All value systems are functionally religious, which is to say they attempt to "re-ligature" (from the Latin root re-ligare) the primordial rent that cleaves the human psyche. There is no reason for religious believers to postulate the existence of a God. By definition, we are religious the moment we seek wholeness in any fragmented human condition.
Paradoxically, many of those who are least likely to identify themselves as believers worship the oldest and crassest deities. Wall Street worships the Golden Calf. Hollywood worships the Indus Valley's lingam and roni. These are real gods.
As a culture, we have normalized vice, rendered vice-iousness/viciousness virtue. Greed, avarice, lust, envy, pride and anger are construed as essential qualities for anyone hoping to make their way in the modern world. The problem is not that we are godless, but that we refuse to recognize the inevitability of worship.
The collapsing Trade Towers immersed us in the same global stew. As painful as it has been, we suddenly find ourselves in a better position to examine which deities are best suited to making human beings whole. Establishing the terms of this new debate will not be easy. Those who consider themselves above the fray will not readily admit they're already in the thick of it.
Like it or not, we are all believers. The question is this: what beliefs enable escape from the cycles of violence? What credo can short-circuit self destruction?
--ALAN ARCHIBALD, HILLSBOROUGH
I am writing in response to an article that appeared quite a few weeks ago. It was an interesting review of a one-woman stage show. You might think I'm trying to beat a dead horse or kill two birds with one stone as there's more than one way to skin a cat. My concern is with the use of "wifebeater" to describe a shirt sold in the lobby after the show. Although everyone knows exactly what a wifebeater shirt is, and any other description would probably require more words for the ubiquitous attire, I think the term trivializes the actual meaning of the word.
--CATHERINE BANNER, DURHAM
No parties here
Recently, I was approached by a candidate for Carrboro Board of Aldermen and asked, "When did the Democratic Party start endorsing candidates for alderman?" Perplexed, I responded by asking where anyone got the idea that we did so. After all, municipal elections are non-partisan. I was referred to Jon Elliston's article in the Sept. 12-18 issue of The Independent profiling one of the candidates and was surprised to find it had been reported that, "At the local level, Democrats are pinning their hopes on" the candidate profiled.
News to me, and the rest of the executive committee of the Orange County Democratic Party. No one in the party was interviewed or called for comment on this story. We of the Orange County Democratic Party are pleased that municipal elections have attracted the diverse range of candidates who have filed. We encourage and welcome all candidates to attend our events and functions to meet with, and present their messages to voters.
Municipalities in Orange County have, however, deliberately chosen to keep their elections non-partisan. The Orange County Democratic Party respects this choice and hence does not endorse or work on behalf of candidates in non-partisan elections. As such, any indication that the party has endorsed or favors any candidate or candidates in these races is inaccurate. We encourage all citizens to learn about and evaluate all candidates individually and vote on Nov. 6.
--ALEX ZAFFRON, CHAIR, ORANGE COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY, CHAPEL HILL
I'm a student at the University of North Carolina, and I support Kevin Foy for Mayor of Chapel Hill. I know there is an impression that students don't care about the town. But the truth is that we are citizens here, too, and during our time here most of us grow to love Chapel Hill. We love it for many of the same reasons that permanent residents do, and we have the same interest in making sure that it grows into a place that is as great tomorrow as it is today.
One of the things that I like about Kevin Foy is that he sees connections between things. For example, he worked with last year's Student Body President, Brad Matthews, along with others, to develop the fare-free bus system that will begin in Chapel Hill this January. That was smart, because it means that students, along with everyone else, will be able to get around quickly, cheaply, and easily, without using their cars. That means less traffic and less air pollution. It means more people can live here comfortably. So I'm going to vote Foy for mayor on Nov. 6th and look forward to more smart decisions about growth.
--CARLO ROBUSTELLI, CHAPEL HILL
On the record
In a few short weeks we will have the opportunity to elect a new mayor who will lead Chapel Hill in a way that will serve the needs of our citizens. His opponent, Lee Pavao, has been on the town council for eight years and for that entire time he has supported every development and road widening (to accommodate more traffic) that came before the council.
Excessive development and what it brings--bumper to bumper traffic; crowded schools and higher taxes to support the building and staffing of them; demands for more water, sewers and roads; polluted air; flooded creeks and increased needs for more town government and employees (fire, police, public works and sanitation) adds nothing to our quality of life, but rather diminishes it. Does this describe the very conditions that we are now experiencing in Chapel Hill?
Development can and must be planned and regulated so that this very special jewel called Chapel Hill is protected. We need a leader who has demonstrated his commitment to protect our beautiful environment and our neighborhoods, to reduce traffic through alternative means of transportation rather than widening roads unnecessarily, and to delay development from being built until there is enough classroom space for the children who will live there. Check the voting records of the two candidates for mayor to see who has demonstrated this commitment. His name is Kevin Foy.
--JANE AND TOM SHIRO, CHAPEL HILL
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