Courier Letters to the Editor 3-18-15

Much ado about nothing

Dear Editor,

On “Meet the Press” on Sunday, March 8, Lindsey Graham boasted that he has never sent an email. Really? In the 21st century, an educated U.S. senator has never sent an email? He said this in a segment where he blasted Hillary Clinton for a “lack of transparency.”

Nothing is less transparent than the snail mail used by Graham! It makes you wonder what he is trying to hide. Snail mail is also much more expensive than email. Why is Graham wasting our taxpayer dollars?

Snail mail is also much slower than email. Does Graham want our government to operate more slowly? In a global economy, snail mail will make us less competitive. Could this be a secret plot to make the U.S. less competitive and give an advantage to other countries?

Graham did not tell us what email he did not send and when did he not send it. We need an inquiry to get to the bottom of this.

You may be thinking that this letter is pointless, even silly. You are correct. It is.

However, this letter is modeled on the conservative attacks on Hillary Clinton’s emails. In my opinion, both these attacks on her and this letter are the same: much ado about nothing.

Carl Fortson


Investing in our children

Dear Editor,

Working at Clemson University, I’m privileged to see success stories happening every day as graduates begin their professional careers with outstanding employers across the country.

Being offered a good job is not something that happens by accident, however.

Students must work hard and prepare diligently so they are ready when opportunities arise.

While the U.S. economy has picked up steam in recent months, finding the right opportunity is still a challenge. Hundreds of people apply for every job opening; the competition is intense. In this mad rush to land a desirable position, applicants must distinguish themselves by highlighting their education, experience, skills and character. In such a competitive environment, those who are lacking in a certain area are at a distinct disadvantage. Sadly, there are some disadvantages that fall outside an individual’s ability to control, such as the elementary, middle and high schools that person will attend.

As a society, it is in our self-interest to prepare young people for success in an increasingly globalized economy. A well-educated workforce will ensure continued prosperity for our country, and not incidentally, ensure future workers can ably produce the goods and services upon which we will rely in retirement. We owe the coming generation the best education possible, both for their sake and for ours.

It is my hope that residents of Pickens County will choose to invest in their children and provide support for a school district that has been woefully underfunded for the last decade. Let’s not look back years from now on a terrible “harvest” due to miserly behavior reminiscent of Ebenezer Scrooge; instead, let’s emulate Johnny Appleseed and rejoice in the knowledge that what we’re planting now will yield a bountiful harvest for those who follow.

Neil Burton


On prayer at meetings

Dear Editor,

During its March meeting, the Pickens County School Board will be revisiting the prayer policy.

The current policy was adopted in 2013 with a great deal of opposition from the community and forces censorship of religious speech upon the board members who participate in the prayers.

The school board is considering a new policy that is modeled after the 2014 Supreme Court ruling in the case with Greece, N.Y. The new prayer policy is in line with the law of the land and allows the freedom of speech we are ensured through the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights. not to mention being upheld by the Supreme Court.

The new prayer policy passed 100 percent in September but was tabled for a time of consideration in October. The new prayer policy is up for a vote during this month’s board meeting. Citizens of Pickens County are strongly encouraged to contact all school board members and exhort them to pass the new policy during the upcoming board meeting. There is contact information for each of the board members on the Pickens County school website.

Rev. Jimmy Burrell


Saitta issues response

Dear Editor,

I’d like to respond to a letter from last week, which was addressed to school board members and asked why trustees are “wasting time” debating a policy about praying before a board meeting. The writer suggested the solution is simple: at the start of a meeting announce there will be a moment of silence, and those wishing to pray may do so silently.

My personal response starts by asking the citizens of Pickens County a question. Should we elect leaders who respect the ultimate authority of God and believe in the traditions that made America great? Or should we elect those who will turn their back on such fundamental beliefs and traditions like the writer is suggesting?

To answer that, I cite the words of George Washington, who said, “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”

Thomas Jefferson helped answer that question when he said, “God who gave us life, gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?”

Personally believing in God and praying individually or silently wasn’t seen as enough by the Founding Fathers. They saw it essential the governing body of their fledgling nation purposefully and quite publicly ask for God’s guidance, protection and His favor.

For this reason, in June 1787 Benjamin Franklin officially recommended the Continental Congress begin its sessions with an opening prayer given by the town clergy. When the U.S. House and Senate first convened in April 1789, one of the first orders of business was to hire a chaplain to start each session with an opening prayer. Prayer continued unbroken in the U.S. Congress and quickly spread to state legislatures and localities.

A short time later, America grew to the greatest nation on Earth, far surpassing the achievements and supremacy of Egypt, the Roman Empire and Great Britain.

It is the long history of prayer that the U.S. Supreme Court stood on when it ruled governmental bodies like a school board can invite in clergy to give an opening prayer at each meeting, a prayer that seeks to unite the membership, invoke divine guidance and bestow wisdom on the decisions of the body.

When looking at our country, where we’ve come from, where we are now, and where we are heading, our once greatness is beginning to fade. This is primarily due to our elected leaders turning their backs on the basic principles that made America great.

Every attorney we’ve shown the policy to says it is legally sound, so I agree with the writer in one instance; this is quite simple. Either you believe in divine providence (God’s intervention in the world) and feel it necessary for our governmental bodies to ask for His guidance and blessing, you respect the enlightened wisdom of our Founding Fathers and you want to see such American traditions continued, or you simply don’t.

I do, on all three counts. As a result, I support this new prayer policy and I do not see it as a waste of time to defend these principles that are now being questioned and are under attack.

Alex Saitta

School board trustee