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Community Forum: Republicans, don't give up values to win
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It was with some sense of discomfort and preconceived anger that I read an article by Cokie and Steve Roberts on reasons the Republicans lost in the recent election. The anger never came to fruition as I found myself agreeing. Yet, my discomfort grew as I looked at the requirements for a platform that would benefit from this revelation.

Yes, Republicans must reach out to the various peoples in America today. As in the past, America's demographics are changing. I'm sure our country will be made greater by the different cultures that find their way here. However, for those who come for a better life, we must cling to those things that make America better. We must reach out to a diverse nation with a unified voice.

The Republican Party must make changes, but I would like to paraphrase Scripture: "For what is a party profited if it wins an election but it loses its soul?"

Cokie and Steve point out that many moderates swung toward the Democrats because they fault Republicans for overemphasizing abortion and same-sex marriage while ignoring the environment and climate change. While those issues are important, I don't think they rise to the same level of importance as abortion and same-sex marriage.

How we look at life, to a large extent, determines how we look at ourselves and others. The view that life begins at the moment of conception only reinforces the concept that every person is precious and should be protected.

How can we reconcile the belief that an attack on a pregnant woman that kills the child she carries constitutes murder, while a death incurred by a doctor is acceptable? If that baby is not fully human, can that attack be anything more than assault against a woman at worst?

Life begins at the moment God uses that act to create a new life. Choice is all ours until copulation. Abortion is the means to escape the consequences of that choice when it is still "rightfully" ours. No person has walked away unscathed from this "choice."

Marriage is the institution within which a man and woman can choose sex without it being a sin in God's eyes. There is much more to what marriage has become legally, romantically and culturally, but the fact remains that marriage is the only way that we can do that which God has instilled within us and it be right before Him. Marriage is meant for one man and woman to enjoy, as ordained by God.

The social benefits of the traditional marriage on children and the family have been documented, and the devastating effect of same-sex marriages have not.

You can re-write history but you'll still see that America was founded by God-fearing people. People throughout American history have turned to God to see them through trouble and tribulation.

America was founded on freedom, and I'll fight for your right to believe as you believe, but I call on God-fearing Americans to cling to those things that have been and are still true. Environment and climate change are important, but we can deal with those in the course of decisions about particular policies.

How we stand on life and marriage will determine what kind of people we are and the legacy we'll leave.
Let's not rush to political correctness for a short-term improvement at the ballot box and surrender the foundations of our beliefs. I would rather fight the good fight and lose than embrace that which I disagree with to win.

Eddy McEntire
Cleveland

Gainesville needs black leaders as example
It's time for a Gainesville change.

I was born in Alabama in the 1950s and moved to Gainesville at the age of 7. The year was 1965.

Things were different compared to the three-room school in Alabama that had no inside plumbing and a dirt field for recreation.

Blacks in Gainesville seemed to support each other more in those days. I wouldn't dare say those were "the good old days" because there was a lot of racial tension. I attended Fair Street School, which was all black in those days. I caught a little bit of the black-side, white-side thing in some public places, but as time went on, I saw blacks owning their own businesses, like Botto Record, Daddy Podes and maybe more.

I remember the Kool Kone and The Show Theater and how Newtown was a respectful place with people who stood up for what was right for the black community. We had places to go clubbing where you wouldn't get killed for stepping on someone's sneakers or looking at someone the wrong way.

I joined the Army in 1979 after high school, and when I came back to Gainesville from my tour in Korea, things were slowly changing. Black businesses were disappearing and drugs seemed to be a way of life for young blacks in our neighborhood. I even fell victim to drugs. So did some of my peers I grew up with.

It seems as though everything went silent and the young generation —  some not all —  were focusing on making things better for our neighborhoods. I thank God that we have people from my times who are positive and lead by example, like Willie Mitchell, the Miles brothers, Ashley Bell, Deborah Mack and a few more.

If I were moving to Gainesville in the 2000s, I would think that the blacks were the aliens because of lack of black-owned businesses. The Mexicans are striving in business. You can't hate on that. They are supporting each other. Our future black leaders are either in prison, on parole, on probation or dead.

I'm lucky to be alive to see a black president. That was Martin Luther King's dream, but I often ask myself: If these days and times were yesteryear, would we have a black president or would Martin even had come into existence?

Some of you aren't going to like hearing the truth, but if we don't change, we're going to slowly disappear. We need future leaders!

Michael K. Jackson
Gainesville

GOP key to ‘filibuster-proof Senate' in 1964
Wyc Orr was on the mark in his Dec. 1 letter when he noted that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 "could not have been passed and then signed into law by a great champion of civil rights, Democratic President Lyndon Johnson, without the U.S. Senate's ability to overcome a filibuster."

Johnson did in fact need a significant number of votes to overcome a filibuster. But readers not familiar with that era might easily make some incorrect assumptions about those votes, particularly in light of Mr. Orr's argument.

Mr. Orr's letter was offered in defense of a possible "filibuster-proof Senate" if Democrat Jim Martin were to defeat Sen. Saxby Chambliss. In the context of his argument, some readers might assume it was Democrats who provided the critical votes Johnson needed to end the filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

But as many readers of The Times know, this was not the case. Johnson had to overcome a filibuster by members of his own party. Southern Democrats led the filibuster.

Most Senate Republicans supported cloture, the shutting off of debate, then ending the filibuster. Then, with the filibuster out of the way, some 84 percent of Senate Republicans, 27 of 32, voted for the Civil Rights Act, including the only Republican among 22 Southern Senators, John Tower of Texas.

Some 20 of 21 Democrat senators from the South voted against the Civil Rights Act. (Ralph Yarborough of Texas was the only Democrat voting for it.) The bill passed 73-27.

Mr. Orr wrote a thoughtful letter. I offer these facts to give a fuller picture of the makeup of President Johnson's "filibuster proof Senate" back in 1964.

Tack Cornelius
Gainesville

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