Forum, May 9: Voters Have the Ultimate Say

Tuesday, May 08, 2018
Voters Have the Ultimate Say

I applaud the Valley News for writing an editorial in support of the public employees who are funded by taxes (“Revolt of the Teachers: Educators Demand More Resources,” April 29).

The concluding paragraph calling for public employees to wrench funds from “politicians who want to maintain a stranglehold” on “pay raises and more resources,” however, overlooks one crucial point. Voters who elect austerity-minded politicians do so because they are convinced that all government spending is bad and that all taxes are confiscatory.

Voters who lost jobs when mills closed, who lost benefits and pensions when their former employers were bought by a larger conglomerate, and who are struggling to make ends meet are generally not sympathetic to public sector employees who are fully employed and hold jobs that offer good wages, benefits and pensions. And their sympathy for public sector workers is even more diminished when those employees are funded by their taxes.

Many voters who work in the private sector want to see government run like a business, and most of the major donors to both political parties see “privatization” as the ultimate solution to the problem of “government inefficiency.” Both conservatives and neo-liberals believe that deregulated for-profit businesses could do a better job of providing education, police protection, firefighting and road maintenance because competition will result in those tasks being done at the lowest cost possible. The resulting race to the bottom in wages and benefits will benefit the businesses that assume responsibility for these functions, and it might save the taxpayers some money, but it will also result in a further hollowing out of the middle class.

If public sector employees want to elect officials who support more government spending, or “wrench” more funds from politicians, they will first need to convince a majority of voters that government isn’t the problem and their taxes are being well spent.

Wayne Gersen


Chance for Reconciliation at DHMC

The story about the Rev. John Nwagbaraocha (“Former DHMC Chaplain Sues Hospital, Alleging Discrimination in Termination,” April 27), evoked memories of my own heritage.

My first year in public school was a struggle to understand and communicate in a new language. Clothing I wore set me further apart, and foods packed into my lunchbox were radically different from those my classmates enjoyed. I am happy to tell you, today I am fully immersed in the hodgepodge of our American culture. Best of all, those set-apart days created a thirst in me to learn from others about their cultural experiences.

A chance encounter in a corridor at DHMC presented one such opportunity. Guessing I detected the distinctive accent of the Ibo tribe in the speech of the articulate priest before me, I asked Nwagbaraocha — Father John — about his first culture. In the years following, appreciation for his wisdom, fairness and acceptance of all people without regard to the color of their skin, health, social status, political persuasion or religious creed has flourished to a deep respect for this foreign-born priest with an impeccable sense of propriety.

Yes, I am saddened for DHMC patients past and present not touched by Father John’s ministry. Nonetheless, a civil court will prevail upon the issue of justice. By contrast, the very heart of Christian faith — professed both by the Rev. Frank Macht, DHMC’s director of chaplaincy, and by Father John — is forgiveness and reconciliation. The hospital chaplaincy position formerly fulfilled by Father John was offered to a Tanzanian-born priest; the latter priest subsequently declined the position. Would it not be the Gospel in truest form to open this position to Father John, the priest who has proven himself to be trustworthy, available around the clock, dependable and dedicated?

Susan Baxter


More Information About Ticks

The Valley News article about Green Up Day (“Ready, Set, Pick Up Trash,” May 3) had good safety tips for volunteers of all ages, including wearing long pants and gloves.

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and the UNH Extension website (https://extension.unh.edu) has additional advice for protecting your children and yourself from deer tick bites and Lyme disease.

Margaret Bragg