Forum, March 6: Equal Rights Trump States’ Rights

Sunday, March 05, 2017
Equal Rights Trump States’ Rights

Remember when segregationists wanted to protect their ancient subjugation of nonwhites? They claimed that “Segregation is an issue best decided by states.” The rest of us said, “We can’t have states be part of this union and not abide by the equal justice provisions of the Constitution.” So we wound up sending troops into Arkansas to ensure that black students attending college wouldn’t be lynched.

We are one nation, indivisible, and equal rights trumps individual state power. When special education services for persons with severe disabilities were available in only a few states, guess where families had to move? When free and appropriate education for all children regardless of handicapping condition became the law of the land, families in every state could organize to get help. States certainly still had differences of nuance, some including all children ages 0 to 26, others opting for the 3 to 18 minimum, but it was national law, and it has worked.

Now suddenly, transgender individuals won’t be able to use a bathroom in accordance with the gender identification they choose because “This is an issue best left to individual states.” No, it isn’t. Why do bathrooms even have gender identification in the first place?

When I went to use a public toilet in a bistro in France for the first time, I found there was a common sink and separate stalls available for use by folks of either sex. Are there statistics on how many individuals have been assaulted in bathrooms by folks trying to pass as “transgender” in the U.S. in the last 25 years? My guess is zero, or close to it.

Opponents talk about “privacy” and “protection” when what they really want to be protected from is recognition that life isn’t simple. So I guess we are going to have to fight again, and this time the transgender folks must lead the way. Let’s give them our full support as fellow humans just trying to get through their allotted years on the planet to pursue their own peace and happiness.

Bruce Pacht


Free Yourself From the Media

Recently, George W. Bush said, “I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy. We need an independent media to hold people like me to account.” The problem is that we don’t have an independent media, and they certainly don’t hold people like him to account.

What we do have is a mass media conglomerate, owned by a handful of media mogul billionaires, represented by their overpaid, stuffed shirt, talking heads. They don’t speak truth to power. Instead they worship power and the powerful.

As a source of local information, the Valley News provides a valuable service. But the conglomerated, amalgamated, syndicated, incorporated mass media is a different matter. The concept of fake news doesn’t go nearly far enough. The mass media has created a fake reality. The most important division between people in America isn’t left and right or black and white. It’s between those whose world view and political opinions are still shaped by the mass media and those who have rejected it.

If I were to make one suggestion, it would be this: gather up your televisions and take them to the dump. Just take that trash to the dump. Free your mind.

Neil Meliment


All in the First Family

Donald Trump reminds me somehow of Archie Bunker. He’s kind of funny, and, by the way, he’s also kind of scary.

Martha Drake


Dear Annie: About This President

I believe there may have been an error in the Feb. 28 paper regarding your headline on the “Dear Annie” column — “Pattern of Lying Makes it Hard to Know the Truth.”

I believe you intended that to be the title of an article about the Donald Trump administration. The best way to sum up the current state of the beginning of this presidency is ... “Sad.”

Mark Detzer