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Head injuries & helmets
Letter writer Matt Woodruff has not thought the helmet situation through in my opinion (re: “Helmets and Motorcycles,” Letters 5/13).
Serious head injuries do cost all of us because no one carries enough insurance coverage to pay for a lifetime of care, yet the bills will be paid by some means.
We all see this reflected in our insurance premiums and taxes.
The non-monetary toll on the families and friends of the injured victim cannot be discounted either.
I have been riding motorcycles since the mid ’70s and every time I see a rider without a helmet it makes me cringe. I have been down and if it were not for my helmet and chin guard I would definitely have needed reconstructive surgery at the least.
Without your brain you are nothing.
Everyone who loves you rides with you. Show them some respect.
Marilyn Wilkie • via email
Robbing the vote
We’re all, regardless of party affiliation, small-d democrats, that is, staunch defenders of the Constitution and its democratic principles.
Let’s look at the actual state of one principle, majority rule.
In the 2012 Michigan election 352,000 MORE voters voted for Democrats (54%, actually) to be in our House than voted for Republicans. Because of Republican gerrymandering, though, Republicans control the state House. The minority rules.
In the U.S. House of Representatives 1.3 million more voters nationwide voted for Democrats, but again because of Republican gerrymandering, Republicans also control that House. (In fact, without a freshly gerrymandered district, Congressman Benishek would have been voted out of office in 2012.) Here also the minority rules.
In the U.S. Senate, through abuse of the filibuster, a minority of Republicans decides what can even be debated, let alone voted on. Thus, background check gun control legislation favored by 90% or so of Americans -- and a majority of Senators! -- was recently filibustered to death by a minority of Republican senators. In the Senate, the minority rules by veto power.
Minority rights do NOT include minority rule!
In Michigan and other states Republicans are poised to enact legislation changing how a state’s Presidential electoral votes are divided between Presidential candidates. In effect, Republicans want to gerrymander Presidential elections as they have gerrymandered other elections. These efforts could result in their candidate being elected with a small minority, maybe less than 40% of the popular vote! They may feel entitled, but, again, minority rights do not include minority rule.
Our strength as a nation depends on the health of our political system. Right now, it’s not so healthy. And any political party that mounts a sustained, systematic, wellfunded and (so far) successful attack on a foundational principle of our democracy does not deserve anyone’s vote.
Ron Tschudy • Central Lake
Money talks in Congress
Stephen Tuttle’s column bemoaning the lack of attention paid by elected officials to will of the people forgets one important point. I think it’s made clear in a line from the film, Charlie Wilson’s War: “The hell with the voters, all I care about are the donors.”
That situation has been woven into a Gordian knot over a long period of time and has made elections -- and voters -- very nearly irrelevant, obscuring the democratic process at the heart of our republic. ‘Tis a shame on the U.S. and a great misfortune to her people.
Audrey McMullen • Petoskey