Can’t defend freedom of expression by denying it
I reacted with mixed feelings to Douglas M. Smith’s letter concerning the recent car parade that was, among other things, a political rally for Trump. Once I got past my disappointment in reading
his letter, I was able to feel both empathy and sympathy for Mr. Smith. I understand the experience of a visceral reaction to the behavior, expressed objectives, and ethical bankruptcy of the current administration. Likewise, I feel sympathy when I see others do as I have at times done: allow my frustration and anger to seep out through my keyboard. The result is usually a self-expression of the same attitudes and narrowness that I am railing against.
We must certainly express our support for our ideals and freely criticize that which we abhor. How we do that, however, makes all the difference in our effectiveness. We cannot defend the freedom of expression by denying it to those with whom we disagree. We will fail to fight racism by employing other forms of bigotry. We can never claim high levels of education by assuming
superior intellect over others. And we can never be a true community by suggesting that those who do not share our opinion do not share our right to be here.
My hope is that all of us seeking political and social change in our community, state and nation can reflect on the contradictions within our own attitudes and behavior. Through this we can discover productive ways of promoting our principles. When we fall into the trap of speaking and acting in kind, we undermine our common cause.
Voting an important, hard-won privilege
The words, “I have the right to/not to (fill in the blank),” are being heard a lot these days. It’s true. We Americans have a multitude of rights, compared to billions around the world. I decided to review some basic rights that we do have here, especially those that were unique to a democratic nation just feeling its way in a land far from its roots.
One vital “gift” we citizens (age 18 and above) possess is that we are granted the privilege of the right to vote. The trouble with rights is that sometimes we aren’t sure we really want them; maybe we don’t feel we are informed enough or perhaps it’s just easier to let others carry that load. I’ve felt ill-prepared, left some boxes blank and have missed local elections, and, well, failed to do my part.
I now recognize that my right to vote is a hard-fought privilege, which many individuals shed tears and blood to attain. Just recently, our country has been saying “goodbye” to a courageous man,
Representative John Lewis, whose life has been one of placing himself on the costly road to ensuring the right to vote for all Americans. Rep. Lewis wanted so much to be part of the American experience that he was willing to die for the right to vote and to participate as a member of the American citizenry.
I encourage you, whether young adult or in middle to late years, to watch news online, listen to news reports, and consider thoughtfully when reading the paper.
Please join me in voting for the persons, beliefs and causes that you personally endorse. America is only America when we follow the footsteps and mentoring of our wise founders.
Postal Service shouldn’t be treated like a business
Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 of the U.S. Constitution, known as the Postal Clause, empowers Congress “To establish Post Offices.” The United States Postal Service is a SERVICE not a business, and it should be treated as such. Congress generously funds the armed services without expectation that they pay for themselves or turn a profit. Especially under our current circumstances, neither should the Postal Service.
At a time when numerous crises challenge our democracy, the recent policy changes of major Trump donor and newly appointed Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, have resulted in significant mail backlogs and delays across the nation. Reports indicate that “Letter carriers are manually sorting more mail, adding to the delivery time, and that bins of mail ready for delivery sit in post offices because of scheduling and route changes. Without the ability to work overtime, workers say the logjam is worsening without an end in sight.”
I am concerned that this is another effort to undermine our ability to vote in this crucial election. As voters in several states’ primaries were forced to do, and without redress from the U.S. Supreme Court, will citizens have to choose between exposures to a deadly virus to exercise the right to vote?
And this, in the centennial of the 19th Amendment on August 26, extending the right to women to vote. How much can the poor nation stand?
Bozeman Daily Chronicle Letters to the Editor 8/13/20