As one of thousands of year-round residents who welcome the second-plus home residents, students, tourists, the friends of friends or relatives of friends or the passers through and by who appreciate these beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, I write to give a local perspective.

My great grandfather homesteaded in these mountains and I appreciate nice folks who also appreciate life in this region. The fact that political perspectives are as individual and essential to a thriving Democracy isn’t lost on me. Worries back home don’t get to escape to a second or third home away from home. They include the many people who love these mountains. I am happy for those who come to these mountains to escape the messy realities they leave behind. The beauty of love and brotherhood is that. As we learn and practice mutual respect, our collective reality becomes less ugly.

Disappointment and dismay run deep as I watch the integrity of our leaders diminish. Watching our beloved community become too expensive for local residents to survive within and discovering the aesthetic, superficial concerns bruise another’s appreciation for sacred territory, makes me wonder. What the hey?

It occurs to me that people are individuals. We conform to a collective, mutually beneficial understanding because we see a greater good, a possibility for peace and coexistence. Code is hardly necessary to express hatred and judgment. My eyes see a sign (btw, I know not the origin of the signs and applaud their presence because I truly value love, in every expression) about love.

The letter, “Housing and Poverty in Boone” (Aug. 7) resonates in these gorgeous hills. “We” recognising words as code implies a code. I’d consider attending a free program about who “we” is and the recognized “code” words that depict the extrapolation defined following these signs referring to love. Yes, love is a most basic, primally understood word. For the confused reader, here is the verbiage of the now controversial signs: “Say no to hate. Say Yes to love. Love God. Love Your Neighbor.”

I love many people who find acceptance (immediate family included) through equal rights that society (including the Supreme Court, btw) decided; the basic rights of a U.S. citizen granted through acknowledgement that love is love. No one is calling another person a “hater” by posting a sign about love and reminding this rattled, most divided society about the one word that has the potential to unite us. The number of homes one owns, the number of visitors one draws to an already overpopulated area, the concern over their potential distress over signs about love seem hardly an act of bullying. I am glad you are not alone. One of my favorite songs is titled, “No Man is an Island.” I believe it. Signs are not inappropriate, unfair and nor is anything about them unjust. Love thy neighbor includes someone loving those who hate. Welcome to the High Country.

Genevieve Austin


(1) comment


May God bless you Genevieve Austin -- your comments are appreciated and must be pleasing to our Lord.

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