Letters to the Editor — February 2, 2016

Reader argues for common sense


A 19-year-old son took his lunch break from beach lifeguard duties at his mother’s nearby home. In this social setting, the son unburdened the workplace reality that his low seniority meant he guarded the beach from his chair with no umbrella. Without such protection, the heat and humidity of the Delmarva beach summer inexorably wore him down.

Recognizing a youthful lack of confidence to protest in an employment setting, let alone a setting exuding the explosive strength and virility projected by the lifesaving corps of the beach patrol, his mother attended a morning muster of lifeguards to confront this hazard before the chief guard. Imagine standing before such a hale and hardy group to make the plea for an umbrella on behalf of a son.

This Selbyville mother is the kind of person I would put in charge of the United States Department of Labor: a person dedicated to bettering the human working condition, undertaking problem-solving, petitioning the power structure, dealing with the sanctity and nuance of seniority, and projecting a vision for change. Our Selbyville neighbor would bring her passion for social justice to work on behalf of the people of the United States.

But, at her confirmation hearing, confounding questions likely would arise having nothing to do with regulating labor conditions and enforcing labor laws: “Have you ever looked after the interest of one to the detriment of the many?” “Isn’t it true you have worked to disrupt settled seniority expectations?” “Have you ever taken more than $100 in small bills to a foreign country?” and, most importantly, “Can you swim?” Can’t we find again a notion of common sense in deciding what to ask of federal cabinet-level nominees?

A person willing to serve our country enjoys my early support, though I remain open to a probing search for relevant information. Regrettably, and far too often, nominees from Republican and Democratic administrations are targets awaiting ambush by humiliation, degradation and orchestrated political soundbites designed to bolster partisan fundraising or a future political campaign.

While I don’t want a Secretary of Labor who will eviscerate workforce protections or bow to calls for unreasonable guaranteed wages, there is infinite fertile ground between these polarities. Character and a life’s work are instructive for examining suitability for office. Our national debate needs to dial back all too common “personification of evil” campaigns and let each man and women rise or fall on the strength of a fair and impartial examination of their relevant qualifications.

As for our Selbyville colleague’s advocacy for the umbrella, suffice to say the son was throwing “beach shade” from his spot on the lifeguard chair the day after mom met the muster.

James Angus


Reader urges better control of costs


Prescription Part D, passed under the Bush Jr. administration, intended to lower drug prices. However, all too often, millions of Americans fall into the doughnut hole and have to pay huge out-of-pocket copays. If both sides of the aisle really want to help Americans with their drug costs, they could pass legislation permitting Medicare to negotiate prices directly with drug manufacturers.

In contrast, big pharmas continue to fund many of our politicians’ campaigns.

Whose interests are our politicians serving? This trust issue has been festering for far too long.

Many other countries have cost controls. However, our big pharmas continue to get away with price manipulations and excess profit-taking. Citizens of all colors and stripes must begin taking the lead to come to the aid of their country by confronting our politician’s unwillingness to fight for drug cost-control legislation.

Hey, this is America, ladies and gentlemen politicos in Congress. Act like you know. Otherwise, we will continue to let you know we are wary of whether or not you are working for Americans’ best interests.

Bill Clemens


Service at St. Ann’s was ‘uplifting’


The Reconciliation Service at Saint Ann’s Catholic Church during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity on Jan. 24 was wonderfully uplifting. It was the product of cooperative participation from at least eight local churches representing multiple faiths.

I would like to congratulate Sr. Loretta C. Primus of Saint Ann’s and all others who planned the service. This “coming together” of churches and their wonderful choirs was a welcome respite from our increasingly polarized and divisive world.

Sue Cutter

Ocean View

Resident concerned with science denials

Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and was sent to the Coastal Point for publication.

I request that you speak truth to power. I do not mean the new POTUS, but rather the moneyed interests that have created the conditions in which a divisive partisanship can thrive. One example is the deliberate and methodical manner in which associated fuel interests have managed to mainstream climate (and other) science skepticism and denialism.

This is dangerous to our country and the world. I suspect that, privately, you and most other senators know this. Now is the time to forcefully speak openly and publicly about this issue.

If our country is to thrive, we must lead in winding down the reductionist world economy and taking up the future sustainable, renewable and clean world economy. Our and the world’s economic and physical health depends on this.

You are well-practiced at the art of politics, and you can do this thing.

Grant Massey


Reader calls for people to speak out


An injustice to one, or 109, sooner or later becomes an injustice to all. Today it’s Ishmael at an airport; tomorrow it will Abraham’s other son, Isaac, behind barbed wire. And then? Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu? Tom Robinson? His Latino doppelganger, Tomás Robínez?

We must speak up, lest there be no one to speak up someday for us.

Pepe Sandoval

Ocean View

Reader concerned about DeVos’ abilities


Beware of Betsy DeVos and her plan to privatize charter schools, enriching the CEOs who run them at the expense of student learning and teacher pay.

Sen. Tom Carper warned on NPR Jan. 24 that privatizing charter schools would siphon money from funds that allow high-performing high school students to receive two years at community colleges free. And Forbes magazine notes that charters are a “backdoor for corporate profit.”

Other outlets, such as Politico, remind us that during the hearing she showed gross ignorance about how the public school system operates. She failed to comprehend the need for those schools which receive federal funds to comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Act.

DeVos hedged on whether guns should be prohibited in schools’ gun-free zones (which Trump has promised to end), and she dodged on supporting fact-based science. And the NEA claims that schools that receive federal funding for Title I programs which help disadvantaged students would see their funds evaporate.

Call Sen. Coons and then, in case DeVos is approved, begin to contact your state legislators and ask them to protect our schools.

Kit Zak