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Forum, July 20: Reverse attacks on voting

Published: 7/19/2021 10:00:02 PM
Modified: 7/19/2021 10:00:06 PM
Reverse attacks on voting

Like many of my fellow Americans, I am frustrated with the roadblocks put up by Republicans in Congress that prevent even starting a conversation on critical pieces of legislation. I’m frustrated with the GOP’s relentless attack on our basic rights, including our freedom to vote. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, 17 states have enacted 28 new laws this year that make it more difficult for eligible Americans to cast their ballots.

But I certainly haven’t lost hope — or my determination. Right now, legislators are considering two crucial bills, the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Together, these bills would create national standards for voting and stop unjust and unfair voting laws. These bills are exactly what we need to reverse the worst attacks on our voting rights that we’ve seen in years.

I am urging Congress to prioritize voting rights and pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.



Reality of climate change

The climate has changed and we are witnessing catastrophic consequences. Recent apocalyptic headlines report unprecedented flooding in western Germany and Belgium that have killed more than 100 people; Arctic “zombie” fires in Siberia; hellish record temperatures in the Pacific Northwest and desert Southwest; devastating wildfires in California, Oregon and Montana; portions of the Amazon rainforest that now emit more CO2 than is sequestered; and ongoing drought and resulting deadly famine in Ethiopia, Madagascar and Yemen.

Despite the evidence, we are largely behaving like nothing serious is happening. Now that COVID-19 restrictions are lifting, airline travel and extravagant consumer patterns are resuming. Scientists have continued to warn that our current consumptive behavior is unsustainable and beyond the carrying capacity of the planet. And as the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated, denying science is deadly.

We must accept the reality of climate change and behave like it is the most urgent and existential crisis mankind has faced. We must raise our collective voices to demand immediate action to dramatically reduce carbon emissions, and change our behaviors by using less of nearly everything — energy, plastics, luxuries — by sharing much more of our time, talent and compassion and by strengthening and rebuilding our communities and ecosystems. When we are conscious of the consequences of our every action and we purposefully work together to build resilient communities and support our neighbors, we can foster a movement of hope. I appreciate Sen. Bernie Sanders’ question: “To those who say we cannot afford to act on climate, I ask you sincerely: what is the alternative?”



Joy in singing harmonies

It was an honor for the members of our barbershop quartet to be featured in the Valley News photographs covering the dedication of a bench in memory of Elmer Brown, a stalwart citizen of Thetford and a dedicated recruiter of voices to barbershop singing (“A song in the key of remembrance,” July 16).”

I would like to shine the spotlight on the members of the Hanover chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, including Bruce Pacht (president) and Dan Falcone (director), who conceived and organized the event and who produced fine performances from the North Country Chordsmen and the VoxStars (a mixed chorus). Elmer Brown, whose hat and voice part (bass) I have inherited in his quartet, One Mode of Expression, would have wanted each of you to consider finding your potential for happiness by singing music with barbershop harmonies. I’ve certainly found great joy in doing so!



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