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Hearing of the attempt on the lives of members of Congress and their staff only intensified what I was already feeling.

My deceased son Tony would be disgusted and outraged about what has transpired in the short year and a half since he transitioned, and he would have felt compelled to speak out in some way, as he often did.  So in his absence, I must speak for him, though not as succinctly as he would have.

Perhaps this incident will be a wake-up call to all of us in this country.  There is so much animus, disunity, controversies and distrust that seems to increase daily. It’s the worst I’ve experienced in my senior life.

It seems the moral compass of the populace is in peril. What kind of country and inherent values are we risking, and for what? What kind of world are we leaving for our children and grandchildren?

How will this country be viewed by the world if this continues? Wake up America and do what is best for ALL.

Ruby Rucker, Nashville 37205

Big government is seen as being at war with free-market capitalism.

For some of us the argument is misguided. The question should not be whether Washington or capitalism will end up on top. More importantly, is there a referee in the battle for power between Washington and the corporations? I don’t want either one running my life, but I want both in the game.

Courts have been the referee through most of American history. They made a few bad calls but, overall, they have done a good job. However, if either corporations or “big government” can stack the deck with judges that only see one side, I fear we are in trouble.

Herb Mather, Nashville 37212

I am disappointed in Sen. Lamar Alexander’s failure of leadership in the Senate Republican caucus process of drafting the Senate version of the American Healthcare Act.

Such an important legislative undertaking should not be conducted behind closed doors, should not be an exclusively male process and should not be concluded without Committee hearings. The issue is too important to be conducted without the benefit of the expertise of those who are familiar with the delivery, organization and payment of health care services or input from the citizens who will be most affected.

Senator Alexander’s tenure as Governor of the State of Tennessee was not marked by such lack of transparency. Less affluent states such as Tennessee have significant challenges in meeting the health care needs of their citizens. The high risk pool, as it existed during his tenure as governor and until the passage of the Affordable Care Act, did not provide accessible and affordable coverage to those Tennesseans who even qualified for the program.

The cost of comprehensive care and coverage of pre-existing conditions should be borne by the community as a whole. Our citizens should not be compartmentalized into those who have pre-existing conditions and those who do not.

I urge Senator Alexander to maximize public input and discussion. Only through such a process can the best possible solution to America’s health care crisis be found.

Irwin Venick, Nashville 37205

The words “separation of church and state” do not appear, in any form, in the text of the U.S. Constitution.

This is a concept that the self-righteous ACLU has foisted upon the American public.

Our Founding Fathers were very familiar with the state-sponsored religion of England, at the time the Constitution was being drafted, and rightly so, decided that the United States would have no such state-sponsored religion.

Article I basically states that Congress shall have no power to establish such religion. It is the ACLU’s corrupted interpretation that has this country so messed up, that prayer has been removed from the schools; you dare not mention Jesus, or these clowns will take you to court.

I’m convinced that the Lord is so disappointed with our country. It seems that the only reminder of how great we once were are the words “In God We Trust” on our coins and folding money. How much longer will that remain, if the ACLU can convince the Supreme Court that these words constitute a prayer?

One important fact to remember: The Roman Empire was never defeated by an outside force; it fell apart from within because of interior corruption and moral decay. We’re moving closer to that point every day.

James R. McMahon, Hendersonville 37075

A committee of senate Republicans led by Sen. Alexander is creating a new health bill. There have been no open hearings, but it is already being reviewed by the Congressional Budget Office.

It seems they hope to rush this through before the nation fully grasps what it happening. This is an outrage. Health care is one-fifth of our budget and affects everyone deeply.

Democrats had 100 hearings on the Affordable Care Act and it included over 140 Republican amendments. We deserve open hearings and a vigorous exchange of opinions before such an extraordinarily important piece of legislation is voted on.

David Dickinson, Nashville 37215

The Tennessee economy is thriving.

According to the secretary of state’s most recent quarterly report, incomes are rising, we’ve added new jobs and new businesses over the last year, and our employment outlook is positive. Our state and local leaders, including our governor, should be proud of this record.

One reason I believe we’re doing so well is that, in recent years, Tennessee has become a magnet for new Americans. Nationally, the immigrant population increased by 5 percent between 2010 and 2014. Here it has jumped more than 13 percent. Just 25 years ago, foreign-born individuals made up just about 1 percent of our population. Today, they make up 5 percent.

That’s a sign that we’re a dynamic and welcoming place to be. It’s also good for native born residents since immigrants create thousands of jobs and contribute tens of millions of dollars to our tax base.

Gov. Bill Haslam clearly recognizes this beneficial relationship. He recently signed a proclamation declaring June as Immigrant Heritage Month.

I am a first generation American, the son of an Egyptian father and a German mother, and I too stand with immigrants. Tennessee is better off today than it was a quarter of a century ago and I’m very pleased that Governor Haslam recognizes this fact.

Sharif Rashed, Murfreesboro 37132

America loves that beautiful twangy sound of country music.

The sawing fiddles, steel guitars and southern accents have been highlighting the sound of the south since the early 1900’s. But just like all music, country music has evolved to different styles and sounds throughout its history.

For the most part the changes in sound have been fine, and a natural progression of the genre, but in recent years the new wave of country music has turned into a love child of the good ol’ stuff and today’s auto-tuned pop.

Unfortunately the most recent revolution in the country music genre has brought it from its previous glory to more of a pop sound that is anything but country. The new “country” talks about too many pickup trucks, hot girls and drinking to be good or even comparable to what the genre once was.

Many artists have even made songs featuring rap artists, which is just a terrible sound. These songs are a disgrace and an insult to the once great genre of country.

In fact in the early 2000s George Strait and Alan Jackson wrote a song about this terrible revolution called “Murder On Music Row.”

In this song they sing, “Someone killed country music, ripped out its heart and soul, they got away with murder, down on Music Row”.

However, there is hope for the future in some newer country music and bluegrass. We can only hope that these actual artists become more popular than the poppy crap of today.

JT Statter, Jackson, Wyo. 83002

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