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Letters: Justice and freedom in America's DNA

Johnson City Press • Sep 6, 2019 at 6:00 AM

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Justice and freedom in America’s DNA

“Is racism in America's DNA?”, Mr. Wolff argues (Aug. 28) that it is, and, short of national cataclysm, unlikely to be ameliorated. Yet his concluding Dr. King quote, “The moral arc of the universe always bends toward justice” is an invitation of a further reflection on “America's DNA.”

Dr. King held America accountable to the words of the Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal,” and insisting that "all" means, literally "all." That, in King's view, is America's actual DNA.

Over the years, the King/American dream has been assailed from many sides. However, the story of black progress from the end of Radical Reconstruction to the Great Depression is little considered.

The “narrative” is that the white race ruthlessly imposed its will upon a hopeless, helpless black race. In fact, black Americans were neither hopeless nor helpless. They forged their own progress in many areas (North and South), of which the "Harlem Renaissance" was but one brilliant example.

The adoption of Jim Crow, Black Code, “separate but equal” laws must now be seen for what it was: a desperate attempt to block the rising black aspirations and achievement fostered by the American and Judeo-Christian ethics of justice and freedom, the very "genetic code" which King so eloquently insisted upon.

If racism were inextricably enmeshed “in America's DNA,” then those dark Jim Crow days would not have ended the way they did. The actual violence that occurred, while awful, was far, far less than the continent-wide butchery of two contending races which could have happened — and which did happen — in places like the Congo and Rwanda.

Ask yourself if the "American racist DNA" paradigm can account for that horror?

DON WILEY
Johnson City

Guns are freedom insurance

The Second Amendment is America's greatest defense against the forces of totalitarianism.

The ownership of firearms provides a means for the population to resist its government should that government turn tyrannical. This was what America’s founding fathers had in mind when they drafted the Second Amendment — that the retention of firearms by the people is necessary for the maintenance of a free state. If this seems unlikely then perhaps you need to pay closer attention to the current move towards socialism as well as to recent world history.

Turkey established gun control in 1911. From 1915-1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

The Soviet Union established gun control in 1929. From 1929-1953, nearly 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

China established gun control in 1935. From 1948-1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975-1977, 1 million people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964-1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971-1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

R. STALNAKER
Johnson City

Where credit is due

Two things I wish to clarify. First, the politicians in Tennessee that gave back the Tennessee Hall Income Tax to the wealthy were the Republicans who have dominated our state for far too many years. I sent this reply to the Press in response to a Piney Flats resident. However, he was right that the burden to make up for this catering to the wealthier will be put on the back of the taxpayer in the form of higher property taxes, which have been happening all over the state.

Second, Ignacy Fonberg, it was Clinton and Obama, and not Bush senior that instituted bans on assault weapons. Stop giving Republicans credit for an accomplishment they do not deserve. This ban expired and the Republicans have not renewed it. I am a Christian, I own a gun and I am a Democrat who believes we need to keep guns out of the hands of those who are violent. This does not mean taking guns from law-abiding citizens.

J.E. HYDER
Elizabethton

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