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Opinion Letters

With the passing of Dr. Fred Berger in October and after attending his memorial service, I think often about what he meant to me, our family, his friends, and the Macon County community. Collected below are some of these thoughts.

I loved Fred like a brother. As college roommates for three years, we shared more funny moments than can possibly be recounted. Though we were the original “odd couple,” we made it all the way together through Duke. Fred was the more subdued of the two of us, and was the voice of reason. We admired one another’s special talents — his included guitar, a mellow singing voice, and excellent study habits, and mine was the ability to ace a term paper thrown together in a frantic 48 hours. Fred never watched much TV while at Duke. I guess I put in enough “tube time” for both of us.

I always envied Fred’s having grown up with the same guys all the way through high school. He was an exceptional, lifelong friend to his buddies from Clayton, Mo. I got to know Rupert, Abe, Rock, and Kenny decades before meeting them. After all, they were the main characters in stories Fred told — often punctuated with impressions of their speech and mannerisms. And though Fred never sought to be the central figure who drew them together, I feel he probably was.


I support your public effort to urge the United States Forest Service to reevaluate its plan for the Nantahala National Forest and to work with the Macon County Board of Commissioners to support the inclusion of wilderness areas within the USFS plan.

I agree with the principles that you have stated, namely, the promotion of an environment that will attract and be enjoyable for the public. Your stated principles are economic. They are realistic given the scope and responsibilities of your office.

I urge you and the public to consider another reason to support wilderness. I call this the “Bartram Mercy Principle.” I’ll explain.


The quest or search for reality in life and living is within each of us and is what makes human beings distinctly different than anything that has been created. It's like a seed that's placed within the soul of humanity searching for fertile ground to find root in a truthful reality, even when we are told there is no reality to be found. The two basic realities we all must realize is that the universe exists, and has a reason for being there and what part we play within it; and that man is unique, and is searching for purpose and has questions that need answers.

Humanity cannot escape the reality of what is, no matter what we believe or think. Even Jean Paul Sartre, had no answer for this but stated “... something is there.” Any serious thinking has to reason out and explain these two great phenomena of the universe and man. Some “cause” that has always been and is coherent and can be known, it's like reading a map that a designer has laid out with the beginning starting point as well as the final destination and all the important points in between. Many systems have a hit and miss approach in them, some things you can follow but other things you cannot, their map for life or what is real are not clear or have no reasoning to follow. Some of this we are told comes from within one's own mind and cannot be explained fully, or you have to find within yourself your own experience or reality.


Someone recently commented that the Democratic Party of your parents is not the same we have today. Today, it consists of Liberals and Leftists. Sadly, it’s probably true.

Because early Democrats supported their position on slavery using Biblical justification, one must wonder if they aren’t trying to do the same thing today by making it all but impossible for our black Americans to escape the government plantation.

It is a well-known fact that you can take any group or tribe, of any color or location, and quickly make them dependent by giving them free goodies. This is precisely what Democrats have done to our black Americans.

An obvious consequence we see in the black community is a lack of self-respect but who could possibly have self-respect when you are a working age citizen dependent on government handouts? How can a 15-year-old single mother gain self-respect while on a government dole?


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