Trump and Putin

To the Editor:
Vladimir Putin’s Russia is not much different from the America envisioned by Donald Trump and his high-end backers.  It is an economy and nation controlled by monied interests. i.e. wealthy oligarchs, and we can be certain that the Supreme Court will be fully (5-4 for now) in support of this Libertarian/Ayn Rand concept of small government and unregulated enterprise.  The deck is loaded against Abraham Lincoln’s “government of the people”.  Regaining control of the House and Senate is now the only antidote to this turn of injustice to the majority of Americans.
Robert Porath

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Manifest Destiny

To the Editor:
The most depressing aspect of the Trump Presidency and the Far Right takeover of Congress and the Courts is the thought that this is the real America, its Manifest Destiny.  White male supremacy and capitalist exploitation are its highest ideals.  Women, “people of color”, and the working classes are lesser, subservient beings to a ruling elite for whom wealth and dominance are the guiding principles. In essence, Donald Trump is the primal scream of fear and outrage built up during the eight-year nightmare of the Obama Presidency and the arrival of black faces in positions of power and influence.  Similarly, the Great Southern Border Wall is the expression of the fear that the Native Peoples of the Americas are returning to a land once theirs.  This is today’s true reality show.  This is not a carefully staged media event.

Robert Porath

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

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