Letters to the Editor

10/22 Letters: Ann Corley Silverman, John R. Thompson, Lynne Kane, Hongbin Gu, John Sharpe and C.P.Mangel

Soil and soul

I applaud Howard Craft’s well written and insightful column, “My son’s questions ain’t what they used to be” (Oct.13). Not only is his son perceptive, but answering a child’s questions honestly is universally important. Fairy tales can be fun and harmless, but not when responding to serious questions about life and history.

His final sentence is luminous, “change …has forever been married to that most beautiful bride/groom: new possibilities.”

As a white woman I have written a similar sentiment from a different perspective. I was writing about my own heritage in the South and my feelings toward the future.

“The soil of South Carolina has a place in my soul. To make peace with the South and my whiteness I have dug into layers of sentimentality tilled into the garden of family stories. Nostalgia can be dangerous. The sentimentality of the ‘Lost Cause’ blurred the brutal foundations of the Southern economy. I think of my great-grandfathers who farmed the soil of the old South. I think about the soils of land and property, ownership of land and ownership human beings. I conflate the words ‘soil’ and ‘soul’ in a reflection of the tangle of affections and cruelties embedded in the heritage of the American South. My emotional landscape with regard to my family’s legacy is fraught with contradictions just as America’s landscape is fraught with injustices. Healing will require tilling through the thick layers of white nostalgic sentiments and turning under the ingrained crop of racial animus. We must explore the present character of racist thinking before we can grow new crops and new possibilities.”

We need voices like Howard Craft’s. I look forward to more columns.

Ann Corley Silverman


Read Next

Craft so ‘right on’

Howard Craft’s column in the Herald Sun “My son’s questions ain’t what they used to be” (Oct.13) is so “right on.”

It was a relief when I read it, for I’ve long felt we in America can never really know the great nation we are until we take in ALL of our history. As Germany did with its Nazi history, we also must recognize our slavery history and recognize it in some depth. We can’t get away with saying, “Oh I know about slavery.” We have to face what it did and still does to our society.

Thanks for Howard Craft’s one little part of that history.

John R. Thompson

Chapel Hill

Vote for these 4

As a Chapel Hill resident I have observed Town Council for about 20 years. My suggestions to continue to hold property taxes steady, bring goods and services and jobs here, and to continue full representation of all residents on Chapel Hill Town Council are to vote for these candidates.

Re-elect Maria Palmer, fluent in English and Spanish, fluent in all kinds of issues and neighborhoods, open-minded.

Elect Allen Buansi, a civil rights lawyer, African American, who has worked on municipal codes, is engaging all, including residents ages 18-25.

Re-elect Ed Harrison, for his experience and evolving interest in Chapel Hill revitalization.

Elect Rachel Schaevitz, chair of American Legion Task Force, able to summarize range of views fairly, practical, moves discussions in timely way.

Local elections affect us all. Plan to vote rarly or on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Lynne Kane

Chapel Hill

Making all voices heard

I’m running for Chapel Hill Town Council. I’m a Chapel Hill resident of 22 years, a UNC medical researcher helping children with autism and developmental delays. I’m married with two daughters. Chapel Hill is my adopted hometown. I love Chapel Hill and look forward to the opportunity to serve my community.

I have served on advisory boards and task forces around our public schools and am a current member of town’s Environmental Stewardship Advisory Board. I’m an organizer of the highly successful LIGHTUP event in Chapel Hill earlier this year. It has been my passion to bring people of different backgrounds and work together to benefit the larger community.

There are three parts of my platform: inclusivity, sustainability and creative economy. If elected, I will ensure that Chapel Hill is welcoming town to all people of ages, races, incomes, and backgrounds to live and thrive. I will carefully evaluate the environmental and social impact of new development projects to make sure that they will not damage our environment and benefit everyone in this community. I will promote the town as a friendly place for people to start and grow new businesses, creating incubator spaces for start-ups and entrepreneurs to try new ideas and test new frontiers. I will encourage collaboration between the public schools, university, and town to collaborate on career training and provide opportunities for young people to develop leadership and entrepreneurship skill. I will promote arts and culture programs, and develop public spaces, greenways, bike lanes and pedestrian paths to bring people together and encourage healthy living.

If elected to the Town Council I’m committed to reaching out to different communities and making sure that all voices are heard in our town’s decision making.

If you share my vision for a more inclusive, prosperous, and sustainable Chapel Hill, I ask you to vote for me in the coming election.

Hongbin Gu

Chapel Hill

Why Hillary lost

I may be only a minnow in the sea, but I strongly disagree with Leonard Pitts’ editorial about how the Democratic Party needs to move further to the left (Oct. 18)

I think the major reason Hillary lost the election to Trump was because she failed to appeal to the Average Joe.

For example, she once made the statement that she would “enlist the finest minds in Silicon Valley to fight ISIS.”

I think the Average Joe knows that instead, ISIS understands the business end of a howitzer.

If the Democrats are to defeat Trump in the next election, they need a stronger candidate with broader appeal.

Just my two bits for the morning.

John Sharpe


‘The Hollow Men’

It has been a long time since I opened my volume of poems by T.S. Eliot, but the outrageous conduct of President Trump this week prompted me to do so. And I hope high school and college educators will take a break from their curriculums to provide Eliot’s poem “The Hollow Men” to their students, and engage them in reflection and discussion.

We are the hollow men

We are the stuffed men

Leaning together

Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!

Our dried voices, when

We whisper together

Are quiet and meaningless

Eliot’s poems are dense, complex and inaccessible for many readers. However, when read in the context of specific social events, they become luminous and prophetic. This week Trump rendered meaningless our traditional social principles of dignity and decency. In his maniacal self-absorption and self-obsession, he told the media that they “could ask General Kelly” whether he had received a call from the former president when his son was killed during military service. This pronouncement by Trump represents a heartless, sickening and pathological subversion of private tragedy for political purpose. Only someone with a heart filled with straw could make such a recklessly cruel and unconscionable statement about the untimely death of a young soldier killed in action.

If we do not revive and redeem “our dried voices” to protest and stop Trump from destroying the very warp of our social fabric – those threads of compassion, decency, dignity and empathy – well, we know the way the poem ends.

C.P. Mangel

Chapel Hill


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