Address 'real' issues
It's good to see the governor is finally dealing with important issues, like foster care of Arkansas children. Unfortunately, Sanders spent her first weeks expanding the "culture wars" in Arkansas, dealing with problems that did not exist and in doing so creating real problems.
Her great concern over the teaching of Black history called the "critical race theory" dealt with something not being taught by any known school system. Research shows that as a subject of some law schools. Banning it simply creates the possibility of a teacher getting reprimanded or even fired for teaching accurate history of segregation that existed fully for so many years, just as teachers in the '50s were often fired for teaching about the failures of communism -- teachers not advocating but implying denunciation of that system. Many still remember those McCarthy years.
Likewise, Sanders attempting to purify our libraries brings to mind the "Bowdlerizing" of Shakespeare in the late 1880s. The 1973 Act that handled questionable material in libraries has worked well. By following DeSantis' lead in Florida, we now run the risk of having our libraries closed by librarians in fear of a large fine for someone's objection of one book. I'm certain our gentle readers are aware of how many classics are presently banned by hundreds of libraries nationwide already. In some cases, even the Bible is on the list of banned books. Full censorship is the work of dictators. History is full of book burnings by "purist" leaders.
I do hope that the governor will continue to address real issues rather than creating more unnecessary law cases through unthinking actions. She was an honor student in college. What has happened to her mentality in recent years?
John W. "Doc" Crawford
'Doin' Time' thanks
On Wednesday, Feb. 15, the members of Zeta Chi, a chapter of Epsilon Sigma Alpha International, sponsored "Doin' Time For Kids," a fundraiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital located in Memphis, Tennessee.
A very heartfelt "thank you" goes out to all the "Jailbirds" who worked so hard to meet their bail, and especially John Holt, Kathy Reed and Bill Wood, who are not members of Zeta Chi. In addition, the Zeta Chi Member Jailbirds included Karen Akins, Regenia Bettis, Coni Hall, Roberta Hatcher, Anne Head, Peggy Holt, Ann Martin, Kathy Nichols, Jerri Roper, Glendalyn Spicer, Joan Teague, Sharon Turrentine, Betty Wood, Ginger Yates and Shelby Church.
In December 2022, one of our Zeta Chi members, Susan Jarboe, passed away. A memorial was set up by her sister, Shelley Bunger, and many generous donations were given to St. Jude in Susan's memory. This memorial helped attribute to the success of Zeta Chi's fundraiser in 2023.
This past year has been very difficult for so many of us! Despite the challenges, and due to compassion and generosity, Zeta Chi was able to raise $30,200 for continuing research at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Zeta Chi is excited about the success of this project and wants to thank the community and all of those who gave to this worthwhile fundraiser.
We will be back again next year, working harder than ever!
Shelby Church, chair
Doin' Time For Kids
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Standing on principles
As a very young person studying history, I always felt so lucky that I was born in the United States of America. My country wasn't like those "other countries" where people didn't have freedoms: freedoms to read what they wanted, to say what they wanted, to write what they wanted and to be who they wanted to be without fear of retribution.
Now, it seems to me that our state government is trying to take away some of those very freedoms. My fear is if they do so, we will be like some of those "other countries" and that my very own grandchildren will no longer have that feeling of being lucky. In my church, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Hot Springs, we have principles that we believe in so strongly that the words are written on banners that hang on the walls in our sanctuary.
Here are our principles:
1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person.
2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations.
3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations.
4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.
5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.
6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.
7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
It is my understanding that the laws our state Legislature is proposing regarding libraries, education vouchers, and LGBTQ citizens violate these very principles and in so doing, will rob us of our freedoms. I urge you to educate yourself on what the legislature's proposed acts could do to our freedoms and to our state. If you feel as I do, then I also urge you to speak up and speak out and let your legislators know how you feel.
Listen not to their words, but instead at what they vote for or against.
Republicans campaign saying they work on behalf of the working "man," which I suspect they literally mean "man" because they sure don't work on behalf of women. They have repeatedly voted against equal rights for women. Voted against child care and now they want to end birth control which has allowed women to advance in the work force and to care for their families.
And then there are children who they also vote no on helping, yet they declare that "all life is precious" as they vote against gun regulations to protect children's lives or vote no, against food assistance so that they are well fed, vote against education with their anti-education privatization of our schools, like they are doing with our Medicare. Vote for less help for higher education.
They are against employers having to pay you any benefits, like health insurance, paid family leave, sick leave and they profess to be the party of family values? I think not.
Now they are on the attack against children who are trans or gay all while saying it's to protect the children? Really? Absolutely nothing they say is for any of us, man, woman or child, period. Their words ring hollow in my ears, it's their actions that I pay attention to. They lie about who they are or what they are for because if they spoke the truth, very few would vote for them and they know it.
Hot Springs Village
Not 'baby murderers'
Just when we thought our Republican legislators couldn't prove themselves any more backward, ill-informed, or cruel, they did themselves one better.
We already have one of the most oppressive abortion bills in the nation, and now they are insisting that we turn the clock back over 70 years to find a way to torture grieving parents even more by insisting that a woman carry to term a fetus that has no chance of survival. In spite of the testimony of an obstetrician and a genetic counselor and in spite of the fact that a team of doctors would make the decision about the viability of the fetus, they made the decision to force a woman to carry to term or to go out of state to terminate a pregnancy when the fetus has no chance of survival.
Over 70 years ago in Arkansas, my mother had at least one pregnancy in which the child was dead in her womb. Not only was there no chance of survival, but the fetus was already dead. Because of the fear of being considered to have performed an abortion, the obstetrician could do nothing. She had to carry it to term or until her body recognized the tragedy and aborted it. She never thought that women of her granddaughters' generation would face the same total disregard for their physical and emotional well-being.
I hope some of the women in Arkansas who have been forced out of the state to end a pregnancy in which the fetus has no chance of survival will sue the state as women are already doing in Texas. Our legislators need to stop hiding behind the term "baby murderers" and accept that not every pregnancy can end happily ever after and leave medical decisions up to women and their doctors.
Hot Springs Village