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Community Forum: Conservatives should offer ideas, not just criticism
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I take great issue with Jonah Goldberg. I do feel that conservatives, or at least the Republican party should apologize and distance themselves from the likes of Rush Limbaugh. He is a rabble-rouser, pandering to the anger in many conservatives, skinheads and white supremacists. He should be ashamed of "wishing our president would fail."

In the first place, he is our president. Disagree with him, OK, but take a level-headed approach. To stir up more discontent in this country is the last thing we need right now.

Also, coming out with a statement such as Rush made is absolutely no way to persuade anyone to come on to your way of thinking. Rather, it further divides. I have many concerns about our president, our legislators and government as a whole, but blatant rabble-rousing language does nothing to help find a common ground.

What we need are people who can talk to one another, not yell. We need people who can see all sides of situation, evaluate, compromise and come out with a workable solution.

If one feels our president is wrong, he should say so, but start out by saying what he wants changed within the policies proposed, not blasting out with some shock statement such as, "I hope the president fails!" This does appeal to many, but not to those who walk upright. You only need a fraction of your brain to realize this rabble-rousing is counterproductive when seeking any meaningful change.

I might add, that the mantra of conservatives is "small government," but they want to control a great deal of how our schools are operated, push one brand of religion and limit critical thinking. They want little control on business as long as it is business THEY approve of. So big business says, "heck, I can get it made ever so much cheaper over seas." And our elected political leaders on both sides have let this happen.

The leaders of our industry pandering to stockholders made it happen. This leaves our country defenseless. No manufacturing right now and a poor citizenry with no jobs. I might point out that these same industry leaders clearly have proven themselves overpaid, having poor judgement, and many are criminals. There is not a man on this planet worth over a couple of million a year.

Yet our business leaders with the sanction of our government have sold our nation for a handful of silver.

I don't know what the answer is, but when a company gets to be a certain size, it does need monitoring by someone. It seems morally wrong to build a company to, perhaps, 1,000 employees, then suddenly close that plant to hire Chinese, Indonesians, Indians, etc., while walking away from the 1,000 U.S. citizens left with nothing and often little place to go or few alternatives. Our industrial leaders are no more to be trusted than our political leaders.

Personally, I believe that the behavior the leaders of both political parties and our top industrial management have been committing treason. Giving our country away for their own personal benefit.

John Stockard

School layoffs: Put blame where it belongs
In reading The Times and other articles on the reduction in force for Hall County teachers, I am surprised that little is being said about where the real blame belongs. Most people are bemoaning the fact that we are stuck in the worst recession in the last 70 years, but this action did not come about simply due to a bad economy. We the people, should lay the blame right where it belongs: on a state legislature that refuses to make education a priority.

How long will we continue to reward bad behavior in this county? Our state leaders have cut education here in Hall County for seven years straight and it doesn't look like it will stop anytime soon. This is not a revenue problem, but a problem created by shortsighted men who refuse to make education a priority.

My grandpa always said you either build schools or prisons. Please ask our state legislators with what are they going to pay for the prisons? Mine isn't speaking to me.

Chris Strickland
Flowery Branch

We can overcome job losses, trouble together
Every morning, I go out to get the paper before I leave on my day's journey. I seldom miss a morning getting the paper unless I have to leave before the paper man delivers it.

I enjoy looking at the front page first if it doesn't have any or too much bad news on it. On March 5, I was saddened when I saw in bold letters, "Teachers, staff on chopping block." And, it goes on to say that 100 Hall system workers will not get new contracts.

I cannot help feeling sad, because for 21 years I was employed by the Hall County Board of Education. I have come to know many of them. I can truly say that I have never worked with a finer group of people.

Considering that 100 people will lose their jobs is not easy to swallow, but with God's help, we will overcome it. They won't be hurting alone; it will be all of us. But if we band together, we will weather this storm as we have so many before. I cannot say that the job will be easy, but I can say as Americans, under God, we can make it. I can hear the echoing of many before me as they said "with God's help we can make it."

It is never easy when employment comes to an end. My grandfather never worked another day for another person after he was released from slavery, but he managed to raise several children on his farm. To my knowledge, he was a godly man who knowingly hated no one after being freed. But he trusted God, worked hard and outlived two wives. From what I know of his life, it resembled the life of Father Abraham in Genesis.

We are so used to having things done for us by the city, county, state and federal governments, which may be good at times, but in the long run may cost us more than we are willing to pay if we had banded together and gotten the job done at a fraction of the cost.

The lottery was suppose to have done so much for schools and students. Many were fooled into voting it in by believing it would solve our school problems. Those millions have taken wing and flown away before they got to their true destination.

There is not a better time than now for this administration to get the message that without God, you can do nothing. The sooner it is put into practice by all, the better things will be for all. Even a good doctor cannot help his or her patients good if the patient won't follow the doctor's instructions.

Don't stop printing the news because it motivates people to try to find good lasting solutions. Otherwise we wouldn't know.

Jesse Jenkins