Forum, Sept. 30: What Is the GOP Up To?

Friday, September 29, 2017
What the GOP Is Up To

I keep wondering what Republican voters are thinking about the actions their elected officials have been taking.

Starting with health insurance, and note that the topic is not “health care”: it’s about how only some Americans can obtain health care that they can afford. It’s about paying for health care.

Excellent health care is available in the U.S., but only some can access it and afford it — and this select group certainly includes all elected Republicans.

The Affordable Care Act has made significant inroads into the problem of unaffordable health care and insurance coverage for it. As with any new major government program — the Social Security, Medicare, Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts come immediately to mind — it was impossible for these acts’ framers to get them perfect in their first iteration.

And yet, instead of working to correct the ACA’s imperfections, House and Senate Republicans have tried around 50 times – and lost each time — to repeal, replace, obstruct, delay, defund and otherwise undo the gains for millions in Obamacare. In this, the Republicans have failed and failed and failed. In any other line of work, they would surely have been fired long ago.

Another example of Republicans not being worthy of re-election is that they have yet to pass any important legislation, in spite of “owning” the House, the Senate and the White House. On top of this, the top Republican — I do have trouble writing his name — has blocked, rescinded, canceled and done away with over 50 accomplishments of the Obama administration that helped ordinary citizens. Google “What Trump has undone” to see what harm he has done to our citizens and society.

Every single act and effort and appointment accomplished by the current administration that I have read about has this in common: They are designed to make daily life poorer and harder, and hurt most Americans, while benefiting and enriching those who are already, in many cases, wealthy beyond belief.

Thanks to a very few courageous Republican senators, the GOP, which now stands for “Greed Over People,” hasn’t been able to cripple the Affordable Care Act.

Michael Whitman


Stop the Insanity

The president of our great country and his ongoing insane verbal threats with the insane leader of North Korea is taking the world to the brink of a nuclear end for humanity and planet Earth. If Congress doesn’t have the courage to act soon, perhaps our military will. Would our generals reset the path of total annihilation Donald Trump has put us on by enacting a military coup? This is an extraordinary thought, but when all life is threatened and our collective elective leadership sits idly by because they fear not being re-elected, a nonentity next to the continued existence of life on Earth, should we the people not expect the extraordinary?

Jackie Smith


Write to Washington

Thank you, Valley News, for making our senators’ and representatives’ telephone numbers and email addresses so easily available.

The spot just below the editorial is very handy for the indignant, the appalled, the spluttering.

Citizens, send Washington your thoughts.

Patricia Henderson


A Lesson from ‘Star Trek’

I love Star Trek. I lean toward the original series, though I’d probably want to work for Picard rather than for Kirk. When at 3 a.m. I am unable to go back to sleep, Star Trek keeps me company. Just the other night I had one of those moments. I watched an episode called Day of the Dove. It’s the one in which Klingons and members of Kirk’s crew are unconsciously manipulated into warring hatred by an alien force. The alien feeds off of animosity. It grows stronger as hatred grows. Even the most seemingly enlightened members of Kirk’s crew are unable to recognize what is actually happening. The alien manufactures the drama and the two sides lose their minds, battling it out both ideologically and in the streets ... I mean, on the ship.

The only way to save the Enterprise from destruction is for the hatred and dehumanization on both sides to cease. Once the Klingons and the crew of the Enterprise choose to embrace as brothers, the alien loses all of its power and leaves the ship. It’s a really compelling episode.

Dan Weintraub


Worst-Case Scenarios

Lebanon’s Fire Chief discussed a possible accident with a propane rail tank car at the City Council meeting, as reported Sept. 22. Dealing with “worst-case” scenarios is hard for the public, whether it’s propane, nuclear power, airports, interstate routes, railroads or many other things in our high-tech society.

It is emotionally hard for a small number of people who become fixated on the particular worst case and ignore all the other worst cases. We need to acknowledge their concerns and carefully and kindly explain in detail what is done to prevent the worst case.

In all technologies with harmful and deadly potential, society does its best and then learns from experience. Chief Chris Christopoulos is very correct when he says he will never say “never.” Experience proves he is right, across all technologies.

The article did say that the worst case happens only if there is a fire lasting 30 to 100 minutes involving a tank car. What was not made clear is that the fire is outside the tank car, having been started by a mishap during filling or emptying. There is plenty of time to put out this fire. The dispatcher is notified every time tank cars or trucks are filled or emptied.

The map of the area possibly affected shows rail lines and several highways used by trucks. Not on the map are I-89 and the airport. Planes have crashed into the cities around them on takeoff and landing.

In all worst-case evaluations it is rational to ask what the odds are that it will happen, and what can be done to make the event even rarer.

Howard Shaffer


Calm Down, Driver

To the “gentleman” who passed me on Beaver Meadow Road, Sharon, on Wednesday morning: I want to add a few points which you did not allow me to say at the time.

(1.) When I saw you closely following me and wanting to pass me because I was going, as you pointed out, 30 mph in a 35 mph zone, I moved toward the center of the road and honked because you were attempting to pass me while on a dirt road, on a curve and on a hill. I knew I needed to turn left into my driveway soon after the curve/hill. You passed me anyway, pulled in front and stopped abruptly — forcing me to stop — and came back to confront me. You did not want to listen to my explanation.

(2.) We both passed at least two signs posted by homeowners along Beaver Meadow asking motorists to “please slow down.” Speeding is very common along that road. So the only other comment I made to you was that if you lived along that road, you would not want to speed. Your response was that you were going 35 mph, and if we wanted drivers to slow down, we should request a reduction in the speed limit. I wonder if that would work?

Regardless, because I did not want the situation to escalate, I simply kept repeating, “Please, just continue, namaste.” I repeated it a few times to get you to calm down. Eventually, you did. Now, by writing this to the Forum, I hope that I too will calm down.

Janet Eller