You have to look at both sides

October 30, 2011
James Willhite

Re: Herman Vaughn’s letter to the editor of Oct. 23:
I read Mr. Vaughn’s letter with some apprehension as to whether this was a common viewpoint among my neighbors. It concerned me in several ways.  In his letter he talks about the fact that he has not, nor ever will, vote for a Republican. This statement comes just after he talks about Jim Crow laws and flying the Confederate flag. It leads me to wonder if he needs to be reminded of our history.

First of all, Jim Crow laws were first passed in the 1870s by conservative, white, Democratic state governments, not Republicans. His statement actually makes me wonder if he would vote for Abraham Lincoln if he were alive today, after all he was a Republican.

I think that Mr Vaughn needs to realize that there have been many politicians who are willing to lie and cheat, both for personal gain, and to promote their personal agenda. But these people have come from both sides of the aisle. I believe that we need to hold our elected officials from both parties to a much higher standard than has been recently accepted. Part of this higher standard needs to be considering an alternate viewpoint based on merits, and not on the race of the person presenting the alternative.

His statements about the TEA party makes me wonder if he has actually ever been to a TEA party meeting. I also wonder if he has ever sat down and talked to an actual TEA party member about why they support this particular movement.

He spoke of the Confederate flag. Personally, I can’t remember the last time I saw anyone flying the Confederate flag anywhere in Texas, so I wonder where this comment came from.

As for displaying the Confederate flag in other ways, I actually believe that this needs to happen. We need to be reminded that America suffered through this terrible time in our history. We also need to be reminded that while racism was one of the major causes of the civil war, for many, the war was about state’s rights. The problem is that if  we remove from society all reminders of the Civil War we will become less mindful of this historical conflict.

In the immortal words of Edmund Burke “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”

Finally, while Mr Vaughn apparently has no trouble saying that many of the letters to the editor of the Odessa American are “from the same old people spewing ignorance” I have a hard time believing this.   

However, in his case I do tend to wonder if this statement is not somewhat apropos.