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Today's Opinions

  • One citizen, one vote a fair and equal system

    Every news story and opinion discussing the merits or faults of the Electoral College reflexively references the need to protect the interests of the people of the smaller states.

    But while such interests may have existed in the 1700s, when each state was founded by a distinct sect, nationality or ethnicity, such distinctions by state no longer exist.

    There is no longer a peculiarly distinct interest of the people of Tennessee any more than there is of the people of New York, Virginia or California.

  • INSIDE the First AMENDMENT: First Amendment will work — if we still have it

    Our First Amendment freedoms will work — if we still have them around to use.

    Those five freedoms — religion, speech, press, assembly and petition — have been challenged at various times in our nation’s history, as many would say they are today.

    But the very freedoms themselves provide the means and mechanisms for our society to self-correct those challenges, perhaps a main reason why the First Amendment has endured, unchanged, since Dec. 15, 1791.

  • GLIMPSES: Growing up with Kingston’s Santa

    By MARK BANKER

    Thirty-one years ago last week, a letter from Santa Claus arrived at our home in Albuquerque, N.M. Addressed to our 5-year-old daughter Tollie, its return address was “North Pole Village, 37763-0070.”

    Santa reminded Tollie that Christmas celebrates Jesus’ message of love and inquired what she had done to help “someone else have a good Christmas this year?”

  • Well-placed angels gave help in hour of need

    One of the lyrics in a song by the group Alabama is written with the following words: “They come to us in the darkest hour.”

    Recently, while serving as a physical education assistant to Ryan Townsend at Ridge View Elementary, I suddenly became disoriented and slowly wandered over to a chair.

  • GLIMPSES: From happy days to ‘Bitter 2016’?

    By MARK BANKER

    Like many successful candidates, Donald Trump provoked and benefitted from a dramatic shift in our national mood.

    More than his opponents and most pundits, he grasped that the anger and bitterness of 2016 emerged when disturbing recent developments collided with idyllic recollections of a not-too-distant past.

  • Chili supper boost big support for anti-drug group

    The Roane County Anti-Drug Coalition was honored to be chosen by state Sen. Ken Yager as the charity of choice for his 23rd annual chili supper.

    Our coalition was overwhelmed by the number of businesses and community members who donated items to be sold in the silent auction.

    In addition to the wonderful volunteers who made the event possible, the Coalition would like to thank the following businesses and individuals for their donations:

  • GLIMPSES: Legacies among the L’s of history

    By MARK BANKER

    Sometime in my 40 years as a teacher-historian, I envisioned “the five L’s” to help my students grasp and remember these insights.

    Land — lots of it, and a vast treasure trove of resources — assured our nation’s material successes and its many spinoffs.

    Location. Until recently, two wide oceans and unthreatening neighbors saved most Americans from the physical and emotional scars of invasion.

  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: Gatlinburg fire sparks memory of another

    Watching the reports of the fires in Gatlinburg earlier this week reminded me of a devastating wildfire I witnessed 25 years ago.

    Wildfires were not uncommon in California when I lived there in the 1980s and 1990s. It is a big state and the fires always seemed to be happening someplace else. It never really occurred to me that such devastation could ever touch my life.