy shortcut of saying, “Some say that…” to cloak their own opinions.

That line should have been edited. Bradlee would not have tolerated such sloppy writing. This isn’t an isolated case — it is all too typical these days. The journalism profession needs to return to its role of a watchdog that reports the news, not a vehicle in which political opinions are espoused on the news page. The line above should have never appeared anywhere other than the Opinions pages.

I am not sure the political climate in the U.S. will get any better until our national reporters do their job and leave opinions to the pages devoted to them.

Sid Spencer.

Midlothian.

Harris, Biden should focus on economic inequality

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In 1971, in Bradley v. Richmond School Board, the courts ordered school busing in Richmond. The parents of white children pulled their students from public schools and founded private schools (such as the one I attended, which was founded in 1972). As a result of these “white flight” schools, Richmond public schools are less than 10% white today. Integration did not occur and hasn’t occurred, and choice education remains a largely white experience.

We are in the middle of a national conversation about school busing. Richmond’s example reminds us that even if school busing had been ordered on the national level, the private economic power of white families would have prevailed nevertheless.

While nothing would please me more than for President Trump to lose in 2020 to a black woman, California Sen. Kamala Harris’ rebuke of former Vice President Joe Biden is ultimately simplistic. Certainly, black children gained access to historically white public schools, but the goal should have been rooted in economics and the indifference to racial injustice that wealth permits.

The same system of economic inequality perpetuates racial divisions today. This should be the target of both Harris and Biden’s energy, especially if we are going to defeat Trump. After all, Trump used his inherited wealth to exploit the poverty and political vulnerability of minorities for his own advancement.

Theodore Warner.

Richmond.

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