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Letters 10/31/2011

- October 31st, 2011  

Email your letter to: info@northernexpress.com

Please keep your letter under 300 words (one page).

Only one letter per reader in a two month period will be accepted. Letters may be edited for length or to correct factual errors. Letters must be signed to be considered for print and a phone number is required for verification. Faxed are not accepted.

Vote YES on Proposal 1

My son came home for Thanksgiving this year and asked to sit down with my wife and me. He had an important decision to share with us. Christopher is a 29-year-old practicing attorney in Milwaukee. “I’m going to join the Army if the congress rescinds the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law.”

Chris has always wanted to serve his country but could not enlist 10 years ago because he was honest with the Army recruiter. Chris is gay. The armed forces no longer discriminate against gay soldiers. Chris just finished his basic training and Officer Candidate School (OCS) after training for 20 weeks in the hot Georgia sun. He is one of the first openly gay officers in the US Army (2nd Lieutenant). Chris’ unit is slated to depart for Afghanistan in January 2013.

Chris is proud to be part of an Army that is color blind – it does not matter if you are black, white, Hispanic, man, woman and now gay. The army doesn’t care who you are, only what you do.

In November, the citizens of Traverse City will be asked whether we should be able to discriminate against someone because they are gay. The people who have initiated this vote are barraging voters with misinformation and fear about the potential impact such a policy will have in our community. None of these improbable impacts have been experienced to date.

Chris is willing to lay down his life to protect all our lives, no exceptions. Are you really willing to deny him the right of being an equal citizen? A true community is one that values all its members, regardless of who they are. Join me in keeping the fabric of our community strong and vibrant. Vote

YES on Proposal 1 to ensure continued equal rights in Traverse City.

Bob Eichenlaub • TC

Vote NO on Proposal 1

Isn’t it a contradiction that lady justice holding the scales of justice in her outstretched hand must now have her blindfold removed in order to see which group is being treated equally? If anyone is that concerned about equality in law they must first learn the distinction between group rights and individual rights. When we are all neatly fitted into our own group, who is to decide which group gets the federal nod of so-called protection when there is conflict between groups? The female student in southern Michigan found out that it was discriminatory to advertise as a “female Christian looking for another female Christian roommate”.

Businesses charged with discrimination under this ordinance must prove their innocence contrary to American jurisprudence of natural law. They also will be required to pay a $500 fine plus costs. Not $50, as noted by Steve Tuttle in his Voting Local column.

The case of Traverse City’s nondiscrimination ordinance goes a step further by including into the group rights status, sexual orientation and gender identity. By instituting such a far-reaching ordinance aren’t we really undermining the basis for all law in western civilization – the Judeo- Christian moral ethic? Including a private sexual behavior as a protected right is a folly beyond compare.

Group rights/Special Rights are a protection racket and that is why I’m voting No on Proposal 1.

Christine Schoech • TC

Behind the curtain

Evil is an act to intentionally do harm in a profoundly immoral way. Sadly, we are living through a real life drama of Good vs. Evil. The Republicans now in control of the House and the Senate (by way of the filibuster) demand that the poor and the middle class “pay” for the excesses of the powerful corporations while refusing to add taxes on the “long suffering”

wealthy who have benefited from the right wing agenda . That’s really evil.

So....maybe we should take some action for ourselves. Our Representative, Dave Camp, has been appointed to the Deficit Reduction Super Committee by the masters (as in the Wizard of Oz pulling levers behind the curtain) because he has shown a willingness to support their agenda. Like Dorothy did, let’s stand up for ourselves and tell him what WE demand. Demand that the deficit not be fixed solely by cutting badly needed services, but fixed at least in part by raising taxes on the rich and powerful. Demand that he support a real jobs program and not the evil fairy tale of creating jobs by cutting taxes on the rich. Beg him to read a little history once in a while and try to understand what happens when the rich get richer and the poor (now including many former middle class families) get put out onto the streets with nothing. Probably that history will not concern him, but it really, really should. Explain to him what “Good” is all about. Maybe he could even find a little goodness in his own heart and a little bravery, and represent our needs for a change. Maybe he could give us a little respect. Who knows, it could happen. But if not, why would we ever vote for him again? Tell him that, too.

Randy Harlan • via Email

Why mandate vaccines?

I have been following the coverage of the flu vaccine mandate with great interest. My purpose is not to convince anyone whether or not to get the shot, but, instead, to raise some questions about why this is being forced on health care workers.

I have many concerns about the logic behind this mandate. Despite the fact that only half of health care workers have chosen to receive the flu vaccine in recent years, there has been no “pandemic”.

Authorities have said that those who are unvaccinated are “dangerous” and administration must “protect the patients” from these employees. On what are they basing these statements?

I have searched for studies proving that unvaccinated people are more likely to spread the virus and have yet to find anything. And there has been no response to my requests that this information be presented to those being forced to get the shot or lose their jobs.

But, maybe more importantly, who exactly is profiting from this mandate? And what will be the next step in this movement to ensure the “herd immunity”?

You may not have any difficulty with receiving the flu vaccine. But, next year your life may be directly affected by a similar mandate. It is my belief that a “one size fits all” approach to health care is not the best option. Each individual should be allowed to decide how best to maintain a healthy body. Why aren’t we forcing people with lung disease to quit smoking, or obese people to lose weight, or those with heart disease to change their life styles? Wouldn’t that be better for the “herd”?

Just a little something to think about the next time you hear someone say they are opposed to mandated vaccines.

Keli MacIntosh • TC

Benefit change unjust

Here’s an example of local corporate greed. This past July Munson Medical Center changed its employees’ benefit package, specifically long term sick payout. These earned hours have been reduced to a 75% payout rather than the 100% we previously enjoyed. The Administration is robbing their employees' benefit package and rewarding themselves with huge bonuses. Munson employees should be part of the nations 99% who are protesting corporate greed. It’s time to stop the abuse. When an employee becomes ill or injured is when they really need 100% of their earned sick hours.

Cynthia Rydahl RN • TC

Consider sustainability

I agree with Robert Downes that we need to stop and smell the roses. It can be a fine line we walk between being aware of the troubles in the world and maintaining a positive attitude. Here in northwestern Michigan we are blessed with abundant natural beauty, low crime and population density, and the quality of life is very good. I think in this regard, we are the 1%.

However, when you tie our good fortune and bright future to the profits of auto giants and jobs building power boats, you lose me. These things are not sustainable...and sustainability is the essence of the problems faced by ALL of humanity, regardless of where you live.

People everywhere need to develop strong local economies, starting with food and energy production. Farmers markets are a start, but a very small drop in the bucket, and how is it we still (20 years later) have just one wind tower?

Solutions begin and end with the choices we as individuals make and support. So smell the roses sure, but smell the coffee too! Choose local not corporate, bikes not cars, paddle & sail not power boats, small farms not agribiz, renewable not fossil. Choose to live simply.

Richard Allen • Leland

Raise your voice

Both political parties bear responsibility for the economic mess in which we find ourselves. We can no longer continue to elect representatives on the basis of who has the most money, or the system will continue to fail. It is not possible for an ordinary citizen to run for office unless he/she is wealthy or has wealthy supporting groups who have an agenda. A great majority of our government belongs to the top 1% economically. How do we expect them to vote against their own interests? The inequality in the US has become “world class” and Occupy Wall Street has taken notice. Campaign Finance Reform is needed and more non-violent action in the streets may cure some “deafness”.

As our lack of priority for education grows, we will become less and less able to compete in the world markets and unable to provide jobs. Growing inequality is another side of “shrinking opportunities” which is demonstrated when we are not using our most valuable assets, our people. As income disparity grows, the wealthy become more removed from the needs of common people and less empathetic. In truth, they are happy with divided government, too gridlocked to re-distribute and too divided to do anything but lower taxes.

It’s not too late to let your voice be heard.

Lou Ann McKimmy • Rapid City

Vote NO on Proposal 1

If you look at the Michigan State Constitution, you will see in Article 1, Section 1, that the government of the state is instituted for the equal benefit, security and protection of the people living in Michigan. There is no reason for the Traverse City ordinance on discrimination. The state constitution holds a higher power than a local ordinance and  already secures equality for all.

So why do some people think we need this ordinance? They believe that homosexuals do not receive equal rights from this society (or culture), and they feel that this group needs special recognition in order to ensure equal treatment.

In looking over the wording in this ordinance, there are exceptions given, to some people who don’t have to adhere to this ordinance; most notably, religious organizations. The problem is that there is no exemption made for individuals who hold sincere religious beliefs that homosexuality is an inappropriate lifestyle. This makes the ordinance unconstitutional with the Michigan Constitution, under Article one, Sections 2 & 4, which states, in part, ". . . The civil and political rights of no person shall be diminished or enlarged on account of his religious belief.”

So vote NO on Proposal 1 on Nov. 8th. It is unnecessary and unconstitutional.

Cathy Collins • TC

Support Prop 1

I’m voting YES on City Proposal 1, because all people should have the same equal protections under the law. Stephen Tuttle is correct by pointing out “It provides exactly the same rights to every one of us, regardless of sexual orientation.” That’s pretty much the point. Special rights have nothing to do with it and are only a scare tactic by hate groups.

I’m also voting for Barb Budros because jointly we have worked on City Commission to manage development that is fiscally responsible and on publicly funded projects that make sense. Together we have worked hard to keep the unique small town character we all love and desire in Traverse City. Protecting our unique neighborhoods while managing essential services and keeping government open and honest is most important to us.

Vote YES on City Proposal 1 and re-elect Barb Budros and Jim Carruthers.

Jim Carruthers • TC

CORRECTION

The first name of one of two sailors who died in the Chicago to Mackinac sailboat race was incorrect in the Oct. 17 Public Safety page. The man should have been identified as Mark Morely.

The photo credit for the Zombie Run was not included in the article in last week’s Express. Photos by Michael Kent.

 
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