READERS WRITE

Remove party affiliations from ballot

With election time upon us, it is time to re-examine our approach to the voting process. For years, there has been a misguided urgency to drive as many eligible voters as possible to the ballot box. While it is understandable and seemingly logical that greater participation of the electorate strengthens the power of the people over their government, there is no sense in promoting the practice of uneducated voting. Next week, the political parties will employ any means necessary in order to drive as many of “their” voters as possible to the polls, including literally driving them to the polls. How many of these reluctant voters will have a clue as to the issues on the ballot or the positions of the candidates? For that matter, of those who do participate of their own accord, how many conduct any sort of research beforehand? It is easy to see that we as Americans have long since lost the respect that the privilege of voting should demand. Instead, we have allowed the two dominant parties to ingrain themselves so deeply into our political process that the issues no longer matter. All that matters is whether the person on the ballot has an (R) or a (D) next to their names. A simple step that would force the average voter to educate themselves would be to remove the party affiliation of the candidates from the ballot. Having the affiliation next to the name of the candidate only serves to enable a lazy electorate, who can simply show up, vote party-line, collect their sticker, and go home with an inflated sense of self-worth that they have not earned.

CHRIS CASEY, HOSCHTON

VA services sincere and respectful

Speaking as a World War II Navy veteran, I am very thankful for the very positive and beneficial experiences that I have received from the several VA Clinics and Hospitals in the various cities in which I have resided. I have been receiving medical services from the Newnan Veterans Clinic for several years. Thanks to the warm, uplifting attitude displayed by all staff, I look forward to my bi-annual health check-up. I take this opportunity to applaud their sincere services and the respect they display for Veterans. Oh yes: special thanks to my nurse, V. Kelley.

ROBERT J. WILLIAMS, FAYETTEVILLE

Religious freedom a national sacrament

Christians in the U.S., long in the majority and far from being persecuted, have for decades defined what is orthodox. Despite our founders’ intent to keep the various religious dogmas separate from the exercise of governmental authority, they have grown accustomed to having public schools do their proselytizing for them. It is mind-boggling that to curtail Christians’ ability to force their religion on others — whether in schools or on courthouse plaques — is portrayed as a restraint on their religious freedom. The religious freedom of individuals, families and churches is a national sacrament. But having civil authority take sides among beliefs is a mockery of liberty.

JOHN CARVER, ATLANTA

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