In his harsh criticism (Letters, July 15th issue), Tommy Volinchak denigrates the efforts of June West and Memphis Heritage to keep historical preservation in the public eye, particularly trying to save the venerable Union Avenue United Methodist Church. Volinchak shows that he knows nothing about Midtown and the aesthetics and sense of place the area has to offer.
Midtown is a prime example of the new urbanism movement, where urban sprawl, isolated neighborhoods, and indistinguishable commercial areas are discouraged and the value of mixed-use neighborhoods with walkable, bikeable amenities are strongly encouraged.
The idea that any commercial development, no matter how short-sighted, is preferable to a vacant building is nonsense. Following that line of thinking to its logical conclusion, all of Memphis would be like Summer Avenue, with businesses coming and going, short-term employment opportunities, no historic or aesthetic perspective, and a transient population that views Memphis as only a place to make a fast buck and get out.
We can never kill all the terrorists. As long as the U.S. keeps trying to kill all the terrorists, the terrorists have total control over us. They are forcing us to have our young people slaughtered and our finances depleted. They are in control. Why don't people get it?
Wouldn't it be better to heal our own country financially, emotionally, and politically before we travel the wrong way down a one-way street?
Normally, I am a flaming liberal, and I'm not sure where my next statement will take me: Quit sending money out of the country. Quit all the wars. Spend it at home and fix us. After we're fixed, start sending money out of the country again, but this time build up instead of tearing down.
C.P. Cobb's letter (July 22nd issue) praised Congressman Steve Cohen's practice of doing the job he was elected to do. Cohen is an excellent congressman, but, like others, he is guilty of wasting time, resources, and money by giving credence to unnecessary motions and resolutions. I was with Cobb until he listed the resolution calling for our current House of Representatives to apologize for something that a long-ago House was responsible for.
No one in our government or anyone living today is responsible for slavery. We still have prejudice and discrimination on all sides of the race issue and we can only pray for enlightenment for those filled with hate, but to ask for apologies from people or groups not responsible is absurd. It is as perverse as my asking any African American I meet to apologize for the two black men who robbed me at gunpoint on Union Avenue 15 years ago. Or to require a Japanese person to apologize for Pearl Harbor. Or to require every Muslim to apologize for the acts of the fanatics.
People need to forget what has gone before and spend time healing the ills and hatred of today. I will always apologize for my faults, but I refuse to be held accountable for the sins of others. Cohen is a good congressman, but don't hold up that ridiculous resolution as something he should be commended for.
Olive Branch, Mississippi
There are a number of appalling statements that are uttered by people of faith in the name of their religion. However, when Steve Gaines, pastor at Bellevue Baptist, told the City Council, "We believe this ordinance against discrimination discriminates against people of faith," my jaw dropped.
Gaines is arguing with the logic that the Mormon church used to discriminate against blacks, barring them from Mormon priesthood. Similarly, Pastor Gaines is stating that if people of faith are not allowed to freely discriminate against homosexuals, then Christians are being discriminated against.
What Gaines fails to realize, or conveniently ignores, is that discrimination is discrimination no matter how you justify it. Mormon Christians chose to end their discriminatory, racist practices against blacks in order to maintain their tax exemption status. Some day, Baptist Christians may have to make the same choice with their discriminatory practices against homosexuals.
Jason W. Grosser
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