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Opinion Letters

It should be apparent, even to the most casual observer, that life in America has changed significantly over the past several decades and, in any number of forms, our country is in a very bad way.

Something that concerns me a great deal (which has been pointed out by numerous writers) is the widening gap between the rich and the poor, sometimes referred to as “income inequality.” You can follow this global trend on “World Factbook.” That’s Factbook, not Facebook. The U.S. has been gradually moving up in the rankings, in other words, the rich are getting richer and more in number, the poor poorer and more in number, as those of us desperately trying to stay what we perceive to be middle class, slip perpetually downward.

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Long before Rep. Shuler announced his retirement, Cecil Bothwell had determined that he was willing to do what, in the current political climate, some would consider almost foolhardy— but also darned admirable. Bothwell is no ordinary man; no conventional candidate—he already was running.

If a person of Cecil Bothwell’s caliber is willing to apply the time and energy demanded to stand for the 11th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, citizens are going to have the first opportunity, in my long life, to vote with confidence that ‘We the People’ will be represented. My wife and I have spent two evenings listening to him, including his answers to an extensive range of questions.

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Don Swanson is the Director of Macon County’s “Freedom- Works.” If it is, as he says, an “independent” organization, then his other position, as Treasurer to Republican Senator Jim Davis, appears to represent some conflict of interest. I could not tell whether Mr. Swanson’s response to Margery Abel’s March 28 letter to the editor was supposed to have been written to represent FreedomWorks or Senator Davis-as a representative of Senator Davis Mr. Swanson’s view is not independent and unbiased.

Mr. Swanson is correct in clarifying that North Carolina prohibits candidates from receiving financial contributions from corporations and lobbyists. But what he failed to mention is that they can take money from Political Action Committees (PACs). The Supreme Court decision, Citizens United, does indeed retract hundreds of years of campaign finance law and allows corporations to contribute unlimited amounts, so long as the money does not go directly to local candidates but goes to PACs, which act as their “front groups.”

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Norman Hoffman has his facts wrong about the Trayvon shooting. Based on my experience in teaching the pistol carry permit classes here in the use of deadly physical force, and what I read in the news, and my experience as an NYPD Detective, here is my opinion on what happened. Zimmerman had a legal right to be where he was. He wasn’t on a hunt but was out to observe and report. There is no obligation to comply with a 911 operators suggestion not to follow someone. At the entrance to the community there is a sign that says the neighborhood watch is on patrol and that the police will be called. What the press didn’t tell you is that the neighborhood had eight break-ins by young black men in the last fourteen months. All the residents felt threatened.

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