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Online Letters to the Editor for March 14

Online Letters to the Editor for March 14

  • Public too severe in judging Spitzer
  • From the sublime to the ridiculous: Siena and Spitzer
  • Public too severe in judging Spitzer

    Ahhh — I must have missed the part where there is a qualification for public office requiring you to either uphold your fidelity or the one where you must have been born perfect and lived perfectly every day of your life since birth.

    The sayings (paraphrased here) “me thinks he/she doth protest too much” and “let he/she who is without flaws throw the first stone” came about as reminders to all of us that we are all flawed in our humanity — and we are often overly anxious to point out our own flaws in others — I am no exception. Morality is personal; it changes often over the course of a lifetime as we grow and learn about ourselves and as we assess the value of interactions we have with others.

    Breaking a law deserves a trial and possible punishment; it’s wise to remember you are innocent until proven guilty. Spitzer will have to legally account for any of his lawbreaking actions — as we all do — my personal favorite being the speeding laws, and some of you I am sure break the car cellphone laws as well. As far as the required morality for public office, there is none. His decision to leave office prematurely, I would hope, was made for the sake of his family or with the knowledge that his effectiveness as a government leader would now be adversely impacted in light of possible criminal prosecution for breaking a law.

    We all value the freedom we have in our society. This freedom is expressed at the polls when we elect public officials. As with everyday interactions, we all make choices we regret eventually down the road in the form of partners, business associates, friends, and elected officials. Hindsight is 20/20 and cliches are annoying, but often true! Let’s move forward, value the strengths Spitzer has brought to the offices he has held, and forgive others as . . . (well, you know the rest of that saying!)

    Louise Alberti


    From the sublime to the ridiculous: Siena and Spitzer

    March 10 will be remembered in the Capital Region as a day of extremes. While nearly 10,000 fans were witnessing the Siena men’s basketball team win the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, the sordid details of Gov. Spitzer’s indiscretions were being made public.

    The Siena team once again has shown what can be accomplished by hard work, sacrifice and teamwork. They were always respectful of their opponents, accepted and learned from their mistakes when they lost, and now will continue to play.

    Gov. Spitzer has resigned his post, unfortunately, to the extreme delight of those he alienated because of the way he chose to play not only in politics but in his private life. The old adage of those who live by the sword die by the sword certainly seems to apply here. Today is a tragic day and not one to feel joy. Anger yes, but also tempered with sympathy.

    I wish Siena all the success in the upcoming tournament. My hope for Mr. Spitzer is that he will put his immediate efforts towards the healing of his family. Despite his betrayal of them and the people of New York, he has the capacity to learn from his mistakes and develop the necessary humility to go along with his intellectual gifts and vast experience to once again make a meaningful contribution to society.

    Mark DiMartino


    Despite scandal, let’s not forget all the good Spitzer has done

    As the details of Mr. Spitzer’s sins continue to be hung out like dirty laundry, I think it behooves all of us to find a sense of perspective about the man and his legacy. I personally admired much of Mr. Spitzer’s work as attorney general, especially when he went after the Midwest states for failing to enforce air quality regulations that caused so much of the acid rain killing off our lakes in the Adirondacks. And while it can be argued that he may have gone too far with some of his Wall Street prosecutions, I think it’s far easier to argue that others before him did not go far enough. It disgusts me that some really bad guys out there are now frothing with Schadenfreude. There is hardly a human emotion that I find more distasteful. So please, let’s not jump on that bandwagon.

    It may be vastly unpopular to appeal to any sense of forgiveness or sympathy for Mr. Spitzer, but to me that is all the more reason to try. No doubt his failings were in large measure the result of the incredible stress he endured by being a crusading governor. I have to wonder whether Spitzer, being surrounded by all that porn and prostitution, finally gave in to temptation. Indeed, it’s happened so many times before. I keep thinking about another Elliot — Elliot Ness — and how shortly after he put the kingpin of bootlegging and speakeasies (Al Capone) away, he gave in to booze and ultimately died in a drunken driving accident.

    I am not sure how much Mr. Spitzer’s behavior can be attributed to a sense of invulnerability and entitlement. No doubt that played a part and for that he cannot be excused. But we should be careful not to crucify Spitzer for being a fragile human being. We should not give in to our own perverse need to know the sordid details. Laughing at him surely will not elevate us. What Mr. Spitzer needs now is therapy and time to hopefully get well for his own sake and that of his family.

    I agree, he really had no choice but to resign. But political realities concerning his own career and the needs of the Democratic Party aside, the things he stood for should not be thrown down the drain, like the proverbial baby with the bath water. Indeed, his administration is still very much in power and will remain so for quite some time. It’s up to us as proud New Yorkers to ensure that Mr. Spitzer’s good works and good intentions do not end with his personal shame. At this time we should offer our prayers and support to David Paterson, and hope that the ideals that Mr. Spitzer vowed to bring to Albany prove to be larger than any one man.

    Perhaps it would help to recall a story about the German philosopher Max Scheler (1874-1928). Scheler was known for inspiring ethical meditations with titles like “On Man’s Place in the Cosmos.” He was also, according to this story, known for his energetic philandering. A distraught admirer approached him about this discrepancy: how could he write all those noble, morally uplifting works and yet lead such a discreditable personal life? The response attributed to Scheler is illuminating. “The sign that points to Boston,” he said, “doesn’t have to go there.”

    Robert Lippman

    Ballston Spa

    Ellis ER disorganized now; what will happen when hospitals fully merge?

    In a Feb. 29 Daily Gazette story, it was stated that, “Ellis Hospital is asking the public for advice in developing Schenectady County’s health care system.” A recent experience at the Ellis ER has prompted me to write. Admittedly, what follows is more an emotional reaction to an abominable situation on one particular day. However, if it in any way represents standard operating procedure at Ellis Hospital’s ER, a complete overhaul seems necessary.

    My 86-year-old mother collapsed outside her apartment at the Kingsway Village. She was promptly transported by ambulance and arrived at triage at approximately 11:30 a.m. At that time she had a sky-high blood pressure. Perhaps because she has a history of hypertension, or because she was perceived as “old,” no particular interest was shown then or subsequently. For whatever reason, she was directed to the waiting room.

    She remained there seated in the wheelchair provided by Ellis for the next seven and three-quarter hours! Fortunately, my wife and I were there, otherwise she would not have been able to go to the rest room, not have had anything to eat or drink. Because my wife and I were becoming increasingly concerned for my mother, we phoned her cardiologist at about 4:30 p.m. Although he warned us that he had no particular influence at Ellis, he called the ER urging them to see my mother. We were lectured by a representative of the ER that patients were being seen in order of the severity of their condition. All that we perceived that had been accomplished was to move my other to the end of the line yet again. Apparently this was intended to teach us a lesson. The lesson we learned was to avoid Ellis whenever possible.

    Later that week, as she became progressively weaker and more and more disoriented, we took her to her GP. He detected a urinary tract infection, the possibility of which had been ignored at Ellis and no tests had been ordered. The result was an infection that had been undetected, and thus untreated, at Ellis.

    Unfortunately, she has spiraled from living independently to hospitalization at St. Clare’s (itself soon to be swallowed up by Ellis, apparently doomed to sink to becoming part of the least common denominator of Schenectady health care) to a nursing home for rehabilitation.

    I have no crystal ball to determine what would have happened if my mother had received prompt and appropriate care. I can, however, see Schenectady as a city suffering from a doomed experiment in governmentally controlled health care. In short, I have seen the future, and it’s frightening. Apparently, for what are deemed sound political and economic reasons, the elderly will be shunted off with substandard medical attention. I can only assume that this attitude is the latest example of what the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan referred to as “benign neglect.” What those in the Ellis ER have conveniently forgotten is that they, with some good fortune, will find themselves as octogenarians some day. I wonder if their attitude will have changed by then.

    I recognize that this is purely anecdotal. It lacks the compelling statistics which I’m certain directed the choices of the Berger Commission. However, I suspect that it represents reality when multiplied by dozens, or hundreds of cases per month. When decisions concerning health care enter the political, and not the medical realm, we are faced with an Orwellian situation where faceless accountants and bureaucrats make life-and-death decisions and exhausted medical professionals lose track of the humanity of their patients.

    Charles A. Meyer


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