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Letters to the Editor 5-30-08

There are many ways to serve

To the editor:

I hesitate to bring it up right after Memorial Day, lest we in any way diminish the significance of the service and sacrifice of those we so honor.

However, since the Clayton News Daily poll has posed the question about mandatory military service, I do think it appropriate to highlight another category of service that often goes unrecognized, and to suggest that a higher platform of respect and honor is due.

That is the need to recognize and honor the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have chosen to serve their nation, not in the military, but in the Peace Corps, VISTA, AmeriCorps, and other forms of "national service." I would never suggest that these are equivalent to active duty military service and certainly not combat duty.

For the most part, those who volunteered to serve around the world and in impoverished and blighted communities here at home, go largely unrecognized and under-appreciated for their dedication and thankless service. Many of these served under grueling conditions, with few resources but their own creativity, often putting themselves in danger and at great risk.

I don't know the data concerning VISTA and AmeriCorps; I do know that hundreds, perhaps thousands of Peace Corps Volunteers have been "med-evaced" from their posts with life threatening illnesses and/or injuries. Thanks to superb staff and volunteer medical training and supervision, most have recovered well. Some, however, have died serving their country, though I wonder how many Americans look at it in this way.

The question of mandatory military service is certainly a valid and timely one. I suggest that it is also time, even long overdue, that the American people look at service to the nation in a broader context. Perhaps we should even think in terms of "National Service" to be inclusive of other forms of voluntary, dedicated self-sacrifice, that serve to better our nation and enhance its standing among other people and other nations. Military service is but one form of honorable service to the nation.

DAVID P. ENNISS Executive Director Clayton Family Care Peace Corps, Gabon 1983-1985

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Misusing a parade?

To the editor:

Last Saturday, I was so proud to attend the Parade in Honor of the back-to-back National Mock Trial Champions from Jonesboro High School. They have been very humble in their wins, and it was time to finally recognize them and celebrate their accomplishements. Notice, I said that the parade was in honor of the National Mock Trial team. Being a parent of one of the members of the team, I've been around this team's practice sessions and the competitions for about two years now, and nowhere in that time have I ever seen HERBERT ADAMS (DA candidate), with the exception of last Saturday, when he forced his way into their parade. Can we say self-serving and just plain RUDE?! I've never met this man, but I can tell you one thing, I will NOT be voting for him on July 15.

This group of students worked hard, let me tell you! They deserved better than to have someone, seeking to boost his own career, force his way into a parade that was not, by any stretch of the imagination, to be turned into a political vehicle for anyone.

If anyone deserved to wear their VOTE FOR ME T-shirts and pass out their political literature, it would have been those who have supported the team through the years as coaches and sponsors. But you didn't see Jonesboro team coach,Tasha Mosely, or team supporter, Eldrin Bell, playing political games. They were there to celebrate the team.

Ask any of the students who the parade was for, and they will tell you it was for the Team, their Coaches and their Sponsors. It was for those who helped get them to the National Championship. It was NOT a political parade! And I am VERY OFFENDED that Mr. Adams, in all his arrogance, took that away from these kids!

They deserve better from this community and those who are seeking office. Do it on your own time, not ours!

NANCY HARGIS Morrow

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Response to Mr. Silliman's articles

To the editor:

On Tuesday, May 20, you received my response to an article that headlined the Clayton News Daily a day before, which was entitled, "Judge Graham-Lawson challenges DA to debate."

In my response, I voiced a strong message against the biased reporting I've observed by Mr. Silliman, the reporter who wrote the story. Additionally, in my response to this article, I shared some positive qualities about Judge Adams, one of the candidates also running for Clayton County's DA's office. Rather than your paper including my response in your VOICE section, whereas I voiced a disparaging opinion about one of your reporters, three days later, the same reporter is given a front page headline story defaming Mr. Adams. This action, I believe, could not have spoken more relevantly to Mr. Silliman's biases and your paper's complicity to his biased behavior.

In the new story which was entitled, "DA Candidate called a 'disgrace' to legal profession," you quoted Danny Porter, the Gwinnet County DA, as stating, "I understand people in Clayton county think everything's going in the wrong direction ... I'm just saying, if you want to see if things could get worse, vote for Herb Adams."

You also included in your story, past interview words by District Attorney Porter which described DA candidate Adams as a "disgrace as an attorney." These vicious and inflammatory words that have been attributed to Gwinnet County's DA can only be intended to ruin Mr. Adam's lifelong career. Furthermore, it is highly unusual for a DA from another county to, with this level of intent, try to thwart the career of his fellow. To me, it was a highly destructive thing for DA Porter to do; is unethical and screams a lack of professionalism that one hardly sees in a person of prominence.

Mr. Silliman, my response to your story in Monday's paper was not in defense of Mr. Adams, but rather it was more about your biased writing style. Your story could have been written about anyone and armed with the same knowledge, I would have voiced the same opinion. The fact that your paper -- not wanting to print anything negative about a reporter -- and thus, chose not to print my response, proves my point concerning your biases.

Maybe you assumed that I was a part of Mr. Adam's campaign? I am not connected to anyone's campaign, but have simply been exercising my due diligence in getting out to the forums and finding out about the candidates.

Mr. Silliman, in your first report, you failed to mention that Mr. Adams had experience in 100 trial cases and was a Municipal Judge, preferring instead to put Judge Graham in the best light possible. As I have stated before, I have nothing against Judge Graham. All I ask is that you be fair and concise in your reporting of all candidates involved. Unfortunately, this latest negative article directed towards Mr. Adams further emphasizes your inability to provide a fair and unbiased story.

Instead of giving your readers a balanced report, you chose to spotlight the most incitable story you could dig up about Mr. Adams ...

It is true that the public needs to be made aware of deficiencies that present themselves in those we have placed in office, but you have with great exuberance attacked many who were only trying to do their jobs. I have watched as you have taken a minute occurrence and embellished it in such a way as to create a negative, sensational story ... I have also watched, as good leaders have tried to defend themselves against your onslaught, and you in turn, engage in an even deeper assault against them ...

I am curious, Mr. Silliman, did you delve into the other candidates' pasts with as much scrutiny as you have with Mr. Adams? Will you handle them in the same way? ...

Mr. Silliman ... you rely on the lack of attention of busy community people who may not pay much attention to what you are really trying to convey to the public. Sure, you throw us a bone every now and then by writing a story that is more amicable, but it is clear that when one reads the bulk of your stories, your biases scream beyond the white pages and black print, and is telling of what type of writer you really are. Make no mistake; there are true journalists at the Clayton News Daily. If I carelessly stated otherwise, I would be guilty of the same thing as you are, Mr. Silliman.

A. PRICE Jonesboro