A HUMAN RIGHT

We cannot be reminded often enough that, in addition to Medicaid, it has been the Republican priority to either privatize or eliminate altogether Medicare, Social Security and public education since their inception. Regarding public education, that goal is being realized in the form of tax revenue intended for public education increasingly being diverted to charter schools: outsourced, privatized, corporate entities, often religious, often with disproportionately excessive executive pay.

Is there another developed nation on the planet that tests its citizens for the quality of health care services? Is it not entirely immoral that the least empowered among us receive lesser care based solely on economic standing? American exceptionalism, indeed.

Anyone who believes that health care is a basic human right, especially in as resource-rich a nation as ours, should be appalled; not just by our class-based segregation of life-essential services but, more so, by the very real prospect of its elimination altogether — the inevitable outcome of so-called block grants — by the Republican party that lied its way into office in no small part for its commitment to Medicaid’s preservation.  

~  DANA ANDERSON

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AID NEEDED

Recently our president made it clear to the world that the United States would step back from the position of global leadership that it has maintained for years. This move diminishes our ability to face the threat of terrorism. To remedy potential threats and secure a more peaceful society for ourselves and our vulnerable Muslim allies, the United States must increase the international budget to developing nations to counteract the instability that fuels transnational terrorism.

“If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition,” stated Secretary of Defense James Mattis. International leadership in the realm of development has proven to be an effective manner of combating transnational terrorism. Lebanon, for example, has received large sums of foreign aid since the beginning of the conflict in Syria. The small country of 6 million, which underwent civil war between Christian and Muslim religious groups during the ’90s, currently holds 1 million refugees. As US Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth H. Richard puts it, “The fact that the situation in Lebanon hasn’t resulted in serious instability as a result of the refugee crisis is due in large part to the efforts of the international community to help Lebanon meet this challenge.” Foreign aid has assured that the massive strain endured by Lebanon may be borne and that the threat from terrorism and religious violence in this country be eliminated.

If we wish to relieve the threat we face from transnational terrorism and build a positive relationship with Muslim countries we must step up in the global arena and increase foreign aid to help these developing countries that suffer the conditions that breed such awful phenomena. I urge that we contact our federal representatives to increase the international affairs budget.

~ MATTHEW TEASDALE

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OUT OF CONTROL

To those who say controlling guns is as impossible as controlling those who drink and drive, this is simply not true. We have multiple harm-reduction methods to address drunken driving. We have an entire Department of Motor Vehicles that regulates the safety of automobiles, gives out licenses to drive, requires classes and even periodically checks the safety and road-worthiness of cars.

The sale of alcohol is also a highly regulated affair, with many safeguards in place to help curb drunk driving, including limiting hours of sales, ignition interlock devices for offenders and prohibiting sales to minors.

After every one of these tragedies, we keep having these same damn discussions. It is laughable that some believe that the Second Amendment will somehow protect them from an “Evil Government.” How does one plan on standing up to the tanks, predator drones, and bombs that our military has? Ask the folks at Ruby Ridge or Waco, Texas, how that worked out. The “Stand Up to the Big Bad Government” argument is simply a red herring.

It is time to repeal the Second Amendment, confiscate all civilian-owned military-grade firearms, and license gun ownership. Gun safety can be achieved; we just have to have the guts to stand up to the bullies and equate their cries for freedom with our cries of freedom of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

~ Joey Waltz

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