Letters to the editor

Sep. 13, 2013 @ 01:33 PM

Taking exception to ‘exceptional’
Eugene Robinson’s “Is the United States exceptional? You bet!” deserves a response.
It is one thing to assert that a country has made some unique contributions to the world, but quite another to claim that it is better than all the other countries of the world.
“Exceptionalism” is a form of misplaced pride. As such it can easily serve to mask hypocrisy.
Thus, we can demonstrate horror at the use of chemical weapons in Syria, while glossing over the fact that we provided Saddam Hussein with strategic satellite intelligence for his use of these same chemical weapons against Iran in the 1980s.
The song, “America the Beautiful” does not say that God has shed his grace on America; but ardently asks God to do so, and begs that God “mend (America’s) every flaw,” and “confirm (America’s) soul in self-control, (America’s) liberty in law.”
Believing ourselves to be exceptional allows us too easily to feel that we are above the law.  (i.e. we “except” ourselves from the law).
Our national boasting is not virtuous. Besides revealing deep-seated insecurities, it works against effective diplomacy.
We might cringe that it was Vladimir Putin who called us on this, but there’s no denying that he has put his finger on a national sore.

Joe Moran
Durham


Support pollution rules for power plants
This summer North Carolina saw large amounts of flooding throughout the state. Now, a new report reveals the biggest culprits causing the global warming pollution, which scientists warn will bring even worse extreme weather in the future.
Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center finds that North Carolina ranks 12th in the country for highest carbon pollution from its power plants, which are the state’s largest single-source of global warming pollution. In fact, according to the study, three of the nation’s 50 dirtiest power plants are located in North Carolina.
Coming from the Mid-Atlantic region, I have watched some of my closest friends and family struggle with the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Sandy for almost a year now. As flooding, hurricanes and sea levels increase, North Carolina is in danger of experiencing similar levels of destruction. Therefore we cannot to wait to act on climate change and need Sen. Hagan and all of our leaders to support rules to limit pollution from the largest source — power plants.
Sara Price
Durham