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Healing our polarization will require civil conversation

Editor, The Beacon:

The only path toward healing our polarization is through civil conversation.

The Dalai Lama said: “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know; but when you listen, you may learn something new.”

In a civil conversation, we listen. Then we respond: “I can understand why you feel the way you do. It makes sense that you are frustrated. Your conclusions are based upon facts, some of which, I must admit, are true. You have given me new information that requires my further thought.”

We debate issues from opposite perspectives. Abortion is either “murder,” or “choice.”

Those views cannot both always be true in every circumstance. In some circumstances, the truth lies somewhere in between. Debate is not conversation. In conversation, those firmly holding an absolute view must search for the truth that lies somewhere in between opposite absolute truths.

Lawyers are taught to see all sides of an issue in order to effectively present any argument to an objective jury based on specific facts. On one side, the argument may be: “Murder requires punishment.” On the other side, the argument may be: “Everyone is presumed to be innocent.”

Both arguments are true. In a specific case, however, a jury will find the truth that lies somewhere in between.

Kellyanne Conway was ridiculed for asserting that there were “alternative facts.” As a lawyer, she understood that the same facts might support different conclusions. Her mistake was in too briefly stating her legitimate point: “the same facts may support alternative conclusions.”

In our political context, it may be helpful for some of us to switch our role from that of a lawyer to that of a juror. As jurors, we must carefully listen to both sides of the issues. As jurors, ours alone is the solemn duty of deciding those issues. The issues are important; we want to make the right decisions.

We view a presidential campaign in military terms: “Fight, Victory, Defeat.” We tend to believe in the “Myth of Redemptive Violence”; that we can overcome evil only through violence, in word or deed.

That is a false myth, dating from Babylonian times. The truth is that violence, whether in word or deed, only causes more violence.

Jesus taught active nonviolence. The validity and power of His message have since been repeatedly demonstrated. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi are but two examples.

Daniel Vaughen


Do the math regarding Project Normandy’s promised jobs

Editor, The Beacon:

Your article about Project Normandy [an Amazon warehouse and distribution center being built on North Normandy Boulevard in Deltona] makes it sound like this is a good thing for Deltona.

Clearly somebody doesn’t know how to do the math!

Five hundred jobs with an average annual wage of $32,000! I refer you to https://livingwage.mit.edu/states/12.

Here are a couple of examples of a “living wage” in Florida: One adult, with no children, earning $12.17 an hour or $25,324 annually. Or, one adult with one child earning $25.25 per hour or $52,517 annually.

Another example would be two adults with one child, with one adult working and the other responsible for child care, earning $23.68 an hour or $49,257 annually.

If one employee with a spouse and one child earns a living wage of $23.68 per hour ($49,257 annually), then, to make this “average,” another employee must earn a poverty wage of $7.09 per hour or $14,743 annually!

Or two employees must each earn $11.24 per hour ($23,371 annual wage), which is a living wage only for a childless couple both of whom are working!

Imagine how many of the 500 employees must make poverty wages if only one “manager” takes home $60,000 a year! Do the math.

So, who pays for those $500,000 in tax rebates to the corporation? You guessed it: the employees and the others who pay Deltona property taxes!

Think again.

John Lewis


Let’s debate local issues

Editor, The Beacon:

It seems to me in an age where the press is starving for local investigative journalism and reporting, Mr. Rauschenberger, instead of casting aspersions on the local media that actually fulfill those needed roles, should encourage readership in all legitimate print resources.

One has to wonder where Mr. Rauschenberger gets his information. Does he interview Washington policymakers and staffers? Does he talk to people in the various governmental departments?

My guess is, like the rest of us, he is getting his opinions from the media.

For that matter, has he ever sat down with Mike Lafferty of the Orlando Sentinel, with whom he has taken exception, for a chat?

From his latest diatribe, it appears possible that Mr. Rauschenberger got some of his particular slant from longtime New York City radio voice Don Imus, an admitted bigot, who died recently.

I personally find over the past 40 years that I’ve been reading the maligned Daytona Beach and Orlando papers; while there may have been a slant one way or another on their op-ed pages, the reporting has been spot-on in the effort to uncover wrongdoing wherever it arises.

In my opinion and obviously that of many on some of the journalistic award-giving organizations (for whatever that’s worth), The News-Journal is doing quite well.

I think we are blessed to have a Mark Lane sharing his views on local doings, and as far as sports, Ken Willis and others are not afraid to opine on locally touchy subjects.

I am an independent voter and, although I did not vote for Donald Trump, I thought it might be interesting to have his type of non-politician in office.

I was wrong. Anyone who could make the George W. Bush administration, who virtually destroyed life in the Middle East for no actual reason, seem acceptable deserves all the scrutiny that the press has available.

Mainly though, I feel that neither Mr. Rauschenberger’s nor Mr. White’s columns are what a local newspaper should be all about.

Let’s get some debate going on local issues.

John Boyle


America’s sick shouldn’t have to seek financial help on GoFundMe

Editor, The Beacon:

GoFundMe: America’s virtual monument to a failing health care system.

GoFundMe, if you’re not familiar, is a website where people can reach out to others around the globe to raise funds for various projects.

Since its creation in 2010, GoFundMe has raised more than $3 billion through various user-generated fundraisers. It only takes a moment perusing the website to see that the vast majority of these fundraisers are about a single issue — health care. Campaigns abound, with users shaking their virtual cup for any donations to help them with a multitude of medical maladies.

Even checking GoFundMe’s main page under “GoFundMe Near You,” three of the six local campaigns are centered around raising funds for medical expenses, and a fourth was for a funeral.

Every day, people are starting new campaigns to fundraise for the sick and dying to ask for help to cover the avalanche of medical bills. It speaks to the current state of our health care system that this even needs to exist in such volume.

The government is unwilling or unable to adequately supplement health care and has allowed the health care industry to drive prices through the roof to ridiculous levels. An IV bag that has a market value of just $1 is then sold by the hospital at $137. A neck brace that has a market value of $20 is sold by the hospital for $154.

Now most people aren’t paying these extreme prices; the insurance companies are paying these prices or at least a portion of them. However, for those without insurance and those with inadequate insurance, they are paying these astronomical prices.

We have laws in place that prevent businesses from marking up their prices during natural disasters. People would be incensed if, during their time of need, the local grocery store started charging $100 for a gallon of water. Then we have people who are desperately in need of medical attention and there is no law preventing a hospital from price-gouging them into poverty.

Yet nobody bats an eye or raises a finger. Instead, we let them go off into the virtual realm to beg for help. You can’t expect the government to chime in anytime soon either, as health care lobbyists spend more than $300 million a year lobbying Washington in their favor.

We need to do better. America’s sick and dying should not have to go cap in hand to avoid financial ruin over medical issues.

Nick Stocker

Lake Helen

Republicans in Congress have given up their souls

Editor, The Beacon:

Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution states that the Congress shall have the power “To declare War.” So apparently, this clause of the Constitution is now null and void under the Idiot-in-Chief?

He has declared war via Twitter and served notice to Congress via Twitter. America is not safer because of the actions he took. He didn’t consult with Congress; the people at Mar-a-Lago knew more about this attack than the Congress did!

Republicans in Congress have given up their souls, their spines, their balls, and the U.S. Constitution. They are all a bunch of cowards for not holding this impeached idiot accountable. They have brought destruction down on America by their ass-kissing. I cannot wait to vote each and every one of them out if we survive what has happened here.

Terry Commean