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Sunday's Letters to the editor

OPINION December 26, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

No time or need to vote?

Dear editor:

It seems our public officials are at the feeding trough again, wanting your money with yet another "special election."

George Pritchett's recent column on the subject called it a "friends and family, low-turnout election" and that well describes the process. It is held away from regular voting dates, people are very busy, it is hard to get away from work to go vote, and there is not a lot of attention to the subject with fewer than 15% of eligible voters turning out. They have been very successful with this type maneuver. We approved building the new jail complex, approved extending the bypass without waiting for state and federal money to do the job, and, not to forget, the 20-year extension of the hamburger tax was approved. Everything has always been approved and they call it a temporary tax! They are asking to extend the current (temporary) 0.625% sales tax, again, but you can stop that and see a lower bill every time you make a purchase in Garland County.

If you are tired of this process, you can show up and vote. If you have seen inflation eat up a lot of your money you can vote no to keep more for your family needs. If you are tired of paying 13.5% tax with your lunch bill you can reduce it with your no vote. If you do not understand why this tax is needed now (with no specific projects stated) while the city and county have large amounts of funds on hand from the federal payouts, you can vote no.

Voting places and times have not been advertised. Please go online at http://www.garlandcountyvote.org, select special election and you will see early voting (Feb. 1-4 and the 7th) and on voting day, Feb. 8, at 13 locations from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., plus absentee ballots are available from the Garland County clerk at 501-622-3610. Please vote no to stop this current, never-ending quick vote grab for more of your money.

P.S.: They are also spending more of our tax money to hold another special election instead of including this subject in a regularly scheduled election.

Jim Pumphrey

Garland County

A special meaning

Dear editor:

Christmas is special to me. It's the only day of the year when the whole world stops to remember the Prince of Peace, and a very special day for all the followers who call Jesus, Lord.

The world is captivated by the story of the birth of Jesus. It is a story about a baby born in a feeding box. He did not come in royal splendor as a king. He was born to an olive-skinned, Middle-Eastern man and woman. His mother, pregnant and unwed and looked upon as property, delivered her son into a world that would undeniably see him as illegitimate, born wrapped in rags and placed in a smelly feeding trough in a dark, foul-smelling barn. A young mother giving birth to a son that later, as an adult, people believed to be of the Son of God.

I find wonderful meaning in the imagery of the Christmas story. This is a legend about something that happened in a time that was cruel and ruthless with an authoritarian social order and culture. One where men executed unlimited control and domination. They abused their power and authority. It's a story authors wrote many years after Jesus died. They really believed this man had a genuine connection to God like no one ever before or after, a story about a liberator coming to set his people free, a story about the birth of a kingly prince who in fact is the prince of peace.

We are told singing angels appeared out of nowhere. A new bright star illumined the babe in the manger. Shepherds came and observed. Wise men seeing the brilliant star traveled a great distance to see what was happening. They brought gifts and honored the newborn child. Christmas Day is the day the whole world comes to a stop to celebrate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.

What happened that day? I believe this is what the beginning of liberation for the broken and oppressed, the marginalized, poor, needy and sick looks like. It doesn't come from those who hold power and authority, it comes from ordinary people, all the followers who think and believe like Jesus.

Christianity's most quoted Bible verse, John 3:16, was translated from Aramaic to Greek to English. The English American Standard Version reads: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes 'in' Him should not perish, but have eternal life." The Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, translated directly to English reads "whosoever believe 'like' Jesus shall not perish but have everlasting life."

It is not until we begin to live act and believe "like" Jesus we are ready to follow and walk in the footsteps of Jesus, serving, healing, feeding, sheltering, clothing, respecting and always loving everybody always.

Believing in Jesus is a choice. Believing like Jesus is a gift from God. It is then that our sacred journey begins experiencing eternal life in the here and now.

Merry Christmas.

George Lindholm

Hot Springs Village

What made the US great

Dear editor:

The United States was first visited by folks from the "Old World" who were seeking a new life 401 years ago, in 1620. They were fed up with what they had in Europe and believed that America would be a "Land of Economic Opportunity." They also wanted religious freedom and were leaving a homeland in which there was famine, crop failures, excessive taxation, and job shortages.

Once here in their new country, they suddenly found that they had unlimited freedom for "upward mobility." It was an increase in status both socially and economically. There were no forced social classes upon them and no forced labor. They were able to own property, form a government friendly to the inhabitants, and improve themselves as they wished. They were able to work at any job they chose and succeed in it.

Suddenly, they were allowed to dream and accomplish their visions for their own families. The spirit was created that America was indeed a Land of Opportunity. A new name, the United States of America, was coined and there were new laws created for the sole purpose of protecting the citizens from an unruly and overreaching government; and, those laws specifically gave the immigrants rights and protections never before provided for the "common folks."

As more and more immigrants arrived, those who were already here attempted to establish pecking order over the newcomers and shun them. The Irish people were shunned as were the Catholics. Then the Italians were not wanted. Then the Chinese were shunned. The list was endless because those who were already here wanted the spoils for themselves -- forgetting that it was a vast land with many natural resources.

Today, with a population of 330 million people, we are still a vast land with many natural resources and we are still a land of economic and social opportunity. Funny thing about it is that we still shun and reject newcomers as if somehow this trait was planted in our genes by our forefathers who did not want to share the riches of this great land.

Today, folks are fleeing their old homes (countries) to avoid political unrest, lack of work, economic hardship, dishonest leaders, and cartels who thrive on drugs, rape, and human trafficking. They seek amnesty in a land still rich with economic opportunities, religious freedom, and safety for their families. Yet, they are shunned.

Every person (except the American Indian) in the United States today is either an immigrant or the descendant of an immigrant. We are a melting pot of diversity bringing different cultures and heritage to be shared with others. We have all come to the United States for the same reason: freedom.

The pursuit of Life, Liberty, and Happiness is the American Way. Sadly, we might be losing it.

John Grillo

Hot Springs

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