It’s about time. In fact, the outrage being expressed nation wide against George Floyd’s murder and systemic racism in general is long overdue. As a white man I can only empathize with the plight of African American citizens. I can never really understand the pain, anxiety, and anger black people must feel. I pray that people all across the United States band together to finally take concrete steps to erase the wounds left from 400 years of oppression.

However, like gun control, correcting racism will take more than thoughts and prayers. It will take involvement from all segments of society. White citizens will need to stand up, recognize our collective guilt, and allow ourselves to be led by the leaders of the black community. For only those who have lived with the daily burden placed on black people by the American system of injustice, inequality, and outright disregard are qualified to define this agenda and demand redress. It is past time for white power, used to its own advantage against fellow Americans, to end.

As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice”. The arc is long, but the time for justice is now. Pray, pray hard, but find something to do. Now.

What I will continue to do is to work to ensure Donald Trump is not re-elected this November. Trump, Barr, and his supporters who champion his version of dictatorship must be removed. How do you feel about a man who is so afraid of the people he represents that he has the White House surrounded by a defensive wall? He is a coward, a criminal, and he is doing his best to imitate the dictators he so admires. He is a danger to our country, the constitution and the world. He must go. Get more than mad, get people out to vote! Saint Augustine wrote, “what is a political regime when devoid of justice, but organized crime?” Does that hit too close to home given our current situation? It does to me. So, think through the pledge of allegiance, and when you get to the end where we espouse “liberty and justice for all” consider how we attain those goals without first destroying systemic racism and getting Trump and his allies far, far away from the White House.

By the way, have you ever seen a man look more uncomfortable than Trump did while holding that Bible on the steps of St. John’s church? He looked as if he thought it would bite him.

PETE AGAARD

Nellysford

Another look at COVID-19 numbers

In a recent letter to the editor (“Looking up the numbers”, June 4), the writer noted that influenza fatalities each year were not well publicized. He also referenced having read that the 2019-2020 flu season had 63,000 deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compiles the influenza statistics. The CDC stresses that influenza deaths in any year is always an estimate. Since 2010 they have used the same methodology to estimate the “final” number, a methodology based on many factors of which hospitalizations is of major importance. The 2018 and 2019 numbers are still rated preliminary. The 2020 season is exceptionally preliminary.

The CDC does present a 62,000 influenza death number for 2020 with a huge “however.” And that is, the number is presented in a range going as low as 24,000. The American Legion article the writer referenced may not have mentioned that. The bottom line is the CDC doesn’t know yet. Based on hospitalizations alone, the CDC notes that for influenza “the number of hospitalizations estimated so far this season is lower than end-of-season total hospitalization estimates for any season since CDC began making these estimates.”

The two virus counts are not lumped together. With the best data collection efforts – different methods for each virus – general magnitudes of infection can be seen but precise separation is difficult. There are now over 110,000 deaths attributable to COVID-19 in the US. This ranges from 2 to 9 times the deaths attributable to influenza in 8 of the previous 9 years and 75% more than in the 9th year. A reason for continued high profile in the press.

SCOTT DUNCAN

Nellysford

Change afoot in the 5th District race

Bob Good, the man who just defeated Denver Riggleman, describes himself as “bright red Biblical and constitutional conservative.” To which I have to say you cannot be both. To be sure, a person’s religious beliefs can inform their political viewpoints, but they can never be the basis for the policies and laws they try to pass. We are not a theocracy. This is not Iran.

And although I would never pull the lever for Mr. Riggleman I confess to some sympathy for him. If a congressmen who is a member of the Freedom Caucus, who is supported by The Club for Growth is not conservative enough for the 5th District, then the 5th District is in danger of being represented in Congress by an extremist who doesn’t understand our system of government. Republicans constantly complain about Democrats insisting of “political correctness” on certain cultural issues but fail to see that “biblical conservatism” is worse in that it is unconstitutional. Do not vote for these people.

LOUIS HARPSTER

Shipman

A vote for John Lesinski

I am supporting Democrat John Lesinski in the upcoming primary election on June 23. I hope you too will join me in my support for John. Democrats have failed to win the seat since the 2008 election cycle. John is the best candidate to finally stand up and be the representative we need in Congress. We have had enough bad governance and it is time for a change.

Having served in elected office for 20 years here in Nelson County, I know how difficult it is to get one’s message out. The importance of having served a local community is invaluable to a candidate for higher office, and John has done that. He is the only candidate in the race that has actually held public office, serving on both the Rappahannock County School Board and the Board of Supervisors. John is a retired Marine Colonel and he has a long history of serving others. He is well-known and respected in his community and that will serve him, and us, well.

I support John because he is hands down the strongest candidate on environmental issues. For the past four years, we have seen the Trump administration systematically dismantle federal protections for our lands and water as well as regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. John is a proven advocate for the environment , standing strongly against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Additionally, he is a strong advocate for the Green New Deal. He sees green technology jobs as a key component of moving to energize rural economies across the Fifth District while tackling carbon emissions head on. He cares deeply about the future for our children.

I am voting for John Lesinski because he stands for the expansion of the Affordable Care Act and a public option. COVID-19 has shown the nation that we have a broken healthcare system. Healthcare is a right and John wants to ensure that right for every citizen in the 5th District and for all in our nation. As a nurse-practitioner myself, I know John will support our dedicated healthcare providers so they can be there for all of us.

I am voting for John because hundreds of students, teachers, parents and citizens across the district do not have access to dependable broadband. Many rural citizens of this district are at a daily disadvantage when it comes to communication because of their lack of access to quality resources. John understands this issue and has experience working to bring broadband access to rural citizens right here in the Fifth District.

John is a proven leader and in Washington he will make a true difference for all who call the 5th District their home.

CONNIE BRENNAN

Faber

(Editor’s note: Brennan is a former Nelson County supervisor)

It’s not going away in a day

It is becoming obvious that the United States is one country that will not seriously attempt to get its COVID-19 pandemic under control. Yes, many Americans restrict their travels, do social distancing, wear their masks, and follow scientific advice to lower their individual chance of contracting the virus, but a vast number of Americans seemingly still think it will miraculously go away one fine day. This ignorance is promoted by our president in just one of his myriad of lies. It is doing great damage to the country. As many other countries start preparing for a possible second wave of the virus we are still wallowing in the first. One of the things many of these other countries are doing is establishing strict guidelines for traveling to and from areas still showing a lot of viral activity. How many foreign tourists will want to spend time in the U.S. when they have to quarantine for two weeks after arriving back home? Why visit a viral hotbed when you can instead travel to a country that hasn’t had a new case in weeks or months? Likewise U.S. tourists visiting these “clean” countries will be required to isolate until local authorities are sure they are not bringing the virus with them. Americans will not be encouraged to visit. Putin still seems to be getting more benefits for helping Trump get elected.

“Make America Great Again” will be go down as one of the greatest sucker lines of history. Electing Donald Trump has made America insignificant in three years. We can do better. Vote him out.

MIKE TABONY

Gladstone

Thank you for honoring Nelson County veterans

On May 16, members of the Rev. E. Clarence Perdue, Sr. American Legion Post 17, placed flags on the graves of military veterans laid to rest at four Nelson County cemeteries – Jonesboro Baptist Church Cemetery in Roseland, Harewood Cemetery in Roseland, Adial Baptist Church Cemetery in Faber and Mountain View Cemetery in Lovingston. Members of the Post then rendered honors in a brief ceremony at the cemeteries on Memorial Day.

Even though we had to scale back the ceremony due to the COVID-19 restrictions, many Nelson County residents came out to pay their respects to our nation’s veterans. We would like to thank the members of Adial Baptist Church, especially Ella Wood who helped coordinate the ceremony there; Warren Raines, caretaker of Jonesboro Baptist Church Cemetery; Wayne Floyd, caretaker of Mountain View Cemetery; the members of the Rockfish-Lovingston Ruritan Club, especially Ed Hicks who helped coordinate; and the members of the Massies Mill Ruritan Club, especially Tom Nelson who coordinated the event. We’d also like to thank the members of the Private Napoleon Bonaparte Ponton Camp 2179, Sons of Confederate Veterans, who placed flags on the graves of Confederate veterans at the same cemeteries.

We continue to owe a debt that can never be repaid to those veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of democracy, our Ccuntry and our freedom. Thank you again for helping us to honor that sacrifice.

TODD HUNTLEY

Commander, American Legion Post 17

Lovingston

A nation’s past and the road to Election Day

The Democrat Party, led by Speaker Pelosi, wants to remove confederate general names from Army posts across the south because the names reflect “white supremacy.” A quick review of the military installations reveals an interesting history. Ten Army posts are involved. One was named during the Civil War, Fort Beauregard in Louisiana. Forts Lee and Gordon were established and named in 1917. Forts Benning and Bragg were established and named in 1918. Forts Picket, A. P. Hill and Polk were established and named in 1941. Forts Hood and Rucker were established and named in 1942.

There are two complimenting events associated with the establishment and naming of the Southern Army posts, two world wars and two democrat presidencies. Woodrow Wilson was the first democrat president since 1860, elected in 1912, and Franklin Roosevelt was president before and during World War II. Both presidents needed to unify the nation to effectively fight a war. The confederacy, before 1960, was a solid democrat stronghold. Naming the forts for West Point graduate, southern military officers by democrat presidents made good political sense to achieve national unity and the nation responded. For senior military officers today to speak ill of the officers of their heritage reflects their ignorance of the unresolved sovereign state/union relationship in 1860.

That brings us to today. The American people are not systemic racists. This is clearly displayed by composition of the protesters and citizen response to the killing video. There are issues that lead to individual racial problems such as family, education and self esteem. Addressing the society issues in Chicago would better address interpersonal racial relationship issues than blanket national edicts.

Politicians have placed the nation in danger. The question is, will the American people stand up on Election Day and convey that “We the people” govern?

BOB DEWEY

Wintergreen

A choice outside two parties

What if I told you that the two-party system that we have in American politics is a sham? Conspiracy theory... or a corruptive yet brilliant power and control technique?

For example, how many of you identify as politically conservative? The political term “conservative” is a complex term, but it can be simplified into two main legs: fiscal and authority. A conservative is someone who stands for a small government, the protection of everyone’s individual rights (not just certain groups), and lower taxes. Currently, our federal government is seen more as King in a monarchy. The federal government is huge, taxes are high, and the power of the government is scary if you are a conservative. In three years, President Trump has executed 151 executive orders.

Another example, if you identify as a liberal, how much has your elected officials done for you in the past 50 years? We have continually failing social programs, the need to continually reform broken systems in place, and career politicians trying to win your vote but have a lifetime tract record of legislating for concepts that go completely against liberal progress. Biden championed such legislation as “tough on crime” in the 80s and The Biden Crime Bill in the 90s, which is the largest crime bill ever passed, leading to black and minority targeted laws, naturally creating a culture of mass incarceration.

With one of two parties being able to stay in control at all times, keep the population divided and against each other, who has control — the people or the government? One of our founders, Patrick Henry, warned of the pending dilemma of America’s federal government becoming too large and impending tyranny.

What if there was another way? What if there was a way to put liberty and power back where it belongs — the citizens, shrink government, take government out of our personal lives, and be somewhat of a middle ground between the emotions behind why we end up voting conservative or liberal (but in many ways completely different)?

If you can resonate with any of the above, it’s time to look at a third party for our local, state, and national elections. The first step is to break the two-party system to show the government that enough is enough and we are tired of the games, strategic division, and we want to be control of our own lives again.

Give Libertarian Jo Jorgensen consideration for your vote for 2020. The excuse of “a vote third party is a vote thrown away” is not an excuse anymore. We need something different. We need both major parties to wake up and realize that we believe in a government for and by the people... and we are tired of the games.

JOSHUA DAVIES

Lynchburg

Reach Justin Faulconer at (434) 385-5551.