Letters to the Editor

0310-What You're Saying: Ernie Wendell, Glenn Gillen, and Rock E. Welch

Trump a pragmatist

I would appreciate an opportunity to comment on the Leonard Pitts commentary that appeared in Wednesday's paper.

First, I must admit I’m not a journalist. I’m merely a retired sailor (U.S. Navy), now a very senior citizen, who, after military service, managed a successful manufacturing operation in Durham for almost 20 years. I must also admit, at the outset, that I do not have a liberal bone in my body; a Conservative for a period that led to constant frustration; but always a pragmatist by nature.

As a businessman I had to solve problems on a daily demand basis. I can understand some of President Trump’s frustration as he approaches so many long-standing issues that have defied urgent solution. He is not an ideological Republican nor an equally irresponsible Democrat. He is typically pragmatic (problem solving) in his approach to most issues. He is, in fact, a highly successful businessman in his own right. He is definitely not a party-political person; which automatically makes him someone Pitts could never understand. Pitts has given new meaning to the word Leftist and therefore ideologically unacceptable to me as a legitimate critic. His political bias poisons his ability to interpret political issues fairly.

The intent of a pragmatic person is not to defend indefensible ideological political positions but rather to take a hard line toward problem resolution. No matter his individual personality, no matter his frank language that may, at times, be offensive to some, no matter his choice of problem approach. He is, after all, a pragmatist. He will not dodge his perceived method of problem resolution but he will change direction when confronted with new information. However, it is guaranteed he will not perform in the manner of our normal vacillating politicians, from all political parties, that habitually use unresolved problems to get re-elected. Let Trump be Trump! Go with the flow as he tries to, once again, make America the light that shines on greatness as it leads the free world to peace and prosperity.

Ernie Wendell


When Woody was on the radio

Like many Tar Heel fans, I would often turn down the sound on the TV and listen to Woody Durham on the radio, even if his play-by-play call did not sync up with the video. If Carolina was playing a game while I was driving across the state, I would search up and down the dial until I found a local affiliate of the Tar Heel Sports Network.

After Woody retired, he and his wife Jean sat in the upper deck of the Dean Dome in the section where I ushered at the time. He was gracious with fans asking for photos or autographs, and still intently watched every game. (He would often get a copy of the half-time stats just for his personal perusal.)

Through a mutual contact, I received a signed copy of Woody’s autobiography for Christmas one year and he was kind enough to write “Thanks for your time in the Smith Center ushering basketball games.”

No, thank you, sir, for all you have meant to UNC, its Athletic Department, and its fans. I extend my condolences to Jean and the Durham family. Rest in peace, Woody.

Glenn Gillen


Friction at Duke Divinity

The recent protest by Duke Divinity school students should not be surprising. When you advertise the school as ecumenical, interdenominational and inclusive, but refuse to ordain LGBTQ graduates by Methodist church law, there is bound to be friction.

The failure of Duke Divinity to address pressing social issues is not new. I was in attendance in l968 at Duke Divinity when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered 50 years ago and I participated in the strike by Afro-American employees at Duke demanding better wages and working conditions. Only a hand full of Divinity School students participated and they were not supported by their seminary peers even though hundreds of Duke undergraduate and graduate students refused to go to classes and refused to eat in the Duke dining halls until the strike was settled.

If Duke Divinity and mainline Protestant churches continue to ignore social justice issues, and only focus on insular Christian communities espousing traditional values, the atrophy of the Christian church will only accelerate.

Rock E. Welch

Fernandina Beach, Florida

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