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Opinion Letters

I want to thank so many people for their kindness to me while I was recuperating at Macon Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, for your visits, cards, flowers, and phone calls.

To say that you helped me get through those long days would be an understatement. The staff and everyone at Macon Valley were wonderful. Thank you all so very much.

With deepest appreciation,

Pat Breedlove — Franklin, N.C.

I’m sure you would agree that everyone is entitled to certain fundamental rights, simply by the fact that he or she is a human being. We, in America, can appreciate these Godgiven rights since we were born in a country where the Bill of Rights is part of our basic Constitution. But there are many places on our planet where human rights are not fully recognized.

One of the most important documents ever conceived under the auspices of the United Nations was the adoption in December 1948, of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” This document outlines the rights of all peoples everywhere and has become a universal standard of equal treatment. This year will be the 66th anniversary of the adoption of that important document. Do you know which human rights are included in this monumental document?


Even his critics agree that Ronald Reagan did great things for the U.S. economy. Just look at these numbers. The best job creation record in American history, with an estimate unemployment rate of 5.6 percent by the seventh year of his term. Sixty-three straight months of economic expansion and 25 straight months of manufacturing expansion. Investors had a unprecedented gain of 220 percent in their investments in a 5.5 year period, a feat which benefited every aspect of the U.S. economy.

Just to be clear, the above statistics are for the current administration. Here is what a recent article in Forbes had to say "Economically, President Obama’s administration has outperformed President Reagan’s in all commonly watched categories. Simultaneously the current administration has reduced the deficit, which skyrocketed under Reagan. Additionally, Obama has reduced federal employment, which grew under Reagan (especially when including military personnel) and truly delivered a “smaller government.” Additionally, the current administration has kept inflation low, even during extreme international upheaval, failure of foreign economies (Greece) and a dramatic slowdown in the European economy." (Forbes, 9-5-2014, Adam Hartung).


Civic responsibility trumps personal liberty

The vast majority of Americans have regarded and continue to regard our civil liberties as accompanied by certain obligations. Examples include military conscription in times of national crisis and the regular payment of the taxes that support our governing institutions. Individuals insisting that personal liberty trumps these sorts of responsibilities have always been a part of our body politic and have been dealt with harshly or leniently depending of the tenor of the times and the particular circumstances involved. But no matter how widespread such resistance has been, it rarely if ever has weakened national security or occasioned governmental insolvency.

In the last several weeks, the country has been confronted with a situation which has much more potential to disrupt our society. The undetected arrival of a single individual infected with the Ebola virus into the United States and the subsequent mismanagement of infected medical institutional contacts has led to the potential first degree exposure of at least several hundred persons, with countless secondary exposures if by any chance, unlikely as it has proved to be, one of these actually contracted the disease. This should not surprise anyone, as the early markers of an Ebola infection are no different than those of the common ’flu, and that season is about to begin. It will prove extraordinarily difficult to separate the deadly from the benign. It will be necessary to err on the side of caution.

The experience at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas shows how easily the diagnosis can be missed and how quickly the logistics in even a large institution called to manage a single case can be overwhelmed. Given the generous access to our country afforded by our traditional principles of liberty, it is inevitable that more cases will be encountered by our health care system before, hopefully, the current West African epidemic subsides. The remarkable success in managing the secondary cases identified after the Dallas event and in health workers diagnosed prior to arrival at our principle institutions suggests that the associated mortality may be quite low under ideal conditions. The key to continuing this success lies in the recognition that no institution, no matter how well prepared, will be able to handle large numbers of victims. The degree of necessary protection of attendant personnel is unprecedented.


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