Forum, Sept. 12: Vigilance Is Our Job as American Citizens

Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Vigilance Is Our Job As American Citizens

Sometimes — and a bit more often, I’d say — we need to be reminded that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

Wise and prescient woman that I am, I said to anyone who’d listen that the election of Donald Trump was a very good thing. Just as periodic wildfires are necessary for the ultimate health of the forest, a populace sometimes must confront the worst in order to be spurred to strive for the best.

National media have reported on the failed attempt of the election board of a majority-black Georgia county to close seven of nine polling stations in advance of the November election. No one, I think, will be surprised to hear that one of the two candidates for governor there is a black Democratic woman. Her opponent, a white man, is — wait for it — currently the Georgia secretary of state and overseer (irony in that word, ain’t there?) of the state election system.

Vigilance, I’m happy to report, has worked out fine there. The plan was discovered and now canceled; the consultant who came up with it (a supporter of the Republican candidate) has been fired, and voters are reminded of what many of their friends, relatives and neighbors fought for decades ago — a right they may have thought to have been permanently secured.

Trump has emboldened the wretched but he didn’t spawn them. They have always been among us. It is our job — each of us — to fight for good public education, equitable social policy that excludes no one, and to let no falsehood or bad behavior go unchallenged, regardless of who might utter or engage in it. Sometimes that means confronting those we regard as being, usually, on the “right side.”

It was necessary, in 2016, that the Democrats lost. They betrayed all of us by anointing the worst of all possible candidates and thinking we’d have no choice but to grimace and swallow. Have they learned the lesson yet? Stay tuned.

Sarah Crysl Akhtar


Putting Our Money Where the Crisis Is

In “Losing Earth,” the Aug. 5 article in The New York Times Magazine by Nathaniel Rich, NASA’s Jim Hansen estimates the cost of necessary CO2 removal to be between $89 trillion and $535 trillion this century. Whatever the cost, the entire effort of reducing CO2 and establishing a stable carbon balance in both atmosphere and ocean will be huge and may take two or more centuries to accomplish.

The effort will require presidential leadership willing to open new financial paths, such as an extensive use of “sovereign money” — that’s money the administration can legally create and deposit in a government bank with no ties to the Federal Reserve. It’s money that need have no interest charged and would be closely managed for use on planetary issues like global warming and related tasks.

Abraham Lincoln used sovereign money to fight the Civil War, and John F. Kennedy had paperwork ready to introduce it when he was killed. Today, humanity faces a planetary crisis like none before. The use of sovereign money may be new to the United States in the 21st century, but with the absolute necessity of reversing global warming, I don’t see any other way.

The sovereign money used to pay contractors and other employees working on planetary issues would eventually find its way into the market economy, thereby adding to the wealth of participating parties and nations.

In short, we’d be instituting a kind of hybrid economy consisting of the existing market economy and a new sovereign-money-based economy with the Earth being its primary client.

The planet, when healthy, more than pays us back. That our market-based economy doesn’t recognize the Earth’s value is one reason we’ve constructed a financial system tied to money and wealth, regulated to ignore science except when it leads to short-term profits.

Altering our financial system and using sovereign money could change all that. It would be an opportunity to justly spread the wealth to those involved in this critical effort. Effectively fighting global warming may do much more than simply fight global warming.

Charles McKenna


Build a Tunnel Detector

Don’t build a wall on the border. If we build a 20-foot wall, the Mexicans will counter with a 21-foot ladder.

Building a wall won’t keep drug dealers and other criminals out. Rather than crossing the border by going over a wall where they might be seen, they go underground. A tunnel is hard to detect, especially when its terminus is inside a building. Drugs and people enter that way undetected.

Rather than spending money building a wall, we should research how to detect tunnels under the border.

Robert Norman


Trump’s Petty Animus

Every time I think this tin pot dictator wannabe who currently occupies the Oval Office cannot sink any lower in my estimation he proves me wrong. Shame on me. There’s an old joke that asks: What’s the difference between stupidity and genius? The answer: There’s a limit to genius. Similarly there appears to be no limit to this man’s moral depravity.

President Donald Trump could not get past his petty personal animus to honor Sen. John McCain, a man who served his country honorably in war and peace, a man thought of as an American hero by members of both political parties.

Three former presidents, two of them Democrats, attended services for John McCain at the National Cathedral in Washington. Barack Obama and George Bush eulogized him eloquently.

The would-be emperor of America played golf. Again. We cannot depose him soon enough.

Lloyd Bunten