In response to last week's Soapboxer, which discussed Senator Richard Burr's attacks on opponent Deborah Ross over the issue of flag-burning, commenter cityfox writes: "If you've seen Richard Burr outside of a major GOP 'give me your bucks bazaar,' raise your hand! Oh my! Not many regular North Carolinians get to see or hear from Burr about jobs, affordable housing, or bringing home the bacon. What's more, the 'invisible' senator was nowhere to be found when his party's presidential nominee spoke in Wilmington. Huh? Guess Burr doesn't want North Carolinians to know he supports Trump because the party told him who to back and how to vote.
"Maybe Richard Burr can explain why an American flag lapel pin makes him more patriotic than anyone else. Patriotism is about loyalty to America, not allegiance to a political party over all else. Patriotism is about protecting the rights of all, including the incendiary and threatening comments of 'Donny Dangerous.' BTW, Governor McCrory didn't shy away from saying he supports Trump."
Joe Swain of Carrboro, meanwhile, sees mixed signals in our pages on First Amendment issues. "I'm perplexed at the mixed signals the INDY is sending in the August 10 edition. In Soapboxer, Jeffrey Billman voices a full-throated defense of the First Amendment in his analysis of Senator Burr's attack on Deborah Ross and her record with the ACLU. But in TL;DR: The INDY's Quality-of-Life Meter, you give +3 to the Elon students who tried to block an on-campus speech by Kathleen Parker, who dared to write a book the students don't agree with. Your meter writer and those students need to take to heart Billman's words: 'The First Amendment wasn't meant to protect viewpoints everyone agrees with. It was meant to protect the radicals, the unsavory, those with dangerous opinions.' Argue, don't ban."
Last but not least: online last week we posted a story about local co-ops deciding to carry Driscoll's berries despite the objections of farmworker advocates. Pro-Dude says the anti-Driscoll camp needs to "see the bigger issue here: the fact that there are labor laws in the U.S. that allow this kind of thing to happen in the first place. If you think the issue begins and ends with the Sakuma brothers, whom Driscoll buys a small portion of their berries from, then you are sadly mistaken. If you eat avocados, bananas, or really anything that didn't come from a fair trade-certified farm, then it was likely as cheap as it was because of unfair labor practices. When in stores, I regularly hear customers complain about the high prices of produce. Terms like 'Whole Paycheck' come to mind. Well, if you want food grown responsibly, by workers who are treated fairly, then be willing to pay the price for it. Unfortunately, we have a very broken system, where underpaid people need cheap food to survive on, which is made cheap because they were produced or harvested by underpaid people. So stop focusing on the small issue, and start doing something about the larger problem."