'A most precious resource' and more

Letters to the editor from September 10 to 16

Posted 9/9/20

Letters to the editor from September 10 to 16

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'A most precious resource' and more

Letters to the editor from September 10 to 16

Posted

The notion of rights

Human rights are neither endowed by a creator nor granted by virtue. They are and ever have been garnered by humans struggling against what otherwise might be the barbaric state of things. There is no abstract right to food—witness worldwide starvation and malnutrition. Neither is shelter a right, as the millions of homeless can attest. The “Bill of Rights,” an addendum to the original U.S. Constitution, offered Americans some hope, but noticeably, the right to free medical care for all citizens was unsurprisingly overlooked. Further, generations after emancipation, Black people and women were somehow still deemed as not fully deserving of the right to vote. That particular insidious condition was corrected by yet more generations of extended and arduous mass struggle, eventually leading to still further constitutional adjustments.

The bad news is that almost invariably, throughout history, human societies and governmental regimes have consistently reminded us that we have no inherent rights. For example; almost everywhere in the world (including Portland, OR), if you want to peacefully protest, you very well may be arrested or shot, willy-nilly, regardless of your “rights.”

The good news is that, in this country, we have mostly been able to engage in political struggle which has ultimately moved social norms away from totalitarian notions and toward the goals of expanded rights (e.g. free speech, fair housing, Social Security, Medicare, etc.), providing for “the common good.” That is a very real and optimistic historical trend that should be reinvigorated after this November’s highly anticipated, governmental “house-cleaning” election.

Now as to the right to refuse to wear a mask during a pandemic, when was that won? Is that part of the struggle for the common good? Especially as primarily your mask helps me and mine helps you, I don’t see a refusal to wear one as anything but infantile, delusional or purposely mean-spirited. To whomever it applies, I humbly ask that you leave behind all flat earth notions and join the scientifically based behaviors of your neighbors and fellow citizens. Please, don a mask for our indisputable common good. Let’s hope that such a behavior finally goes “viral.”

John Pace
Honesdale, PA

Policies over character

Whenever I hear someone say Donald Trump’s policies matter more than his character, I’m reminded facts can be a friend to anyone willing to heed them.

Whatever people think of Joe Biden’s policies, he’s widely regarded as a good and decent man, even from across the aisle—former Defense Secretary Robert Gates and staunch Trump supporter U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, to name just two. But I haven’t heard much about Donald Trump being good and decent. His habit of writing checks with his mouth that gets cashed by picking someone else’s pocket, however, is notorious.

It’s difficult locating the money Mexico paid for his wall he’s now having taxpayers fund. His businesses were caught employing undocumented workers for years—only to fire them when reporting revealed it—despite his railing against illegal immigration. And public records show he’s stiffed working families by refusing to pay what he owed to hundreds of people who worked for him, giving new voice to his 2016 primary-election night victory speech: “No matter who you are, we’re going to protect your job.”

It’s no surprise then that public records also show he’s been involved in more than 3,500 lawsuits over three decades.

Who then can really say? Is he just a bad businessman, a scofflaw, or too cheap to pay his bills?

The extent that his habit has indelibly stained his legacy, however, is exceeded only by its virulence: First, by insisting COVID-19 is a hoax, then insisting it’d be gone this past spring and, finally, applauding himself for a job well done. Hundreds of thousands of sickened and dead Americans later have now had their pockets picked clean.

Dave Colavito
Rock Hill, NY

‘A most precious resource’

Senator Jen Metzger cares about a most precious resource: our children. Her cares translate into action and recent actions will benefit our children’s education and health. She proposed S8805, a bill that passed with bipartisan support. It will give access to affordable and reliable internet service to everyone in New York State which is especially vital during the pandemic when going to school means going online.

Jen knows that healthy children are more alert and learn better so she helped put together a farm-to-school food program for Ellenville. Supported by federal and state grants, it will also address childhood obesity and bring more business to our local farmers.

It’s a win win! And that’s what Jen Metzger is: a state senator, who listens to us, cares about us and moves bipartisan legislation to help us.

Vote to keep a good thing going! Vote to keep Jen Metzger our state senator on November 3 or earlier.

Doris Chorny
Gardiner, NY

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