Systemic violence is all around us
We hear a lot about looting, violence, and abuse. I’d like to expand the definitions to “crimes” legal, not punished. Looting of property is harmful, but there are more harmful looters — those in power and privilege who loot through tax loopholes, political bribery for political favors, exploitation of workers, dark money legalizing political corruption.
And while violence to property is harmful, the violence done to our earth through exploitation, oil spills, mining, drilling, deforestation, toxic pollution are legal, rewarded. And wars, that pathology of violence, is often honored. And some abuse is so integral to cultures it’s considered “normal.”
The acceptance of patriarchal power, whether by Taliban or religious fundamentalists, allows for sexual and physical violence, control over women’s bodies, economic discrimination, unrecognized misogyny in everyday attitudes and behavior. Systemic violence against Blacks — in education, economics, health, housing, law — goes unnoticed by many whites. There has been violence, some by angry, frustrated protesters, more by provocateurs infiltrating peaceful protests and Trump caravans of “patriots” coming into cities with concealed weapons.
It’s white supremacists and neo-Nazis, often quoting Trump, who have committed mass killing of innocent people at Walmarts, music festivals, churches and synagogues.
At the Republican Convention, countless speakers shouted about fear and danger, the need for “law and order.” They meant, I think, the fear of white people, not the fear of Black people throughout our history — lynched, imprisoned, murder — and the fear they experience every day of being killed in their homes, cars, street by police unable to see their humanity of people, murderers almost never punished, the DA’s, law, courts, police unions protecting their own.
With tears, a Black man said: We have always loved America, but America has never loved us back.
Bernice Mennis, West Fort Ann
Trump is a traitor to our principles
I never thought this would be true of anyone in the White House.
Donald Trump is a traitor to our country and the principles upon which it was founded. Donald Trump appears to be a Russian agent. Donald Trump is likely guilty of treason.
He betrayed our military in Afghanistan with Russian bounties on their heads. He betrayed our now dead Kurdish allies. He betrayed the kids he put in cages. He betrayed the Constitution, trying to destroy the post office for his own selfish purposes.
He betrayed nearly 190,000 dead Americans, who died because he refused to control the coronavirus. He vainly refuses the masks and distancing that would save us. He betrayed our election system by encouraging his supporters to illegally vote twice for him.
Trump betrayed all of us by fomenting riots with his racist actions. He has condoned a follower who murdered two people in Kenosha. Police shot a black man in the back seven times. Trump remains silent.
Trump, heel spurs and all, loves to use the military or his federal facsimiles to beat and gas our own citizens for his small-minded purposes.
Putin poisons another opponent and the normally verbose Trump goes silent. Why? Would it affect his next performance review with Vladdie?
He claims to love America, but time after time he demonstrates his love for Putin and Russia. Why? What does Putin have on Trump? Now a Senate report finds that Russia probably supplied Trump with a former Miss Moscow... while Trump was married to one of his previous wives.
Why do so many people sell their souls to support this sad little man?
I believe Trump will be the first president to be jailed for his illegal activities in office. He has earned it strongly.
Al Muench, Chestertown
Before going to the polls, do homework
If there was ever a time to vote smart — the time is now. This may be one of the most important presidential election we ever had. Don’t vote just because someone tells you to vote for a certain person. Don’t vote for what you hear about someone via TV, newspaper or radio. Do a little homework on your part and find out something about the people that are running for office.
If you liked what we had up to this time of this new president then vote for those people that are in that party again. If you don’t like the way we are going now vote for the other party.
Again, do a little homework on all that are running for office then you can make a smarter choice. It’s that important to make sure we are headed in the right direction. It’s our country — let’s keep it headed in a good direction. That direction is in the hands of the voter. Vote smart. God Bless America.
Sid Gordon, Saratoga
Having issues with the mail service
In light of all the recent issues surrounding USPS, I decided to write about my own experience with that institution in the previous week.
On Tuesday Aug. 25, I received a credit card bill. Oh well! I promptly wrote a check, placed it in my mailbox and lifted the red flag on the side of the box up. Yet my mail wasn’t picked up on Wednesday.
On Thursday, my husband saw a mail carrier slowing down by our house, but they didn’t stop, didn’t pick up or drop off anything. Now on Thursdays we usually receive “Local First” — a free, pennysaver- type publication. Not that Thursday! Situation didn’t improve on Friday — we didn’t get any mail and my lone envelope was still sitting in the box, still waiting...
On Saturday around 2 p.m. I called my post office. I didn’t get any answers, apparently the office closes at 12:30 on Saturdays. I called again Monday morning, got an answer this time — my regular mail carrier took a week vacation and the substitute was driving the route. I understand that to some degree but still, I was basically without the mail service for four out of six days in the Aug. 24-Aug. 30 week. That’s not OK!
My mail was finally picked up on Monday, and I received one more bill to pay. Still no pennysaver. On Tuesday, mail was picked up without a problem and three letters were dropped off. One looked like a check from IRS. Too bad they were all clearly addressed to my next door neighbor. And yes, we all have big, visible numbers on our mail boxes.
So that’s that — my week of adventures with postal service, now if you will excuse me I have to switch all my bills to electronic payments!
Dorothy Anderson, Lake
Political party not relevant to strike
New York City delays start of school year: When your writers wrote about New York City’s Mayor Bill De Blasio, why was it stressed not once, but twice that he was “a Democrat?”
I am an employee of the New York City Department of Education, and yes, a proud Democrat, but I don’t understand what does the mayor’s political affiliation have to do with our unions wanting to strike? Whether he is Democrat or Republican, we would strike regardless!
So when you write about a city or town’s issue, is there really a need to stress their political affiliation? Or is it one more thing you Republicans want to blame the Democrats for?
Ann Marie Soto, Hadley
Ask a few questions before casting vote
I have some questions to ask voters about the stakes in this election:
Do you believe there is a deadly virus in our country and that it has that has killed over 170,000 people, including nearly 100 in NY-21?
Do you know that the postmaster general, appointed by Trump, has removed and has destroyed over 650 high-speed mail sorting machines, including at least one in Syracuse? Do you know that this has greatly slowed the delivery of mail just prior to the election?
Do you know that Trump says if he is re-elected, will eliminate the payroll, which funds Social Security, SSI, and Medicare?
Do you understand that defunding Social Security and Medicare would severely harm senior citizens who have paid thousands of dollars into this system and who depend on that income to live?
Do you know that Elise Stefanik voted five times to kill protections for pre-existing conditions and leave 64,000 northern New Yorkers without health care?
Pease vote for Biden/Harris and Tedra Cobb. They will work to expand, not take away, our access to affordable healthcare and to the vote.
Everything in this letter can be fact-checked.
Terry de la Vega, Potsdam
Let’s work together against hateful acts
Our country has a long tradition of the peaceful transition of political power through an open and free electoral process. Part of that electoral process involves the freedom to openly and without fear of intimidation express our support for the ideas and candidates of our choice. A few individuals, through their intolerant and even dangerous actions, are undermining these basic freedoms ... freedoms that are guaranteed to all of us by our Constitution and Bill of Rights!
There have been four acts of intolerance in Greenwich and we must condemn theses despicable acts in the strongest of terms:
- A family who displayed a Trump flag before their home received an intimidating post card addressed to “a traitor” and warning that family not to support President Trump;
- Someone defaced one of the signs supporting Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives Tedra Cobb;
- Someone supporting Blue Lives Matter across from Mowry Park was almost hit by a car that drove onto the sidewalk. Individuals exited the car, yelled curses, made an obscene gesture and called the supporter of Blue Lives Matter a “white racist” before driving away;
- Someone painted a vicious racial slur on the side of a home displaying a Black Lives Matter sign.
Republicans, Democrats, Independents ... all voters must “Stand Tall” and condemn these acts of intolerance, regardless of our political affiliations.
Americans are a fair and forgiving people. We have a long tradition of honoring our long held freedoms, of engaging in debate and not hate, and of treating each other with grace, tolerance and dignity.
We in Greenwich must honor these traditions and spearhead the fight against political bigotry. We must work together as a community to stop these hateful acts and to allow our fellow citizens to express their views without intimidation.
Don Ward, town of Greenwich Supervisor
Back Constitution, back Tedra Cobb
The Second Amendment is important to us. The right of Americans to own a gun is at the forefront of our Constitution; the United States Constitution.
Fellow Americans, those of us who respect the Constitution and support it see it crumbling before us as the checks and balances are dismantled by corruption of the powerful. So many of those elected who have vowed to uphold the Constitution do not uphold it.
We have people in power who tell us that the Democrats will take our guns, because they want to scare us. Right now, so many elected Republicans are not upholding the Constitution. So, who do you think is really going to take our guns? The people who support the United States Constitution, or the people who fly in the face of it? When the GOP gets rid of the Constitution, they will get rid of the Second Amendment. No Constitution equals no rights for the common man.
I support Biden and I support Tedra Cobb, because they support the Constitution of the United States. Tedra’s brother hunts. She’s not going to take away our guns. She’s one of us. She’s going to uphold the Constitution. She lives here.
She cares about the North Country. She cares about America and our Constitution. Let’s win our country back. Then, we can talk about the value of AR-15’s in the hands of citizens. We can discuss it all, because we will still have a Constitution.
Our vote this November is for the future of our Democracy and the existence of the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution that says we have the right to bear arms. Vote Biden. Vote Cobb.
Liz Bollt, Potsdam
Political vandals are stoking fear
What does it say about Trump supporters when one would fear placing a Biden for President or Tedra Cobb for Congress sign on one’s lawn?
After my two campaign signs were stolen, I thought, of course, Trumpers. What sane person steals lawn signs? Easily replaced.
Today, my friend, a Cobb supporter, who lives in a neighborhood of Trump supporters, said she is fearful of retaliation should she place a sign on her property. I don’t doubt there are those who would vandalize her property, let alone steal her signs. Should one risk getting one’s car keyed because of a Biden/Harris bumper sticker?
It’s not paranoia. No delicate Lilly is my friend. But many Trump supporters’ behavior is the result of a creeping accumulation of four years of grooming by their cult leader. They swallow, whole, conspiracy theories, the premise that “there are good people on both sides,” liberals eat babies.
The dark side of human nature has surfaced, and their leader encourages the menacing of those who do not approve of him. Brainwashing explains their loyalty to a man who is the antithesis of all we are taught in religious institutions to strive for, and the blind support of policies against one’s best interests is mind-boggling.
Don’t they want affordable health insurance? Trump is in court trying to get rid of coverage for pre-existing conditions.
Shouldn’t their daughters get paychecks equal to that of their brothers? Enjoy clean water and air? A living wage? Quality education for their children? Is raiding Social Security and Medicare to build a wall OK? Are they so entrenched in the lies they’ve been fed to ignore his contempt for our servicemen?
And vandalizing property is a precursor of worse behavior if vile Trump and his sycophant, Elise Stefanik, are not defeated in November.
Agata Stanford, Glens Falls
Any charter changes would be expensive
As the Saratoga Springs City Council begins the challenge of putting together a 2021 city budget in the midst of a pandemic and national economic crisis, they will have to keep in mind the additional spending the city will be required to do if the charter proposal to change to a city manager and ward system passes this November.
While a city manager would not be officially hired until the new charter takes effect in January 2022, the search for this new hire will have to take place during 2021 and be done by the current City Council.
The City Council could try to take on this task themselves (in addition to their other duties and responsibilities), but most municipalities find they need the assistance of professional search firms to find and evaluate the best candidates. Those costs typically run from $25,000 to $30,000, plus travel expenses.
The proposed charter also requires the city to appoint and fund two task forces:
* First, a Charter Transition Task Force, including counsel, to actually plan the new government;
* Second, a Reapportionment Commission, which can hire staff and have a budget to review the 2020 census data and draw ward boundaries;
The task of crafting a budget for 2021 in the midst of the uncertainty of the pandemic and the national economic crisis is daunting for our city, especially knowing that significant additional funding will have to be found if the charter change proposal passes in November.
Jane Weihe, Saratoga Springs
Insulting someone isn’t right or smart
Mr. James Tomaski’s letter to the editor was incredibly revealing. I intended to write a response that showed (very easily) the many inaccurate statements this gentleman was spouting. But, what I learned while reading his letter was that this is a man not driven by political righteousness, but a petrified boy who is afraid of a woman who not only speaks against his view, but does so with an intelligence he clearly lacks.
In the future Mr. Tomaski please keep your fear to yourself. It’s embarrassing.
Richard La Sarso,
Stop Trump from making us suckers
I have always been proud of the multiple generations of my family members who served in a variety of branches of the Armed Forces. When it was revealed that Donald Trump called those who served in the military “suckers” and “losers,” I was insulted and angry but not surprised. After all, his insults toward Sen. John McCain have been well publicized, as has his record as a draft dodger.
Don’t you wonder what he must have been thinking as he met troops at Fort Drum alongside our congresswoman, Elise Stefanik? What was she thinking then and now? Trump is the person Stefanik has supported through impeachment and convention. She is loyal to the Grifter in Chief.
We have the opportunity to make a change, which will bring respect back to the Office of the President and to the 21st Congressional District. If we re-elect Trump and Stefanik, we are the suckers. We need to be sure that Trump and Stefanik are the losers.
Katherine Verbeck-Lobban, Lake George
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