Letters, Dec. 1

Nov. 30, 2012 @ 06:22 PM

Get N.C. out of the war business

Referring to the famed "fiscal cliff,” House Speaker John Boehner said this week that it’s time “to get serious about the spending problem our country has.” Actually, it’s time to get serious about the military spending problem we have. Those who protest the government’s excessive spending all too frequently overlook the Pentagon budget, claiming that we cannot weaken our security.

To be secure, we need much more than weapons systems and tens of thousands of troops fighting distant ill-conceived wars. True security is about the education of our children, the resilience of our economy, the strength of our infrastructure, our preparedness for catastrophic weather events, and ultimately, it's about maintaining moral and ethical communal relationships.

For the past decade, North Carolina’s leaders have worked to make us the “nation’s most military friendly state” and to ensure that we get our share of the Pentagon’s bonanza. War used to be considered a dirty but sometimes necessary business. Now it’s just a business.

Let’s cut military spending and get North Carolina out of the dirty business of killing and war profiteering. Then, let’s address our true national interests.

Betsy Crites


Cancer-free new year

Happy New Year! Too early? For many Triangle residents, the holiday season began before Thanksgiving. Nov. 14 brought in the New Year for people all around the world, particularly for those of Hindu and Islamic faiths.

Let’s make a New Year’s resolution that is practical and realistic. October was National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and January is National Cervical Cancer Month. Let’s combine the two to commit to getting regularly screened for breast and cervical cancer! “I am a Muslim woman. Where can I go?” Minority women are less likely to be recommended a mammogram by physicians, but Muslim women also feel less comfortable discussing sensitive health topics. The Mariam Clinic in Raleigh serves uninsured adults with culturally sensitive, high-quality care. The free clinic accepts all individuals openly, but about one-third of their patients are Muslim. Much of the staff happens to be Muslim women, but they purposefully ensure that it is a female doctor who performs wellness exams, which includes breast and cervical cancer screening. The barriers of getting these important screenings are understood by the clinic, and they have adapted their practices for effective cultural competency.

Let’s start the New Year right by being cancer-free!

Amy Patel
First-year MPH student in Health Behavior at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public
Chapel Hill