The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and don’t necessarily reflect The Press Democrat editorial board’s perspective. The opinion and news sections operate separately and independently of one another.
EDITOR: The high school history book referred to by Monty Chipman as a definitive source for describing differences between the Republican and Democratic parties must have been published before the 1960s (“Inflammatory letter,” Nov. 24). The “party of Lincoln” today is not the same as in Lincoln’s time. True history is not frozen in a specific era but a record of what actually happened, including the changes in our world over time.
But that’s not the history that should concern us most after the second mass shooting in a week, the seventh in November, and more than 600 this year. The history of the Second Amendment has too often been ignored by those, even the 2008 Supreme Court, who propound private gun ownership as a constitutionally guaranteed right of all Americans, including military-style weapons for those who should never be granted legal access.
When will the insanity stop? When will we feel safe to go shopping, attend places of worship, be in the audience at movies or concerts and send our children to school without fearing an attack by some gun-toting maniac?
I’ve shed so many tears for people I don’t even know that no more thoughts and prayers can compensate for their loss. We must end it.
EDITOR: Republic, Democracy, who cares? Whatever happened to the will of the people? Politics have become a cesspool instead of a body that promotes the best interests of all. The past is what the past means — history. We are in the now. The question is, will there be a past from the future?
Harming local economy
EDITOR: I read the article about Black Friday with dismay (“Slow start for black Friday,” Nov. 26). In the article, you described Jen Saunders taking her daughters to the mall to experience Black Friday. She had them try on clothes and took pictures so she could “buy them later tonight.” Since she admitted to normally doing her shopping online, one can only assume she was using the local store as a showroom with no intention of purchasing there. Sadly, she is teaching her daughters to shop the same way.
I was further dismayed by how blithely this was described in the article with no mention by The Press Democrat of the obvious negative economic impact to Sonoma County. Nor did the article make any mention of the economic importance of buying locally. Without sales, retailers will be forced to close, eliminating the local jobs they provide. Those closures and ensuing job losses will further impact other local businesses, grocery stores, restaurants, theaters, on and on.
I wonder if Saunders will complain when storefronts are shuttered about her inability to view merchandise firsthand, before buying online.
Putin counts on fatigue
EDITOR: The yet-small pack of Republican lawmakers signaling a willingness to stop funding Ukraine’s defense against Russia should not be harbingers of abandonment by the American public. Inexplicably, President Joe Biden, though admirably supplying the Ukraine resistance, has never effectively explained to the American people the importance of the dimensions and —most crucially — the long-term requirements of that support. That bully-pulpit leadership is sorely lacking.
With so many countries embracing authoritarian regimes, and militarily revanchist Russia and China on the march (literally), such a blatant takeover as that of Ukraine cannot be allowed to succeed. The long-term and global consequences are painful to imagine. Even our feeble-minded isolationists should be able to imagine what a successful Vladimir Putin might do next, and how the failure of European Union-
NATO-American efforts will embolden China in its campaigns of internal repression and in its efforts to take over Taiwan.
Americans have rarely made sacrifices for very long outside the ambit of our gas grills, SUVs and large-screen TVs, so Biden should not mistake our mostly emotional support for Ukraine for any kind of informed or long-term support. Winter in Ukraine will be brutal, but our support will help them — and other peoples — endure.
EDITOR: Ronald Harris’ letter had a level of authority that is both useful and deceitful in its message (“Roundup ‘hysteria,’” Nov. 27). Roundup is a herbicide containing glyphosate that has had extensive research on its exposure limit safety, and until recently has been considered relatively safe. More recent analysis of exposure criteria and the incidence of some cancers related to glyphosate by researchers at the University of Washington in 2019 show the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma can increase by 40% or more.
Bayer, the parent company of Roundup, has also settled more than 100,000 lawsuits for more than $10 billion in block compensation for exposure to Roundup. Harris’ statement that Roundup is less toxic than salt would suggest that we could drink Roundup like we use salt in our diet. I doubt if anyone, including Harris, would be willing to voluntarily sprinkle their French fries with Roundup.
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