January 14, 2022
There is a joke that is all too real: If you want to move forward, put it in D; if you want to move backwards, put it in R. Republicans are the party of yesterday; Democrats are the party of the future. Republicans peddle denial, deceit and destruction. They deny science, climate change, the pandemic, the outcome of the 2020 election. They are determined to destroy all progress made in women’s rights, minority rights, LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights, voting rights. And although Republicans have laid claim to words like “choice” and “freedom,” it is Democrats who actually practice and promote those values.
Democrats fight for the freedom to have secure, good-paying jobs with pensions, to have access to clean air and water, food, health care, the ballot. One is not free if one has to work multiple jobs to feed a family. One is not free if pursuit of a college education incurs opportunity-crushing debt. One is not free if a medical emergency leads to bankruptcy. One is not free if one's vote is suppressed. We are indeed on the precipice of losing our democracy, of losing the freedoms some take for granted. Those who scream that they do not want government telling them what to do are in for a rude awakening if authoritarianism takes root. An authoritarian government will dictate and dominate every detail of your life, far beyond anything we see now. And once you realize what you have lost what you have carelessly squandered, it will be too late. For all of us.
October 23, 2021
Kyrsten Sinema was a disappointment. Now she is a downright disgrace and an insult to those who worked hard to elect her. She campaigned on negotiating lower drug prices via Medicare and now she fails to support it. She is resistant to raising taxes on the ultra-wealthy and corporations, leaving one to conclude that she thinks it is OK to not pay one's fair share of taxes. She clings to outdated illusions about the role and impact of the filibuster. She rejected a fair minimum wage. She voted against net neutrality.
Clearly, she is beholden to her big donors in the finance, insurance, real estate and pharmaceutical industries, not to her constituents in Arizona. People ask, "What does Sinema want?" I can answer that. Sinema wants attention. She is a peacock. "Look at me. Look at me." Well, look now because she is likely a one-term senator.
October 18, 2021
Regarding the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, Keith Greenberg writes Friday that he understands U.S. Rep. [sic] Sinema’s “reluctance to saddle our grandchildren and great grandchildren with debt they can’t pay.”
Two things are wrong with this statement: First, Sinema is not concerned about saddling future generations with debt; she is concerned with what the bill will cost her wealthy donors in the finance and insurance industries.
Second, the bill will not saddle future generations with debt. Quite the opposite. It will allow future generations the opportunity to get a college education without going into debt. It will allow parents enough money to afford child care. It will insure that people who face health crises don’t go bankrupt because of medical debt. It will enable workers to organize and demand better wages so that they don’t go into debt just meeting life’s basic necessities.
The bill is paid for by raising taxes on the ultrawealthy and large corporations so that they finally pay their fair share of taxes to the benefit of all of society. The bill will not “saddle” the average American taxpayer — or their children and great grandchildren — with debt.
Janell Alewyn, Coolidge
(This letter was published in The Arizona Republic on October 18, 2021.)
July 15, 2021
Republicans are once again exercising their Second Amendment right to shoot themselves in the foot. By denying the threat of COVID-19 and disputing the efficacy of vaccines, they encourage their supporters to put themselves at high risk of infection and death, thereby reducing their own base of support for the 2022 and 2024 elections.
Seems like a stupid, self-defeating strategy to me, but then Republicans are the masters of denialism and obstructionism (even, apparently, when they themselves are the casualties of that approach).
First, they spend decades denying the threat of climate change, putting millions at risk globally. Then they deny COVID, and over 607,000 Americans die. Next, they deny that Trump lost the 2020 election, and still more people die.
They are the party of denial, destruction and death. As an American, as a voter, I am looking for a party that has the courage and vision to address the problems that face us and to seek viable, long-term, life-affirming solutions.
Those are American values, and that is why I vote for Democrats.
(This letter was published in The Arizona Republic on July 15, 2021.)
JUNE 11, 2021
The success of Arizona's Native Americans in confronting COVID-19 has been well-documented. As sovereign peoples, the Navajo and San Carlos Apache were able to respond quickly and decisively, employing early testing, contact tracing, lockdowns and curfews, mask mandates, door-to-door education outreach by trusted community members and an aggressive, tiered vaccination program.
Despite the fact that Native Americans are high-risk for COVID infections and deaths, they have succeeded in controlling the spread of the virus and limiting the number of fatalities. In May 2020, the Navajo had the highest per capita rate of infection in the country; today, they have one of the highest vaccination rates nationally and zero new cases of COVID. Even off the reservations, we see similar results among the Latino and Pascua Yaqui of Guadalupe. What is the common thread? Strong, responsive leadership and a sense of community and responsibility to others. They did not have leaders who denied and downplayed the crisis and their people did not whine that masks and vaccines violated their individual freedoms. They offer the rest of us an example of what can be done when leaders lead and when people have a strong sense of community in a shared struggle.
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez sums it up, saying, “Once again, the Navajo Nation is exemplifying what can be accomplished when we listen to the public health experts and work together.”
This is what leadership looks like. This is what community looks like. This is what success looks like. We, the non-Native population, can learn a lot from their example.
MAY 13, 2021
Sen. Sinema boasts of her ability to “work across the aisle” and pass bipartisan legislation. Most of this involves legislation to help veterans, which is not a particularly partisan issue to begin with.
Sinema’s refusal to yield on the filibuster is a stance that cannot be defended by her alleged allegiance to bipartisanship. Successful bipartisanship depends on all parties being mature, rational and willing to negotiate and compromise in the best interests of the American people.
The current Republican Party fails to meet those standards. As the former Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell pledged to block President Obama, and he did, even denying Obama his right to nominate a Supreme Court justice. Now, as Senate minority leader, McConnell has pledged that his focus is 100% “on stopping this new administration.” When a powerful leader of the Senate openly refuses to work with presidents of the other party, how can Sinema cling to a naïve ideal of biparti-sanship? The Republicans have been staunch obstructionists for well over a decade now, openly bragging about their refusal to collaborate with Democrats. What more evidence does Sinema need?
We must pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Refusing to end the filibuster ensures the failure of both and, consequently, the failure of our democracy, and, quite possibly, the failure of Sinema to secure a second term.
Arizonans who value their vote should reach out to her at 202-224-4521 and www.sinema.senate.gov/contact and urge her to help end the filibuster so we can protect our voting rights.
As COVID-19 surges and health care professionals from other countries rush to the U.S. to assist in this humanitarian crisis, doctors dread having to make the decision who to treat and who to let die, an agonizing moral dilemma for those committed to healing. Let me suggest one criterion to ease that burden: COVID-19 patients who have been to a public event in the past month without a face mask go to the end of the line. Those who ignored their responsibility to help reduce this pandemic threat should pay a price for their selfish negligence.
Heartless? Maybe. But the fact that essential workers risk their lives every day while many Americans stubbornly refuse to make small but effective “sacrifices” to mitigate the crisis may justify such a harsh policy. Those who refuse to wear masks and social distance to avert this preventable escalation of infection and death have disproportionately contributed to super-spreader events; their access to limited medical resources should be proportionate to their roles in perpetuating and aggravating the crisis.
Donald Trump may one day be known as the Great Motivator
Some Americans see Donald Trump as a threat to our democracy, but I disagree. Donald Trump has done more for democracy than people realize.
He has motivated record numbers of voters to turn out and actually vote.
The numbers of early and vote-by-mail ballots already cast (and counting) are breaking records, and that is good for our democracy — though likely not so good for Trump and his Republican apologists.
This letter was printed in the Arizona Republic on October 18, 2020.
My ballot arrived in the mail at noon on Friday. First, I went to https://my.arizona.vote to pull up my voter registration and check its accuracy: name, address, party, status (Active). Then I filled out my ballot and hand-delivered it to the Pinal County Recorder’s Office. My 2020 ballot was delivered within three hours of its receipt.
I urge all voters to promptly complete their ballots and, if possible, drop them off in person at an official drop-off location. You will find those under “Find your polling locations” at https://my.arizona.vote. Scroll down to Drop Box Sites.
After a week or two, return to the site to check the status of your ballot-by-mail and see if it was received and accepted. If there are any problems, you’ll need to address them immediately.
If you are planning to mail your ballot, it is all the more critical that you do so immediately. Arizona begins to process ballots 14 days before Nov. 3, so getting ballots in early facilitates the counting of those millions of ballots before election day.
For those seats where you can vote for two or more candidates, but only one candidate is of your party, it is best if you just vote for that one candidate. Your party’s lone candidate benefits from your single vote for her/him.
If you are voting in person on election day, and if you see any attempts at voter intimidation, report it to the Election Protection Hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE and to the Arizona Voter Hotline at 833-VOTE4AZ.
The unquestioning support that some self-described Christians extend to this president is baffling. Donald Trump does not now, nor has he at any time in his life as a public figure, demonstrated any of the qualities associated with Jesus Christ. He is not humble, charitable, forgiving, kind or compassionate. His embrace of the Christian faith, like everything else he does, is rooted in a selfish preoccupation with personal gain. Forget “Do unto others …” Trump’s mantra is “What’s in it for me?” He attends church only to get married (again and again) or as a photo op. Photos of him trying to look pious are, sadly, rather comical. And to those who see him as “chosen,” those who think he was sent by God, well, if that’s true, your god needs to hire a quality control expert.
Katie Taylor of Scottsdale asserts in Tuesday's letters to the editor that "the primary purpose of government is not to keep you safe, but to protect your rights."
So if the purpose of government is not to keep us safe, we can dispense with all police departments, ambulance and EMT services, fire departments and all branches of the U.S. military as well as intelligence agencies?
Also we can eliminate local, state, and federal agencies whose very purpose is to promote public safety?
That should save us a bundle of money while leaving millions of Americans vulnerable. But at least our "rights" are protected.
This letter was in the Arizona Republic on May 7, 2020.
I am ready to sign up for Dr. Trump's clinical trial, but I have a few questions first. Do I inject the disinfectant subcutaneous-ly or intravenously? On a full stomach or an empty stomach? Once a day or multiple times a day? Also, should I discontinue hydroxychloroquine prior to starting this new regimen? Given that this is experimental, I assume it won't be covered by my insurance. Oh wait. Since losing my job, I don't have insurance.
OK. Ready to give this a try, Chief. What have I got to lose? As Tex says, "there are things more important than living."
Footnote: This is sarcasm.