Letters to the Editor

Our nation has never been in greater peril

I registered as a Democrat in 1974 in Durham, N.C. While I rarely voted for one in those 44 years, I do not consider myself a Republican either.

I am an American, with a deep and broad understanding of American history nourished by a half century of deep reading and 25 years of lecturing as an avocational historian. I am appalled by the circus currently being played out by the U.S. Senate and a transparently partisan media. We have entered an era just as dangerous as the 1850s, which led to a bloody, convulsive and unnecessary civil war in the 1860s.

While there are many books that might shed light through the historical lens on our present circumstances, there is one that stands out: a recent publication by the late New England historian Thomas Fleming entitled “A Disease in the Public Mind.”

Best known for his writings on the Revolutionary-era, this fresh, insightful and original study tackles the Civil War era by going back to our beginnings to explain how intolerance, self-righteousness, and an unwillingness to compromise wed to justifications for violence lead inevitably to tragic consequences.

In summary, from the Salem witch trials, to tariffs and nullification right through Prohibition and the McCarthy era, Fleming uses history as a lantern to illuminate our clear and present danger.

If the malignant partisanship of our present times are not challenged, blunted and reversed, we have chosen to inaugurate another civil war. We have never placed ourselves in greater danger. This madness must stop.

Steve Quick

Hilton Head Island

Diagnosing health care choices

Health care has become a hot issue in this election. Not surprisingly, how pre-existing conditions are dealt with has become a major part of this discussion. Many Republican candidates claim they will protect this provision, and President Donald Trump claims that he will protect it far better than the Democrats.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this can be done in one of two ways. Either a single-payer plan like Medicare for all, or some variant of that, or something like the Affordable Care Act that requires everyone to participate. Obviously, most of the GOP is against those two ideas (even though the required participation model was initially their idea), and they have no alternative plan on the table.

There is no way out of this box. They will have to either embrace one of these two plans or admit that they have no intention of protecting pre-existing conditions without penalties. It is just that simple, isn’t it?

William I. Griffith

Beaufort

SC Good Ol’ Boys in politics have horrible record

We have proudly re-elected the same Good Ol’ Boys to local, state and federal office for decades, and it should make us proud.

The Good Ol’ Boys have allowed us to achieve their lofty goals of keeping them, and their families, in office and on the public dole.

Why, the Good Ol’ Boys have worked so hard that we are now:

Ranked 48th in education. Yes, we started at the bottom, and thanks to the Good Ol’ Boys we keep re-electing, we have stayed at the bottom. As long as they tell us how well-off we are, we’ll go along, smile and convince ourselves how good we’ve got it, ’cause the Good Ol’ Boys say so.

Ranked 41st in health care. The Good Ol’ Boys, in many cases, get lifetime care for themselves and their families. The people they represent don’t; it must not be important.

Ranked 41st in crime and corrections. The Good Ol’ Boys make sure who goes to prison and who does not. Steal millions on nuclear projects and let the rubes pay. Smoke a joint and do hard time.

Ranked 45th in household income. The Good Ol’ Boys are not in the lower ranking of income after serving even one term.

Ranked 42nd overall.

Congratulations to all the Good Ol’ Boys. After decades in office, you have brought us the rewards we so richly deserve. At least you and your families have been rewarded and, as we all know, you deserve it ’cause you’re Good Ol’ Boys.

Steve Gerhart

Bluffton

True freedom of the vote

Finally, the election is here. What a relief. The division of friends, neighbors, and family members just to sell elected office will cease for several months.

I offer these opinions.

If the prospect of the “other party” taking control fills you with fear and dread, then consider that government has too much power. Look into the Convention of States movement.

If you know what supporters of the “other party” believe in their hearts, then schedule an appointment with a mental health professional.

If you believe the political advertisements of either party, then don’t answer your door for a salesperson.

Even at the local level, life will go on whether or not your favorite candidate gets elected to the school board. Passing the transportation referendum won’t guarantee that you’ll never wait in traffic, and rejecting it won’t mean certain gridlock.

I am not saying that voting doesn’t make a difference. No, I plan to vote and urge you to do the same. I believe the best way to make Beaufort, or South Carolina, or the United States, a better place is for each of us to become a better person. No one can stop us from that, we are free, to paraphrase a sports equipment maker’s slogan, to just do it.

It is wrong for me to use political power to coerce you to become my version of a better person. I am free to persuade anyone to agree with me, but you must be free to reject my arguments.

James Pennell

Beaufort

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