Letters for November 13, 2014
The choice is yours
Earlier this year a political science study found that ordinary Americans have virtually no influence over what the federal government does in the U.S. This is validated with the fact that 100 million registered voters sat out the 2012 presidential elections, discouraged and disheartened.
Who decides what kind of country America should be? Washington, D.C., thinks they get to decide, which means they’ve forgotten who they work for and as such deserve nothing less than a pink slip. While politicians and their ilk are lining their pockets with power and money, two-thirds of our country sits at the edge of extinction vs. exceptionalism.
Article V provides the path back to exceptionalism through cultivating a grassroots army of Americans fed up with The People vs. Capitol Hill mentality. Article V, Section 2 compels that Americans through the states have a way to rein in the federal government when it oversteps its bounds.
Me vs. DC? I decide the America that I want. I choose Article V and the re-founding of Constitutional self-governance for all Americans.
Re “Eyes wide open” (Feature story, Oct. 16):
I read your last article on police violence and thank you for publishing it, but I think there was something missing (perhaps discussed in an earlier article in the series). I think it is presented well in this article in The Economist: www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2014/08/armed-police.
This excerpt from the article might be surprising to your readers: “Last year, in total, British police officers actually fired their weapons three times. The number of people fatally shot was zero. In 2012, the figure was just one. Even after adjusting for the smaller size of Britain’s population, British citizens are around 1,000 times less likely to be shot by a police officer than Americans. Between 2010 and 2014, the police force of one small American city, Albuquerque in New Mexico, shot and killed 23 civilians; seven times more than the number of Brits killed by all of England and Wales’s 43 forces during the same period. The explanation for this gap is simple. In Britain, guns are rare. Only specialist firearms officers carry them; and criminals rarely have access to them.”
Yes there are bad cops like there are bad people in any other profession, but I think the ever greater availability of guns in the U.S., and willingness to use them likely is the main reason for increasing police violence. Years ago, I was stopped on I-80 late at night in Oakland for speeding. It had been a long frustrating day at work, and I was pissed off. The officer asked me to step out of the car. I noticed there were several police vehicles around my car, and four officers with guns pulled. Pissed off and still thinking about work I kind of absentmindedly thought, “What the hell is wrong with these guys?” The officer asked for my registration. I reached in, pulled it from the glove box and without turning around whipped it out behind my back for him to take. All four officers recoiled and pointed their guns at me. It was then I finally thought, “This is Oakland, you idiot. These guys get shot at. Cool it!” If you think you may well get shot and killed, you act as quickly and defensively as they did.
The more things change
I suspect that Reno News & Review readers are some of the people who have benefited the most from the Obama administration’s policies but are least likely to take the time to vote. Don’t let this happen. Unemployment, the annual federal deficit, the number of uninsured Americans, the number of U.S. combat deaths in the Middle East, the price of gasoline, and the number of domestic deaths from foreign terrorists have all fallen dramatically since President Obama was elected. So much more—like raising the minimum wage, increasing the number of construction jobs, and lowering student loan interest rates—could have happened if Republicans had not conspired to, and succeeded in, blocking legislation that would have helped millions of ordinary Americans. Despite the unrelenting noise from the right wing, corporate noise machine, the state of the nation has improved dramatically since Bush and the Republicans left the nation’s economy in a state of free fall in 2008.
Peace through war
Re “Age of Empire” (Feature story, Oct. 9):
This article could turn a headache into a migraine. It reads like a droll list of one-sided generalizations of America’s history in intervening in world affairs that was aiming more toward reaffirming the author’s already established views than trying to educate or enlighten anyone else.
A common theme in the non-interventionist ideology, is that when America intervenes in other parts of the world, it creates instability, and often this is true.
What the non-interventionist ideologue seems conveniently oblivious of, though, is that many of these places attained stability through ruthless tyranny. When you kill, torture, mutilate, or imprison people who might speak out against the human atrocities projected on them, well that does create stability for those in power; it’s a stability that sits firmly on a foundation of fear. You cannot move from that state of being to a better one without first upsetting the status quo, which of course will create instability.
America isn’t the evil imperial-type nation that Mr. Highton tries to project it as. It’s a nation that understands the importance of promoting free societies which historically have a higher regard for human rights and rarely, if ever, go to war against one another. That’s the way to a better world for future generations, but we’ll never get there if were to afraid to jump through the ring of fire that is instability.
If we only had a brain
Re “Election Endorsements (Again)” (Editorial, Oct. 30):
I agreed with most of your endorsements. With a historically low approval-rated, do-nothing Congress, fresh blood could revitalize the living fossils in the halls of Congress. The senators not facing reelection will see if they don’t start doing their jobs they could find themselves being chased by a mob of angry voters or, as they call it, leading the pack. If giving the voters a choice of being chased through a graveyard at midnight on Halloween by a pack of zombies or approving how well Congress did this year, I think the zombie option would win. Remove the incumbents and let the political parties know there are no safe zones, and if they want to win elections they have to actually work to earn it. At least Zombies know what they want—brains—which is lacking in Congress.
Re “Emancipation gesture” (Upfront, Nov. 6):
The Nevada Museum of Art’s exhibit “The 36th Star/ Nevada’s Journey from Territory to State” closed on Nov. 2.