‘Would there have been a United States?’ and more

Letters to the editor September 24 to 30

Posted 9/23/20

Letters to the editor September 24 to 30

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‘Would there have been a United States?’ and more

Letters to the editor September 24 to 30

Posted

‘Would there have been a United States?’

There can be little disagreement with the sentiments of John Pace’s letter published on August 27. But, with a revisionist impulse presently afoot, it might be instructive to revisit a few might-have-beens. If the Northern colonies had not appeased the South on slavery, would the Articles of Confederation have been replaced? Essentially, would there have been a United States? If the Constitution had not disregarded race (in fact, every presently protected category), would the slavery issue have been resolved sooner? If the federal courts had not hybridized slaves, property on the one hand but persons on the other, could we have maintained institutional and systemic racism as long as we have? If the Constitution had made clear that ratification was irrevocable, could the phony states’ rights justification for secession have been advanced? If the remedy of eminent domain had been employed, as it was in the District of Columbia, would the bloody Civil War have been avoided? Surely, slavery is our original sin—not of Adam and Eve but still ancestral—that has found its way into every institution and personal relationship. The victims have more-or-less reconciled with their oppressors, but the latter have only with great difficulty found a way to acknowledge that forgiveness. So, we should heed writer Pace’s call to a hopefully redemptive future, while admitting that we did this to ourselves (and, sadly, which two-fifths of our country-people are willing to continue).

John A. MacKinnon
Lackawaxen, PA

Access to broadband and utilities is essential

We all know that modern life depends on having power in our homes and high-speed internet. When the price of utilities goes up, or when we incur additional costs due to power failures, it is a hardship for many of us. Now, during COVID-19, broadband is essential for many of us to work, visit our doctors, attend school and shop for what we need.

Sen. Jen Metzger, as a lawyer, advocated for consumers before the Public Service Commission for many years before she was elected New York State Senator for the 19th district in 2018. Now she is using her expertise to advocate for us in Albany. People who have lost jobs during this pandemic and are unable to pay their utility bills will be protected by legislation that Metzger co-sponsored and passed (S8113A). This legislation will protect consumers from having their utilities and phone services terminated through March 31, 2021. Payments would be deferred without penalties or late fees. In the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias, Metzger and Sen. James Skoufis advocated for customers of Central Hudson. Metzger and Skoufis are working to help get reimbursement for food and other costs incurred due to power outages resulting from the storm.

Deficiencies in the broadband services which enable high-speed internet is a common problem in rural New York. Without broadband, telehealth, online education, working from home via the internet and online shopping are all impossible. In today’s world, these are essential services. In July 2020, Metzger sponsored a bill (S8805) that would recognize access to high-speed internet as a right of all New Yorkers. This bill was passed in the Senate and the Assembly and is now awaiting the signature of Gov. Cuomo.

Metzger is smart, experienced and dedicated to improving the lives of her constituents. She hit the floor running when she joined the New York State Senate in January 2019. Let’s re-elect her for another term in this 2020 election. We need her.

Kathryn M. Adorney
Gardiner, NY

‘His justification for replacing Ginsburg’

The Republicans under Trump and McConnell have been playing hardball. The Democrats, including Obama, have been playing nice. Trump and McConnell find the soft spots in our traditions and probe them and the Democrats play by the rules. The Democrats, with help from the media, will concentrate on calling McConnell a hypocrite. He is happy to have that be the subject; his rationalization for blocking Garland’s appointment to the court was just cover for getting away with what he could. The same will be the case for his  justification for replacing Ginsburg.

What could Obama have done in the Garland case instead of counting on Hilary winning the election? He might have declared that the Republicans failing to perform their constitutional duty to “advise and consent” was tantamount to approval and proceeded with having Garland sworn in to the court. A battle would have ensued—one worth fighting.

What can the Democrats do now about McConnell’s pledge to have a replacement for Ginsburg before the new president is elected or even installed? The insane rules of the senate allow McConnell to have his way unless four Republican senators ironically choose to follow the “rule” McConnell set in the Garland case. Or if the Democrats take the challenge with a curve ball of their own. The senate rules don’t allow a filibuster in matters of judgeship selection. But disrupting Senate business with a filibuster on the first thing to come up in the session, until McConnell withdraws his threat to seat a Trump appointee, might work. What effect would that have on the election? Nobody knows, but it would be incumbent on the Democrats to make sure the Republicans are blamed for senate disruption. At the very least, Democrats should promise that if the Republicans appoint a replacement for Ginsburg and the Democrats take back the Senate in the election, they will add two liberal judges to the court, and then they should do so.

Roy Tedoff
Fremont, NY

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