U.S. needs more diplomacy, not force
After reading the column titled “PRO: We need to beef up our military — and then some,” I felt the need to respond despite the article being a tad old.
The author argues that the United States needs to bolster military defenses. However, I argue that the United States does not need to do so.
The U.S.’s 2015 discretionary spending shows that 54% of federal spending went towards the military.
Contrary to popular belief, increasing the military is not the only way to improve national security. In fact, solely relying on the military to improve national security is actually more detrimental than it is productive.
This is especially important to consider, since direct military action has shown to destabilize governments and cause the very issues that the United States is concerned about.
Instead we should be allocating resources and funding to increase foreign aid. Many people believe that the United States spends most of its money on foreign aid, when in reality, less than 1% of federal spending went towards foreign aid in 2015.
Furthermore, foreign aid decreases the need for military spending by facilitating worldwide economic growth, which only helps the United States in the long run.
By providing foreign aid, the influence of terrorist groups is mitigated as countries become more stable and people have greater access to education, and basic needs.
It is important that the United States shift away from brute military strength and focus on development and diplomacy.
Vaccinated will have more freedoms
Thank you for your title of Linda Peterson’s July 25 letter, “Many reasons to get your covid vaccination.”
Yes, there are indeed many reasons to get your COVID-19 (Coronavirus-19) vaccination.
Of the people whom the vaccine protects from covid, 99.96%, those who believe that it does have a good and easy reason: The vaccine protects them from covid.
But there are also good reasons for the rest to get the vaccine.
The vaccine gives one liberty.
“You’re now free to move about the country.”
As the seven-day average of new cases continues to rise, travel and public place restrictions will return. This time around, those restrictions will be easier on the vaccinated.
Being vaccinated gives one “favor with all the people.” (Acts 2:47) People are more comfortable with vaccinated people.
Being vaccinated makes those around you safer, in terms of mental as well as physical health.
Fear is not good for one’s mental health.
What about that missing 0.04%?
You mean like that fellow who laid hands on and healed in the name of Jesus two people from covid before the vaccines came out? Me?
These people are the spiritual descendants of Jesus and His Jesus believers, who, while not vaccinated, laid hands on lepers and healed them.
These people get vaccinated for the liberty and favor they need to work for Jesus.
Learn the difference between socialisms
The Sunday July 18 Gazette had a letter from Domenico DiCaprio (“Cubans stage revolt against socialism”) decrying Bernie Sanders and other “socialists” for being silent on the recent protests in Cuba.
He goes on to say the Biden administration blamed the protests on covid. But the main claim of his letter is that the “far-left” want socialism like Cuba.
The fact is that on July 12, Bernie condemned the Cuban government for the lack of democracy and opposition rights. He also called for an end to the 55-year U.S. embargo, which is the main cause of their economic woes.
Biden also supported the Cuban people whose protests were against the communist rule, lack of food and medicine, and poor response to the covid pandemic.
I think Mr. DiCaprio and many other Americans need to understand the difference between totalitarian socialist regimes (Cuba, Venezuela, China), and countries with socialist programs such as those taken for granted in American life – Social Security, Medicare, our infrastructure, child-labor laws, energy subsidies, etc.
These programs work for the greater good. Countries like Canada, Denmark, the UK and Switzerland have even more socialist programs that are popular and have improved their citizens’ lives. \
In yearly surveys of the happiest countries, socialist-heavy locales dominate.
I have a good deal of familiarity with Denmark, as my job took me there for work stints.
They have a saying: “few with too much; fewer still with too little.”
In the United States I’m afraid, it’s many with too little; many with far too much.
Merger must ensure a full range of care
News of a planned merger between Ellis Hospital and Trinity Health has me deeply concerned about the access to quality healthcare in our region.
One only has to do a few seconds of searching on the internet to find stories about the many women denied needed health care due to Trinity’s religious tenets.
The Michigan ACLU tallied just some of these instances in its report “Health Care Denied.”
Pregnant women in severe medical distress have been repeatedly denied care at Catholic-run hospitals because their fetus still had a heartbeat even when the denial of care put the women at risk of life-threatening infections, severe pain and hemorrhaging.
Women have also been denied wanted or medically necessary tubal ligations and have sometimes not been informed that the hospital they plan to give birth at won’t perform sterilizations until it’s too late for them to go elsewhere.
Many women in the region go to Bellevue Women’s Center, run by Ellis, for their reproductive health care. More than 2,500 births take place there each year.
Any merger between Ellis and Trinity must carve out protections so that women in our region, no matter their economic status, can continue to receive a full range of healthcare — the healthcare we and our doctors decide we need, not just the health care options one church thinks we’re entitled to.
Protesters were only ones being disruptive
Please permit me a minor objection to your July 21 story (“Council meeting becomes shouting match”) on a recent event in Saratoga Springs. I was there and can attest there was plenty of shouting, but it was no match.
The shouting was entirely on one side, that of the Black Lives Matter protesters, who screamed, hollered and shouted at the council members, who either sat silently or tried futilely to speak calmly to them.
Likewise, out in the hallway, after the protesters had been peacefully escorted from the meeting room, those protesters did not “continue to yell back and forth with police officers.”
There was no “back and forth” about it. The officers either stood silently, or in one case, that of the lieutenant who appeared to be in charge, endeavored to speak calmly and courteously but got only angry shouts in return.
This is not really such a minor matter. It’s indicative of the approach taken by these increasingly raucous and disruptive protesters.
They block traffic downtown, harangue and harass cops and bystanders alike with indiscriminate accusations of racism, and then present themselves as victims when a few of them, very rarely, get arrested.
Let students interpret history on their own
“If Thomas Jefferson owned slaves,” a student once asked me, “how could he write all men are created equal and entitled to liberty?”
The answer is Jefferson didn’t consider African-Americans “men,” at least in the sense that they were intellectually and culturally equal to Whites. (Most, if not all, of the other White men who signed the Declaration of Independence couldn’t stomach the idea of racial equality either.)
But the issue facing social studies teachers is this: How is it possible to answer that student’s question without bringing up the subject of racism and its impact on American society?
I appreciate conservatives’ desire to instill in students a deep respect for the accomplishments of the Founding Fathers and for our nation’s past.
But we can’t ignore facts like these: 12 of the first 18 presidents owned slaves, including Ulysses S. Grant.
Even the Great Emancipator Abraham Lincoln never thought the Black man equal to the White. And Woodrow Wilson, whose achievements rank him among America’s top presidents, was an ardent racist.
I say let the American historical record speak for itself – blemishes and all – but let students judge for themselves whether the United States is an “inherently racist society.” No educator has the right to teach that interpretation as historical fact, but it would be equally wrong for states to forbid a class discussion of the issue.
American history is sometimes comforting and sometimes disturbing, but students must learn to draw their own conclusions. Anything less is indoctrination.
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