Witch hunt false depiction of Smith
I got to know Paul Smith recently when I became the Democratic candidate for county assessor in the August election. I agree with those voices saying that inclusion of the now infamous joke was a lapse in judgment. It's important to know your audience.
To be fair, though, I need to say that Paul did encourage and support my campaign. In my experience he has provided opportunity to all qualified candidates equally.
The gaffe he made was minor compared to the heavy-handed pummeling it's received in the court of public opinion. Individuals who are participating in this witch hunt have long tried to undermine Paul Smith. This is now being used as a springboard for that effort, and while it may make for compelling reading it's an inaccurate and false depiction of the man.
Heiskell and team positioned to lead
I encourage the re-election of Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell. She has a track record that recommends her: Walker County continues to outperform its peer counties during this awful economy. The future is promising. Voters should take seriously the investment they've made in good governance and competent staff over the last decade. This team is well-positioned to lead Walker County through the coming recovery.
Every week brings a new announcement of new jobs. I've personally experienced the abilities of Heiskell's public works staff for the amazing work they did during the tornado clean-up and recovery. It's important to have people in office who know what they're doing. While I'm certain her opponent is a terrific neighbor, wife, and bus driver, she doesn't have the credentials to manage a multi-million dollar budget and a staff of nearly 400.
You don't stick around in public service for three terms without disappointing someone, and the core of Bebe's opposition seems to be a handful of opportunists who've attacked her relentlessly through the primary and current campaign.
These techniques are effective, however, and led to a surprisingly narrow victory for Bebe in the Republican primary. Don't take a gamble on someone who has no record at all. Your vote matters. Please vote to re-elect Commissioner Bebe Heiskell.
Having faith allows miracles
I take a few kids to the youth program on Wednesday nights at Brainerd Baptist BX Center. It was a week where a lot had gone wrong. Like many weeks, all of our "faiths" seem low. The preacher youth director was speaking about how we lose sight of the little miracles God has and is showing us every day.
He spoke abut how consumed we are with material things and how that never really fills our inner tank up more than a few hours. Yes, we are all excited for a new outfit or to get to go out to dinner, a movie, etc., but at the cost of losing sight of God. We pray for a while, then stop at the hardest times of our lives, because we lose faith and hope in good.
Then something comes along like his sermon to remind us of how just being alive and in the presence of God is something to be grateful for.
You get a renewed sense of hope in that God can make a difference and help the life you've been given and that having faith allows for miracles.
GOP tries to destroy 'separation' history
James Madison, the father of the Constitution, believed in separation of church/state. He made a pact with John Leland, the great "historical Baptist" in Virginia.
Madison told Leland he would make sure that church/state separation would be in the Constitution if he would not oppose him to the constitutional convention. Leland didn't and that guarantee is found in the First Amendment.
The Baptists of Orange County, Va., are so proud of this they have a park dedicated to it where the men sat under an oak tree and made the deal. I was moved visiting this place.
As president, Madison's very first veto was a bill to give public monies to churches to take care of the poor. He opposed giving public monies to churches. He believed the government should aid the poor as had been done during Washington's administration. Republicans love to distort the letter to the Danbury Baptists from Jefferson. Ridiculous!
Republicans work hard trying to destroy this history. Only the ignorant on the right, including the Southern Baptists, buy such nonsense! I am associated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. We believe deeply in separation of church and state, and we won't let it be destroyed by ignorance.
WILBOURNE C. MARKHAM SR., Walden, Tenn.
Printed joke as bad as Smith's
The Times Free Press has had much scorn for Paul Smith after his recent joke, yet this newspaper gleefully prints a joke that is at least as bad. In Laugh Lines (Sept. 28), Lisa Denton gives us a joke that demeans rural white people and even uses the racist term "redneck" in bold print. Along the way, this joke not only demeans rural whites, it presents the humorous side of incest and implied statutory rape.
After this past week's Clay Bennett cartoon showing Paul Smith as a sexist joke, I am looking forward to Bennett's upcoming cartoon showing Lisa Denton as a racist joke.
Democrats need Smith's knowledge
Eleven months ago, Paul Smith encouraged me in a goal of being a candidate for political office. I was not one of the traditional political types one usually sees in Hamilton County. Paul encouraged/cajoled/made me believe in a dream that someone like me could be included in public discourse -- a working-class single mom without money, political connections or years spent working toward my political ambition. I did not see how I could matter.
Paul Smith helped change that. He gave his support as Hamilton County Democratic Chair and as an individual. Paul was knowledgeable, encouraging and kind.
My personal testimony is that I always have seen Paul Smith to be respectful and decent to all women. Paul is "old school." At 75, his life experiences are much different than many of the younger Democrats. Someday, they will understand. Paul Smith has my support as our chairman of the Hamilton County Democartic Party and as an elder statesman whose knowledge the Democrats need.
Ryan not a true conservative
Since when did Paul Ryan become a true conservative? Not when he voted for everything paid for by the Bush deficit budget: the prescription drug bill, No Child Left Behind, the bank bailout, and both wars.
So Ryan became a contributor to the $1.3 trillion deficit inherited by President Obama and the mess that this country continues to work through.
Ryan can be defined as a neo-con Bush and war apologist, and a supply-sider, favoring the super rich with no tax on capital gains, and none either for those whose money like Romney's is hidden in overseas tax havens trickling down to nobody.
With intimate knowledge of the GM Janesville, Wis., plant closing, Ryan could not have been truthful in blaming Obama for involvement that he knows happened on Bush's watch.
On the night of President Obama's inauguration, Republican lawmakers at a dinner including Paul Ryan conspired to submarine Obama's presidency by undermining his legislative platform and win back political power.
As for Romney, conservatives such as Peggy Noonan expressed disappointment and Joe Scarborough was "flabbergasted" by his irresponsible criticism of our president's response to violence and deaths of Americans in the Middle East.
JOHN BRATTON, Sewanee, Tenn.