To the Editor:

As we start a new year, have you asked yourself what you would like to see change in our world and community?

Personally, this past year has brought to my attention the massive disharmony we have in our society. Acrimony and disagreement seem to permeate every corner of life. David Fairman, director of MIT-Harvard Public Dispute Program, says the core of our polarization is a disregard in seeing the other side’s point of view.

In this limited space, let’s begin to look at ways to build harmony again. To that effort, let’s simply set a goal to seek and achieve unanimity – in other words, building consensus.

Webster’s describes consensus as “reaching accord, a majority of opinion.” Easily said, not so easily accomplished.

An article titled “The Art of Building Consensus,” by Reinhard Wolf, published in 2003, states that consensus decision-making is a decision-making process in which group members develop and agree to support a decision in the best interest of the whole.

Challenging? Yes. Moving view points from the left and right toward the center and moderation can be difficult but possible. A good start is developing and encouraging a common-sense dialogue with others.

Simply stated, truly listen, put yourself in the other’s shoes, seek out those things you can agree on first, and at all times, be civil.

Whether national, local or community issues, we need to work toward common ground solutions. Let us resolve in the year 2020 to return to being more respectful citizens and neighbors, striving for civil discourse, harmony and consensus building.

It can begin immediately, right now, starting with you and me.

Earle Everett

Moss Creek

To the Editor:

The 24-word Equal Rights Amendment simply states: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged in the United States or any state on account of sex.”

The word “women” is not mentioned anywhere in the U.S. Constitution. Ratification of the ERA would guarantee an inalienable right, equality for women and men.

The ERA was passed unanimously by both the House and Senate and signed by President Nixon in 1972. Currently, one more state is needed to ratify.

Although Virginia might reach that historic milestone in the next few weeks, why shouldn’t South Carolina be the 39th or 40th state and send a message to the residents of this state and this nation that South Carolina champions women’s equality?

South Carolina’s 2020 legislative session began Jan. 14. There are joint ERA resolutions in both the House and the Senate, each with bipartisan support.

Ratification of the ERA is not complicated. It ensures equality under the laws of this country regardless of gender. The economic, educational and legal benefits for our state are numerous.

Contact your representative and senator. Ask them to vote “yes” to ratify the ERA in South Carolina. As a local representative reminded me, “We run for office every two years and need to hear from our constituents.”

This is a nonpartisan, human rights issue. Let’s not make it about anything else.

Barbara Phillips Hammes

Hilton Head Island

To the Editor:

In a recent editorial, the writer wrote about “Group consensus and the Second Amendment.”

I never cease to be amazed that writers who can quote portions of the Second Amendment so eloquently always fail to quote the entire amendment. So let me.

The amendment, in its entirety, reads as follows:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Note the first four words and those that follow: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State. …”

Certainly, the rising amount of gun violence in this country merits some consideration for regulation and-or control.

Murray Turka

Hilton Head Island

To the Editor:

As the Bluffton Veterans Memorial is working towards completion, the American Legion Auxiliary and members of Post 205 would like to pass along many thanks and much gratitude to those that have worked toward promoting and establishing this great project.

To Town Manager Marc Orlando and his deputy Scott Marshall, to the Planning Committee, especially Constance Clarkson, Pat Rooney, Brian McIlwee and all their staff and volunteers, we extend our deepest appreciation.

A special thank you is extended to all those who have already purchased personalized bricks to either honor or remember a loved one or friend.

This Memorial is meant to be a reminder to all peoples for generations to come of the valor and self sacrifice of so many to keep our country safe.

There is still much time left for people and businesses to purchase a personalized brick to help ensure this project. The cost is $100 for three lines of 14 characters of verbiage.

Payment can be made to ALA Bluffton Vet Memorial, Box 1933, Bluffton SC 29910.

Kay Ranta

Chaplain, Post 205

American Legion Auxiliary

To the Editor:

On Jan. 7, you ran a column by S.C. Rep. Weston Newton about his good work following up on a meeting with a group of Sun City residents interested in promoting solar, and their effort to modify Sun City’s design guidelines to allow more residents the opportunity to install solar panels.

As a member of the group that met with Rep. Newton as well as Rep. Bill Herbkersman and S.C. Sen. Tom Davis, and the group that worked with the Sun City board of directors on the modification, I really appreciate our legislative delegation’s efforts to afford people the freedom to choose solar and other renewable energy that is so important to dealing with our climate crisis.

Rep. Newton’s article might have left the impression that our Sun City board of directors was unresponsive to residents’ concerns or the desire for solar. For people trying to make change important to them, it always seems to take too long. But, working with our board, the change was made and as of Jan. 1 our community has a far more welcoming approach to those exploring installing solar panels.

Working with our board was easy and pleasant. In fact, it felt more like a partnership with the board than anything else.

The board considered suggestions, sought community input, and, while we didn’t agree on everything, very important changes were made in a thoughtful manner. Our board responded in the very way residents would hope their board would operate.

I am now the proud owner of a solar system on my house and delighted to be producing renewable energy. Under the new guidelines, I might soon be applying for additional panels, and I’m happy to know my neighbors will have that opportunity too, if they want it.

Jeff Foreman

Bluffton

To the Editor:

A recent letter to Bluffton Sun by Peter Russ needs fact checking. Mr. Russ blames the current global warming on the cosmic position of Earth and predicts that “in the coming years our earth will slowly become cooler.”

What “slowly” means is not clear, but in any case this prophesy is contradicted by the overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary:

In an August 2018 article, the Washington Post quoted scientists who predicted “anomalously warm” weather in the next five years. Scientists agree that global warming is caused by humans.

The deniers of these facts like to scare us by the next ice age, but scientists predict its occurrence in 100,000 years. So, while waiting for the next ice age in 100,000 years we, homo sapiens, must reduce the rapidly growing global warming and poisoning of the air, water and soil in 10 years to avoid the self-imposed environmental catastrophe.

While we are destroying our planet by burning oil and gas, and cutting woods to accommodate the rapidly growing population, the false prophets blame the increasing hurricanes, floods and fires on the acts of God. This would be laughable were it not so sad.

Anatol Zukerman

Sun City Hilton Head