The Worst President

To the Editor:

The Democratic Party is wasting far too much energy being distracted by Donald Trump.  It is true that he is an unmitigated ass, an egomaniacal, sexist, racist, capitalist pig and serial, self-aggrandizing liar, essentially a revelation and manifestation of every dark aspect of America’s history and ethos.  However the jury is still out on whether he is a worse President than Richard Nixon, who actually was a crook, or George W. Bush, a naif in the thrall of the war-mongering Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, and here we can add the amnesty-granting, debt-raising, tax-raising, Third World-invading President-Feel-Good-About-America Ronald Reagan, all of whom were elected twice.

We are a year and a quarter in and the economy and markets (we can still make a buck here) so far haven’t crashed, and Roseanne Barr, while not the President’s vision of the Ideal Woman, loves his brash demeanor, and she is right that Mike Pence would be far worse.  What can go wrong here?

What can go wrong is that while all eyes are on the Donald (which he loves), the Republican agenda of unregulated, corporate-dominated, small government America is being put into policy and law.  Public safety and protection, in both the environment and the world of finance, is being compromised for the sake of greater profit for the already rich and powerful, somehow all in the name of a “forgotten America”.  This is not a government of the People, it is one of, by, and for a wealthy elite.  This should be the focus for the Democratic Party (and for all Americans), not Donald Trump.

Robert Porath

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Oh Captain, My Captain

To the Editor:
For all his vainglory and grandstanding, Donald Trump is more simply a personification of a sector of the American psyche. How one reacts to his outsized personality depends upon how one feels about elitist ambitions, the pursuit of wealth, and white male superiority. Rather than as captain of the ship of state, he is more its figurehead, a hologram of sorts projected upon our television screens. The ship’s course is powered by other forces.

Robert Porath

Plast-ickity

My vision of future, multicolored, plasticky beaches is perhaps far-fetched, but plastic pollution is a verifiable threat to life in the world’s oceans, and both plastic production and recycling are air, water, and ground polluting enterprises of their own.  Nonetheless, plastic packaging is everywhere–plastic bags, plastic wrap, plastic bottles, plastic cartons, bubble wrap, styrofoam. It is inescapable.  I can no longer find my favorite powdered laundry detergent in a cardboard box, only plastic bottles of, I presume, more profitable progress in liquid form.  Also, most of my landfill bound trash is non-recyclable, non-biodegradable plastic.  I understand the concern for food safety, but surely there are other, non-polluting options, and, yes, I am aware detergents pose environmental problems, particularly those with micro plastics.  Can anyone save us from ourselves?

Robert Porath

Access to Health Care

To the Editor:
        The problem of health care in America is not one of quality but one of distribution and access.  Here one might wish some tech wizard or captain of industry would devote his energy and ingenuity, for the benefit of everyone, to solving this problem rather than utilizing the public pocketbook as an open ATM for personal and corporate enrichment.  This, of course, would be quickly condemned by Conservative talk radio as being “socialism”, but the real term is “democratic humanism”, a belief the Founding Fathers put forth in the Declaration on Independence and then fought for in the Revolution, an ideal too often ignored in today’s constant push for profit and wealth.  Quality health care is available, provided one is well-off (or a member of Congress), but expecting private,for-profit corporate institutions to be willing and capable of providing accessible, equitable health care is nothing more than magical thinking.

RP

Christianity

To the Editor:
To be clear about the meaning of Christmas it is important first to remember that Jesus was neither Aryan nor Anglo-Saxon. and, more importantly, that his was a revolutionary voice against the sociopolitical and economic customs and morality of his time.  His vision of power was not one of subjugation, violence, exploitation, and wealth, but one of caring, forgiveness, and inclusion. This was a belief for the disadvantaged and oppressed.  It is the Christianity practiced by Martin Luther King and appears to be the message that Pope Francis is attempting to instill again within the Catholic Church.
Also significant is that the Sermon on the Mount was given on a hillside, in the open air, not from the pulpit of a magnificent temple, nor is it random circumstance that the birth of Jesus is celebrated at the winter solstice, long recognized in ancient “pagan” religious practice as a time of rebirth when sunlight hours stop shrinking and begin to lengthen again.  This places Christianity squarely as a religion not only of human kindness, but also as an observer and caretaker of the realities of our life here on Earth.  These are messages one hopes all people can take to heart.

           Robert Porath

Trickle Down

To the Editor:
Let’s call it Trickle Me Once, Trickle Me Twice.  The Trumpublican tax “reform” is a simple reaffirmation of Ronald Reagan’s supply-side, trickle down economic platform that has resulted in the wealth and income disparity we have today.  It is purely magical thinking to believe that the corporate world will share its tax windfall with the average working American whose own tax “relief”, unlike that for corporations, is set to expire.  Company bonuses are nice but, unlike pay raises, they are only temporary.  In other words, future deficits will fall squarely upon public rather than corporate income and Conservatives can amplify their disparagement of federal public well-being and safety net programs such as Medicare and Social Security.  The goal seems to be to continue the transformation of America into a Banana Republic ruled by a wealthy, oligarchical elite.  All “isms” have positive and negative aspects, but coupled with the deregulation of banking and the fossil fuel extraction industries, this is Capitalism at its worst.
Robert Porath

Survival of the Fittest

To the Editor:
Harassment and male aggression in the pursuit of sexual conquest, along with road rage, murder, warfare, and the authoritarian thirst for power, are apparently part and parcel of our human, mammalian DNA. To say this is not to condone or accept these behaviors, but to state the truth. They are not a sound basis on which to build a stable social order, and acquiescing to their influence has unravelled thousands of lives, not to mention whole societies and even empires. Our survival in the 21st Century will be dependent upon cooperation, community, and truthful communication, not on our base animal instincts.

Robert Porath