Letters to the Editor

07/15 What You’re Saying: Rosemary Ford, Kimberly Israel, Mario Lomuscio, Linda F. Hube, Kayla Saunders

Jordan Peterson during a lecture on January 10, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Rene Johnston/Toronto Star/Zuma Press/TNS)
Jordan Peterson during a lecture on January 10, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Rene Johnston/Toronto Star/Zuma Press/TNS) TNS

Durham deserves better

Growing up in Durham, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of spending my formative years in the most wonderfully diverse, artistic and tolerant city our great state has to offer. Sadly, it seems of late that tolerance is on a steep decline among certain progressive publications and Durham’s illustrious City Council.

Of course I’m writing of the drama surrounding Dr. Jordan Peterson’s scheduled lecture at DPAC.

Upon reading Indy Week’s June 28 article on the subject and the subsequent statement issued by Mayor Pro Tem Jillian Johnson, it has become readily apparent that the rights and opinions of others are only respected when aligned with the ideological thought police. The good people of Durham deserve better. They don’t need a defamatory hit piece quoting cherrypicked interviews taken wildly out of context to tell them how to think. They certainly don’t need the Durham City Council using such demagoguery in a statement intended merely for political posturing.

If Dr. Peterson is truly the misogynistic transphobic racist the statement claims him to be, then let the man speak, for surly he will expose himself as such. The people are intelligent enough to decide for themselves the objective truth. I’d prefer we not push racists into the shadows; they are easier to identify when bathed in light.

Mario Lomuscio

Raleigh

Freedom of speech

Jordan Peterson is neither a homophobe, transphobe or a misogynist. He’s a Jungian. And if you’ve spent any, literally ANY amount of time listening to the man speak, and you’ve taken even an introductory psych class, this should be immediately apparent. If you disagree with him, debate him. Use reasoned argumentation. Calling him names simply indicates that you are either 1) unfamiliar with his actual work, or 2) so lazy that you can’t even string together a coherent criticism of a person you disagree with.

I am frequently reminded of Dave Rubin’s statement that, “Defending my liberal values has become a conservative position.” And I have spent a lot of time worrying about upsetting liberal friends or being subject to name-calling for even being a Republican, since all Republicans are de facto bigots and racists, of course.

At this point, I’ve tired of the identity politics, hysteria, persecution complex, and actual racism, stereotyping, and intolerance from the far Left. This doesn’t apply to folks who are more moderate, or simply subscribe to different economic philosophies than myself. But I am tired of kowtowing in fear of expressing (what I believe to be, and previously were) relatively uncontroversial opinions.

I have thoroughgoing disagreements with many fellow Republicans, as I am as socially liberal as possible...but “socially liberal” in its truest sense, is leaving other people alone and allowing them to conduct their personal lives as they see fit, provided they aren’t physically harming anyone else. That means – gasp – you allow social conservatives to live according to a philosophy that you may disagree with.

As Noam Chomsky, the intellectual giant of liberalism, said, “Goebbels was in favor of free speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you’re really in favor of free speech, then you’re in favor of freedom of speech for precisely the views you despise. Otherwise, you’re not in favor of free speech.”

Peterson isn’t, as Durham City Council suggested, being gifted a “right to a platform or an audience.” He has a gigantic fanbase who are willing to pay money to listen to him speak. If you are unaware of this basic facet of reality, you are out of touch and should seriously question your own ability to represent your constituents, who are speaking with their wallets. Don’t like him? Recruit a follow-up speaker. It’s not rocket science.

Kayla Saunders

Government interference

The Durham City Council wrote a statement saying members “respect Mr. Peterson’s right to hold his opinions and to freely state his opinions without government interference. … However, we wish to emphasize that a person’s right to free speech does not include the right to a platform or an audience.”

The Durham City Council is a governmental body. Mr. Peterson is scheduled to speak at DPAC. DPAC is owned by the city.

The City Council’s post constitutes government interference. It proposes that a particular performance at DPAC (and it is a performance) be boycotted. Coming on the heels of the Indy Week letter which requests that the Nederlanders and PFM (Professional Facilities Management) rescind its invitation to Peterson and the deliberate mention that there is no “right to a platform,” the council is exerting pressure to alter the current contract which, they note, gives Nederlanders and PFM the “entire responsibility for the choice of shows and performers.”

With this post, the members of the City Council have exceeded the scope of their authority. They have used their public office to interfere with an existing contract. They have subjected themselves personally and possibly the city to liability. They have gratuitously opined as to what citizens of the Triangle Area can be trusted to see and hear.

Many in the community have been “disturbed and angered” by City Council’s bent toward taking stands on issues well beyond the duties of their office.

Rosemary Ford

Chapel Hill

A ‘nonexistent problem’

The voter ID amendment that will be on the ballot in November includes no information about what kind of ID will be accepted. If it passes, the details will be decided by the legislature.

Expecting people to vote on an amendment with no knowledge of how it would be implemented is characteristic of a party that finds it acceptable to write a budget in secret and refuse to make changes in light of discussion.

We don’t need government transparency, however, to predict the likely results of this amendment. At best, it will be challenged and the state will spend our tax money defending it in court instead of improving our schools or providing health care to the poor.

No one has ever been charged with in-person voter fraud in North Carolina, but proposing a law to solve a nonexistent problem is nothing new for N.C. Republicans, as we saw with HB2 in 2016.

At worst, a voter ID amendment will disenfranchise many. Politicians who work for the common good have nothing to fear from high voter participation. What does that say about those seeking this amendment?

Kimberly Israel

Durham

Thank you, Fire Department

Twice in my life I’ve called the fire department – once in 1976, and once again this week. Each time the firefighters made me feel like I did the right thing, even though they didn’t need to use their fire hoses.

In 1976, I was preparing supper for my family while a friend lounged downstairs. We began to smell something burning, like insulation. No smoke, no flame, just the smell. Finally, concerned, we called the fire department.

They arrived, lights flashing, and entered the house in very large boots, hat, heavy coat, ax in hand, agreeing there was reason for concern. They searched everywhere, including in the attic space, but no evidence of fire. Finally, one of us noticed that the smell was most intense at the top of the stairway. Downstairs, our friend was burning incense. Upstairs I was cooking collard greens. The two smells merged right at the top of the stairs, resulting in a smell like burning insulation. The firemen completely agreed and had a good laugh, but insisted that we did the right thing in calling them.

Then on Wednesday evening of this week, I once again called the fire department when a transformer went out and a power line caught fire on Carolina Avenue beside our house. The fire truck arrived within minutes, and the firefighters monitored the scene until Duke Power arrived, also within minutes of my call (thank you Duke Power). Thank you first responders for serving our community so well.

Linda F. Hube

Durham

Speak up

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