The law, not the man
I have several friends who are firm supporters of President Donald Trump. I am not.
I have lost interest in political discussions because, even though we are able to have them without shouting, they almost always devolve into the two of us looking at one event and having diametrically opposed interpretations of the meaning. Here is what I would say to my friends if we could ever get to the point of being able to listen to each other rather than comparing opposite interpretations of events.
If you believe in the Constitution and the rule of law, then one thing needs to be true. When you are defending the words or actions of Trump you need to be able to, in your mind, substitute “President Trump” for “President Obama”, “President Clinton”, or even “President Warren”.
If you cannot, then you are defending the man and not the office. Believing that “the old rules do not apply” to someone is a sure path to chaos and tyranny. It is still true that one of the most dangerous situations is when it is your guy with the bad idea.
Scott Land, Perryville
The ICE plan
Call me paranoid if you want, but it seems obvious that President Donald Trump’s plan is to destroy the reputation, effectiveness and budgets of at least the FBI, Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney General, while increasing the budget and centralizing national police functions of ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) with the agency directly controlled by the president in order to establish a truly autocratic dictatorship at least in a way similar to what happened in Nazi Germany.
The excuse would be that everything had become too chaotic for government to continue to exist in America in any other form than a version of military law. That Trump himself was the cause of the chaos would be completely ignored.
John C. Wolff Jr., Lexington
Middle class under attack
The conservative war on the middle class continues. The conservative president has violated the Constitution to unilaterally impose tariffs, which are a massive sales tax on U.S. middle-class consumers. The president claimed the tariffs would lessen the trade deficit. Instead the tariffs have increased the trade deficit to an all-time high. The counter-tariffs by other countries are hurting bourbon export sales from Kentucky. Rather than imposing a tariff, China decided to just stop buying U.S. soybeans so U.S. soybean farmers are slowly going bankrupt.
The president keeps claiming that the United States is collecting billions of dollars from China due to the tariffs. Despite his undergraduate degree in real estate economics he does not grasp the simple fact that tariffs are paid by the importer, not the exporter. China has not paid one cent due to the tariffs. It has all been paid by U.S. importers who in turn raise their prices to U.S. consumers. American middle-class citizens are the ones paying for the tariffs. The same citizens who got nothing from the Trump/ McConnell/ Ryan tax cuts for the rich.
Kevin Kline, Lexington
Putin’s dark deeds
Ever since Russian President Vladimir Putin, the former KGB leader, assumed power, he has yearned for the resurrection of the Soviet Union. He has proven to be a shrewd manipulator, an unabashed aggressor and a consummate politician. Not since the Nazi era in Germany has anyone managed a propaganda machine that churns out more lies and alternate realities.
He has sent oligarchs and spies to western democracies as well as totalitarian countries. He has meddled in elections throughout western Europe. Many of our allies have taken serious measures to curb his interference and Twitter falsehoods, and warned us of his ploys.
Putin has annexed parts of the old empire, including the Crimea and Georgia. He has sent paramilitary or actual soldiers into the Ukraine and continues to press his agenda there. He has gained enormous influence in Syria and Venezuela. The Mueller report cited over 100 contacts between his minions and the Trump campaign, with over 30 indictments and his open admission that he preferred Trump in the 2016 election.
Oddly, our president jokes with Putin about the “Russian hoax” and assures the dictator that he personally believes his assurance that Russia did not intervene in the election.
Henry Everman, Richmond
Any reasonable, ethical person who is near President Donald Trump or otherwise currently supports him politically should now be led to the wise and prudent conclusion that now is the time to create distance. Now is the time to abandon the lost cause of advocating for a complete and total narcissist who believes he is doing a public service by masquerading as the president. Trump said it himself. He told a singular truth when he learned of the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller: “This is the end of my presidency...”
To all good people -- drop Trump like a bad habit. Stop carrying his water, riding his coattails, aspiring to his mendacity. Stop lying to yourselves, to your family, friends, and your community. There is no merit to Trump as a person, let alone as the president of the United States. We must move on to a better, brighter, more civil future for our country and for the benefit of the world. Our ability to be a leading nation in the world is being abdicated by Trump. Republicans, please stop abetting this compulsive liar, tax cheat, and ally to dictators, murderers and madmen.
Sean McElroy, Lexington
U.S. healthcare not stellar
A recent letter writer said that we do not want healthcare like Europe’s or Canada’s. England’s healthcare is ranked at 18th globally. The United States is ranked 37th. Brits also have a longer life expectancy. Americans pay over 50 percent more per capita than Brits for healthcare.
According to a Canada’s “The Patient Factor” an online newsletter about Canadian healthcare, the World Health Organization ranks France as 1st, Italy is 2nd, Spain is 7th and Austria is 9th. Canada is 30th and the US is 37th. There are so many European and Scandinavian countries ahead of the United States, while our healthcare is easily the most expensive in the world.
People should do their own research about how U.S. healthcare compares to other countries. At least we can say that we have better healthcare than Mexico and other similar countries, and that we easily pay more that any other country in the world.
Myself, I need surgery and hope to go to another country. Doctors can choose to ignore problems because it only generates revenue for them and the hospitals that they do business with.
James A. Lindgaard, Lexington
Humans that are privileged to live in a first-world country like the United States need to wake up and realize the rapidity of the progression of climate change and its potential to completely change our and our children’s futures.
You have an alternative: Don’t wake up, don’t sweat it, choose complacency and concede to a future fraught with increasingly weird weather impacts. Nature, like it or not, is rebelling against our insults with greater intensity and frequency each passing year as evidenced by the increasing heat, floods, fires, destructive winds, and the consequent effects of these. Soon we may not be able to stop it. Please, don’t be a simpleton or a deceiver and say that in cold weather we need more global warming to warm things up. We are running out of time to choose between more and stable -- more being more nonessential comforts and stuff ultimately derived from fossil fuel-based energy.
History may remember the current generation, particularly those that are in charge of government and the fossil fuel industry, and those who support them and vote them into office, as the selfish, greedy, duped bunch that spoiled a good thing for themselves and all the kids.
George Wagner, Lexington