It could happen again
When they were in their thirties my father and mother were forced to flee from Germany to Belgium in an attempt to escape Nazi persecution. In spite of his efforts my father was captured by SS [Schutzstaffel, (German: “Protective Echelon”)] leaving my pregnant mother to fend for herself. He was shipped off to Auschwitz, one of the most fearsome death camps, where he managed to survive for the better part of one year before Russian troops marched into Germany in 1945 and liberated the camps.
My father often told me how at the time of his liberation he weighed only 90 pounds. He also told me that the only reason he was allowed to survive was because of his skills as an electrician. When their radios broke the Nazi officers would have Sigmund take a look.
After his release my father returned to Belgium and found my mother and oldest brother somehow still alive. In 1952 because Europe held too many awful memories my father chose to move his family to the United States of America. And so I grew up in Queens, New York where I shared a two-bedroom apartment with my four older brothers, mother and father.
But although picking up and leaving everything behind may alter one’s surroundings it rarely changes one’s mind set. My father carried the pain of his memories with him the rest of his life.
As an impressionable child I soaked up his ruined view of the world. Although he rarely spoke at length of his experiences in the death camp, from time to time he would drop a comment that provided me with a brief glimpse into the horrors of that time. I will never forget the faded blue-ish black numbers tattooed across his forearm.
Living with a Holocaust survivor has endowed me with a skewed view of the world. Cynicism comes easily to me. I remember my father telling me “The same thing could happen here in the United States.” Often he admonished me to never trust anyone. “There are no friends,” he told me, “only family.”
At first I was shocked when I read about a few elected officials on the liberal left who have taken to calling members of the Republican Party “Nazis” and other Holocaust-related epithets.
After thinking it over however it should come as no surprise that a party which edits “God” and “Jerusalem” out of its platform will also see no objection to using the tragedy of the Holocaust as a political ploy.
Any political party that stoops to such abominable tactics can not be trusted to protect Israel. And more to the point such a party cannot be trusted to protect and steward the United States into the future.
Should Jewish people go to the polls on Nov. 6 to cast a ballot for members of a political party that engages in such reprehensible behavior, they will show the world that my father was right when he warned me so many years ago that indeed, “It could happen again here.”
Ludicrous and mean-spirited
Regarding the letter in the Sun News dated August 25, 2012 and titled “GOP launches radical assault on women” written by Ms. Judy Williams of Conway.
The Georgetown County Republican Women’s Club is outraged at the inference of this article referencing the Republican party as the “Taliban” and their “escalating assault on women’s reproductive rights”. We believe Ms. Williams’ references to the “Taliban” and “burkas” and their “assault on women’s reproductive rights” is ludicrous and mean- spirited.
There is no question that we (the Republicans) have a very different view of women’s rights. We are all about protecting the unborn fetus except in instances of rape or endangering the mother’s health. Our viewpoint is that a fetus is a human being once conception has occurred.
Ms. Williams is the one who is fixated on women’s bodies. Whenever the subject comes up it is the Democrats that keep harping on it. Republican women, to the contrary, are concerned with protecting the rights of the unborn child. It seems that Ms. Williams also believes that we, the public, should pay for contraceptives and abortions. She ignores the fact that this is also a statement against freedom of religion. She is an advocate of Obamacare, not to the right of religious freedom as promised by our Constitution.
One person, Mr. Todd Akin made the remark about the female anatomy having the ability to stop conception during a rape. The writer of the letter suggests that all Republicans are ignorant of the female reproductive anatomy. This reference is false and totally uncalled-for.
Republicans respect life, and believe that our rights come from God, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It is obvious the writer has little insight into spirituality. Her concern is the indulgence of the moment and we, the taxpayers, should pay for it? We don’t think so. What a pitiful scenario.
Judy Clarke, president
Georgetown County Republican Women’s Club
Voting in 2012: What has changed, what has not
The television ads, yard signs and phone calls of election season can be an annoying distraction. However, underlying this background noise is the most important responsibility that citizens have, voting to select the best leaders for our communities, states and nation. The League of Women Voters of South Carolina (LWVSC) has been involved in educating and registering voters for many decades. This election season stands out for the unusually widespread confusion that we have found among voters across our state.
However, at present nothing has changed about the laws that determine how we register to vote in South Carolina. There has been publicity about a new law in Florida that made it very difficult to conduct community voter registration drives there. A similar bill was introduced in South Carolina, but failed to pass. In South Carolina registration can proceed normally until the legal deadline before the November election, October 6. Patriotic volunteers from the League, churches, high schools, colleges and a wide range of other organizations will continue to register voters as an important part of our public service.
The LWVSC wants to increase the number of college students who participate in the election process, but first, students must register to vote. The numbers tell the story. While 67% of the voting age population is registered, fewer than 51% of college students are registered to vote according to the U.S. Federal Election Commission.
The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) mandates that colleges and universities that participate in federal student loan programs provide voter registration applications for their students. LWVSC’s website, http://lwvsc.org/vote_college.html, outlines the options that students have. Students who wish to vote in their home community must be registered there and may vote absentee.
At present nothing has changed about the process of actually voting in SC, but it is possible that there will be a significant change before the November 6 election.
South Carolina has passed a law that requires a current valid government issued photo ID of a limited number of types in order to vote in person. However, any change in South Carolina’s election laws must be pre-cleared by the federal government under the provisions of Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) refused pre-clearance of R54 on grounds that it is discriminatory toward minority citizens, and the change in the law is not in effect at present.
South Carolina’s Attorney General has challenged DOJ’s decision in federal district court. This case has not been decided. We will not know until late September whether the court has approved or rejected the photo ID law. If the court turns the law down, nothing will have changed in our voting process for this election. All who are registered to vote in South Carolina will be able to vote on November 6 when they present the same identification that they have used in the past: the plain non-photo SC Voter Registration Card (blue registration card), a SC Driver’s License, or a SC DMV-issued ID card.
If the court approves putting the photo ID requirement into effect for this election, then a current and valid SC Driver’s License, a SC DMV-issued ID card, U.S. military ID or passport, or a photo ID issued by the county elections office will be needed in order to vote in person. A student ID or an expired photo ID will not be acceptable. More detailed information is available in a brochure that may be downloaded from the LWVSC website at http://lwvsc.org/files/save_all_votes_july_2012.pdf.
For some people, obtaining appropriate ID will be difficult. At present the best advice that the League can give is to be sure you are registered to vote now. If photo ID goes into effect, you can later obtain a photo ID for free at your county elections office by presenting your blue voter registration card or last four digits of your Social Security number. If you believe that you will have difficulty getting to that office and are eligible for absentee voting, apply now for a mail-in absentee ballot, which will not require photo ID.
Some supporters of this law have expressed concern about voter fraud if the court refuses to allow South Carolina to implement photo ID. They should be reassured to know that there are no recorded instances of in-person voter impersonation fraud in South Carolina. Nationally, the incidence of in-person voter fraud is lower than that of being hit by lightning. This is far less threatening to the integrity of our elections than defective voting machines or other weaknesses in the elections system that are not the consequence of intentional fraud.
Detailed information on current registration and voting requirements, as well as information about changes that could take place if the courts approve photo ID for the November election, can be found at http://lwvsc.org/vote. The website also provides all the information that you need in order to conduct your own voter registration drive. The League is available to help with voter registration drives and additional information and guidance, and can be reached at League@lwvsc.org or 803-251-2726.
Barbara Zia, Co-President
Peggy Brown, Co-President
League of Women Voters of South Carolina
Letters about Walmart in Pawleys Island:
Avoid grave mistake
I have been a resident of Georgetown County all of my life and I have watched the county make some good choices and I have watched county officials make some terrible mistakes. This is an opportunity for the current County Council to avoid making a grave and long lasting mistake on the Waccamaw Neck.
Size matters and bigger is not better. The Waccamaw Neck is named so because it occupies a narrow strip of land between the Waccamaw River and the Atlantic Ocean. We are physically restrained and strongly affected by tides from the river on one side and the ocean on the other. Due to the relatively small size of our community we have only one main road for commercial development, Highway 17. Any and all development along our one road needs to fit within the natural confines of our limited space. A law is already in effect that limits the scale of development to 45,000 square feet for any commercial development on and along Highway 17 at Pawleys Island. It is imperative that County Council not bend these rules and allow oversized development into our small, very confined community.
The Pawleys Island community already suffers from serious traffic problems and flooding on Highway 17. The added impact on our one road and our confined community from a 120,000 square foot development will be devastating. (The proposed Sunbelt Ventures development is 120,000 square feet as compared to Fresh Market that is 21,000 square feet) Where is all of the runoff from these new buildings and parking lot going to go when there is a downpour and it is high tide? Judging from Wednesday, August 29th, that run off water will end up on our one road, Highway 17 causing even more flooding, traffic congestion and accidents.
Don't be fooled into the belief that this is good for Pawleys Island. The facts have been printed many times of the drain from a megastore on a small community. We at Pawleys should not want or need the strain on our roads, the tax on our drainage, or the devastation to our many small businesses.
A vote against the zoning changes proposed for Sunbelt Ventures megastore development by County Council may be a vote against the wishes of the County Administration but it is a vote for the betterment of a small community on the brink of devastating and irreversible change. This is an opportunity for Georgetown County Council to make a really good decision for Georgetown County.
Sharon Parker Turner
Let’s tear the shroud aside
Since I have volunteered to chair the Don’t Box The Neck committee, I have performed a lot of research into big box stores; particularly Walmart, since it has now fastened its eyes on our fair community. Let’s tear the shroud aside, it is Walmart that is hiding behind Sunbelt in this attempt to circumvent our zoning laws, the same zoning laws that were created to protect the Waccamaw Neck from sprawl and blight such as this.
I find it very disturbing to see that many people are buying into the propaganda machine that is Walmart, with its mythological “truths” that they pound into us via multi-million dollar television commercials.
They tell us that they “create” jobs, but do not mention the jobs they destroy; they tell us that they are small business friendly, when in truth they purposely target small businesses for closure; that they are a wonderful place to work, when entire websites are set up by their employees pleading to be able to make a living wage and to be treated with basic respect and dignity; that they practice fair trade, when in fact they operate sweatshops in third world countries and bully vendors to provide their “low prices, always”; and they can “create” retail sales out of thin air, when in fact they must take them from previously established stores via predatory pricing to get sales at all.
Their myths are very easily de-bunked with simple searches on the Internet, I do not embellish. The truth about Walmart is ugly, they want to be the only place you shop, so you will “owe your life to the company store”, and they will do anything and everything to make it so.
We who are blessed to live in Pawleys Island came here to bask in the beauty, ambiance and small town quality of life that we are privileged to enjoy. However, there are those that are not content to have the minor inconvenience of driving a few miles to shop at a big box store if they feel the need to, and wish upon our community the catastrophe that is Walmart.
The problem, is that once done, it cannot be undone; and the repercussions will be felt for decades. We will have sold our community to a Fortune 500 company out of Bentonville, Arkansas, and cheaply.
“You will not find small town quality of life for sale at a Walmart. They don’t stock it on any shelf. But once they steal it from you, you can’t buy it back from them at any price.”
- Al Norman, Sprawl-Busters.
Be there and be counted September 20th.
Chairman, Don’t Box The Neck committee
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