World is watching as we vote our values

As one who has voted as a Republican for most of my life, it seems that the party of Trump has deviated so far from my core beliefs that I am now politically homeless. The number one issue for me specifically is the lack of a coordinated federal response to the coronavirus. It has been an abject failure. This Republican Party has failed miserably in its duties and responsibilities to the public, a total and seemingly complete dereliction of duty.

When the coronavirus was first reported, I saw the TV clips and soundbites from this president who has denied science at every opportunity. Who would undercut their own experts in infectious disease? Who would cut off funding and pull out of the World Health Organization in the middle of a pandemic? Do you take medical advice from President Trump or the doctors? Who do you trust?

I understand that the Trump presidency is/was an experiment in democracy. We do not have that "perfect union," but we should be trying harder. Corruption or character is on the ballot this November. Competence and decency also are on the ballot. What values are important to you? The whole world is watching.

Terry McDowell

Ringgold, Georgia


Wearing a mask is the smart call

I'm sure I am not the only one sick and tired of hearing the belly-aching about "I have the right to not wear a mask." You also have the right to set your hair on fire, eat thumb tacks and stuff beans up your nose. You do none of these (hopefully) because they are stupid and could kill you. Same goes with not wearing a mask.

Our essential workers are wearing protective gear for eight to 12 hours a day. Surely we can wear a mask for the hour or so we are in Walmart.

If we work together, we can make a difference and eventually control this horrible disease that has taken so many.

Friends, this is not a political situation. This is a life-or-death decision.

Please, for the well-being of your family, friends and neighbors, follow the guidelines and mask, distance and sanitize.

Ruth Prince

Sewanee, Tennessee


Resign, Sheriff, or replace, retrain deputies

As a white Hamilton County resident, I'm joining the Chattanooga clergy's call for the resignation of Sheriff Jim Hammond. And to the sheriff's point that the clergy has not sent him any referrals of people of color to join his department, why in the world would any person of color volunteer to join the sheriff's force knowing he/she would likely be subject to harassment or worse? Get serious, sheriff.

If he won't resign, then he should look to his "own house" and better supervise his deputies rather than get angry with District Attorney Neal Pinkston for pursuing long-awaited information about former deputy Daniel Wilkey. It also appears that the sheriff would do well to train his deputies to confront nonviolent suspects, particularly Black ones, with some common courtesy, or if not that, restraint rather than gratuitously striking them with batons.

After 32 years of teaching junior and senior high school in Illinois and Mississippi, I found I could get through to most students with serious behavioral issues by using a cool head, humor (if possible), and allowing them some self-dignity. Some of Hammond's deputies need to be replaced or retrained in humane conflict resolution and de-escalation.

Joanie Henckell