Thursday Letters to the Editor

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House Friday, Nov. 16, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House Friday, Nov. 16, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS) TNS

On Trump

A recent letter writer pointed out that the majority in South Carolina voted for President Donald Trump in 2016; the letter writer also accused The State of not supporting Trump

Many have asked whether America is ready for a female or gay president, But no one ever asked whether we were ready for an incompetent, vindictive and traitorous narcissist as president — and look at the person we have in the White House now.

McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc said that “the quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.” Our Tweeter-in-Chief, however, has no standards.

I think that The State newspaper has exhibited remarkable integrity in trying to support what used to be considered “basic American” values!

Louise Plodinec, Aiken

On Benedict College

I am writing to express my wholehearted support for the decisions made by Benedict College President Roslyn Artis during the recent criminal justice forum that was hosted by the college and featured an appearance by President Donald Trump.

Benedict College provided its students with an opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime lesson in civil discourse while also increasing the college’s name recognition and gravitas as a brand.

All of the Benedict students that I spoke with expressed pride that two consecutive U.S. presidents have now come to their college. They witnessed a difficult and messy exchange of contrarian opinions in real time; at the same time the college did what was necessary to keep them safe. In my book, these were fantastic outcomes!

The positions that have been taken by those who have attacked Artis, Benedict College and our students on social media have been ill-informed and unproductive. Citizens bring about change not by self-segregating into ideologically pure echo chambers, but by engaging with the opposition and letting the superiority of their ideas — not the volume of their insults — win the day.

These are exactly the same sentiments that former President Barack Obama recently expressed, so Artis is in good company here. Both she and Benedict College did the right thing by hosting the forum.

Alexander Gorelik, West Columbia

Gorelik is an associate professor of mass communication at Benedict College.

On Hilinski’s Hope

As a retired school counselor I believe that the Hilinski family has instilled significant “hope” in our community.

In loving memory of their son, Tyler, who took his own life, the parents of University of South Carolina quarterback Ryan Hilinski have raised our awareness about the epidemic of suicide that plagues our country (and the role that mental illness plays in it).

They have also taught us how devastating the loss of a child is to any family. There are no words to describe it.

I want to thank Ryan and his family for boldly speaking out about a topic that is truly hard to discuss. I would also like to thank them for reminding us how a family can come together to get through any hardship.

Thanks for Hilinski’s Hope!

Jim Mancke, Columbia

On election ballots

I was surprised and disappointed when I went to cast my ballot on Election Day only to find that the screens on the new voting machines were out in the open; they were subject to being seen by everyone else in the room.

Have we sacrificed the confidentiality of the ballot to obtain a paper trail?

Pinckney Roberts, Columbia

On Beaufort County schools

Tuesday’s overwhelming voter approval of the Beaufort County School District’s $344 million bond referendum — the largest bond referendum in the school district’s history — was a dramatic demonstration of support for our 22,000 students and the bright futures we aim for them to achieve.

On behalf of the district I want to thank our community for approving this historic bond referendum aimed at improving school safety, renovating facilities and adding classroom space to address enrollment growth. Tuesday’s vote truly deserves to be celebrated.

But that celebration will be brief because now the real work of the referendum begins. Now we must demonstrate to voters that their vote of confidence was deserved. Now we must complete these important building projects on budget, and we must do that in a straightforward and transparent fashion.

Several things will happen within the next few weeks.

First, the Board of Education will select a financial adviser to guide the district in issuing the first bonds approved by the referendum.

Second, an independent citizen-led committee of community volunteers will be selected to monitor the expenditures of all referendum-related funds; this Referendum Oversight Committee will make regular public reports on those expenditures.

Third, a new website will allow parents and community members to track the progress of each referendum project as well as review regular reports from the citizen-led referendum oversight committee.

I encourage parents, students and community members to monitor our progress. We will do our best to earn and retain everyone’s confidence and support.

Frank Rodriguez, Beaufort County

Rodriguez is the superintendent of the Beaufort County School District.