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Letters to the Editor for Sunday, May 12

Letters to the Editor for Sunday, May 12

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Who has the courage to fix our democracy?
Democracy in the United States must be flawed. What other conclusion can be made as we observe recent happenings within our government?
If democracy is a form of government of, for and by the people, then we the people must choose our representatives wisely so that they may uphold the Constitution, create laws and exercise their responsibilities within our political system.
Presently this isn’t happening.
We all know and appreciate that no man is above the law. Our congressional representatives must cherish and protect this concept. 
This isn’t happening either.
Shouldn’t the actions of a government be transparent to its people? This, too, is not happening.
When the president selects his own attorney general, who then withholds information from the public, as in the Mueller report, and when the president ignores legal appeals from congressional committees regarding subpoenas and then dictates who should be subject to hearings, then transparency is trashed and democracy is weakened.
I’m not stating, I’m asking: Isn’t our democracy strong enough to withstand a dictating president? 
Shouldn’t our democracy resolve lawlessness among our politicians? 
Is our democracy tarnished by an inactive faction of Congress? Maybe our democracy is flawed. And if it is, who among us will be courageous enough to correct it soon? 
Ray Knapik
Ballston Spa
 
City needs to devote itself to cleaning up
Schenectady city officials are a laugh a minute. They grab at straws on the one hand and vote to put fluoride in the city’s water system with the other. Fluoride is a byproduct of hazardous waste. And they say they are concerned about the environment.
Recently The Gazette featured a picture of a child cleaning a city park for Arbor Day. What were the city’s sanitation workers doing at the same time? Arbor Day comes around once a year. What happens on the other 364 days? Litter needs to be picked up every day.
The mayor should issue a public edict that implores all residents to help keep the city clean. Attention needs to be given to lawns, sidewalks and curbs. Bushes serve as a magnet for litter. Debris sticks to the vegetation and causes unsightly conditions.
If homeowners check their properties every day, the practice will go a long way to eliminate the litter problem in the city.
School campuses also need attention. Schenectady High and Oneida schools are seldom litter-free. Why? 
Teachers need to put anti-litter programs in their weekly lesson plans starting at the pre-K level.
Litter awareness can also be included in the summer lunch program. What to do with the wrappings that contain the food is a good learning tool for all.
The pictures in The Gazette of the zombie buildings are appalling. With everyone doing their fair share every day, we can rid the community of this epidemic that has fallen upon us.
Mary B. McClaine
Schenectady
 
 
Reparations for sins of the past go too far
I’m old enough to have witnessed the introduction of Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society.” Over 50-plus years, trillions of taxpayer dollars (initially diverted from the Social Security program, if I’m not mistaken) have been spent to bring equality to all, especially minorities. 
Some will argue that the return on investment has been mixed, to say the least.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) contends that it’s not enough. He has resurrected the ongoing debate over slavery reparations. I have serious reservations regarding being held accountable for the sins of our fathers. I do know my (and many other) ancestors never could afford the luxury of employing slave labor.
I wish to point out that a comprehensive DNA analysis will likely reveal that many of us are descendants of the international slave trade and rape victims of conquering armies and feudal lords. 
Where shall we proceed from there, senator?
Sen. Booker, I want to make it clear that my moderate independent position is being “body slammed” to the right by current events, and I resent it. My days are numbered. My wallet is empty. The cow is dry. My sense of humor is turning to dust. Your proposal only serves to drive another nail into the coffin, so to speak. I find comfort in knowing that I’m far from being alone.
In closing, let’s put this topic to rest once and for all time. It will pale in comparison to the challenges ahead.
Mark Rahn
Scotia
 
 
We can have what we need if we want to
I’m reading in all the papers that the funding for Medicare will run out in 2026, and the funding for Social Security will run out in 2034.
I believe that we need an adequate, good military, not a gargantuan insanely over-funded military industrial complex. I believe we could be a happy, average, not “the best” country and be perfectly safe and happy while ensuring all are adequately (not extravagantly) fed, clothed, housed and schooled. 
Health care for all exists in the majority of European and Asian countries and in Canada. It can be done. We can do it if enough average Americans wanted it and believed in it, if enough millionaires and billionaires would sacrifice a bit of their enormous wealth to contribute to the welfare of their fellow Americans, and if the politicians found the courage and will to stand up and say, “We must do the logical, right things.”
Patsey Manning
Schenectady
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