Find your sanity amidst bad news
I have been asking myself a question lately in the face of overwhelmingly bad news recently.
I read in your paper about shootings in Charleston, S.C., Chattanooga, etc. Our elected officials are threatening to shut down the government if they don't get their way. Presidential candidates have zero tolerance for diversity. Television news tries very hard to get you to say, "Oh my God!" every minute of every day. Court clerks take the law into their own hands.
My question for fellow readers is, "How does one stay sane in the face of all this insanity?"
Here is what I did after I had had enough: I turned off all media and turned on a CD of soothing music. Then I went outside to pull weeds. I bought season tickets to the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera so I have something beautiful to look forward to.
By taking the time to care for and love myself I am better able to face the world and make it a better place. Perhaps if mental health were the goal instead of "my way or the highway," we would have a healthier America.
Mary C. Caliandro, Ooltewah
Labor union lack cause of problems
I was astounded Free Press contributor Robin Smith cited workers' 12-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week labor at tauntingly close to subsistence wages up to and beyond the 1893 declaration of Labor Day.
What changed the hearts of employers? At Andrew Carnegie's invitation, Herbert Spencer, who coined the term "survival of the fittest" and thereby birthed social Darwinism, toured one of the great philanthropic steel baron's plants and pronounced he would rather die than work there.
But such was the lot of our worker ancestors. What changed it? Labor unionism changed everything for the working woman and man. Our lives have been built upon its bloodied history.
As we gaze at GOP candidate Scott Walker, who brags that bringing down labor unions prepared him to "bring down ISIS," we can ask ourselves: Why the stagnant wages, retirement benefits that require Wall Street acumen, resurgence of 12-hour days for most stressed professional jobs, no sick pay for illnesses, however severe. And maternity pay has become "wasn't it your decision?"
Lucy W. Taylor
Lumping Muslims together wrong
In response to the Aug. 30 letter headlined "Learn the real facts about Islam": The letter writer made several bigoted statements toward literally every person of Muslim faith. The writer claimed that "Islam is truly out to get" non-Muslims and "Peaceful Islam is a facade."
This gross ignorance of a major world religion would be embarrassing in any context. Rather than listen to or patronize the businesses of open bigots, let's strive to recognize that putting millions of Muslims in the U.S. in the same box as criminals who co-opt the name of Islam (which, in fact, means "peace") to commit horrible crimes is itself a failure of our own religious values.
No one would agree that Westboro Baptist Church represents all Christians. The writer's statements represent his own bigoted world view and he should be ashamed.
Peter Hubbard, Atlanta, Ga.