LETTERS: A polarizing political issue; only man can repair disasters | Opinion
A polarizing political issue
I was interested in reading The Gazette’s point of view article on September 6. He laments the politicization of COVID, demonstrated by a lab owner denying services to an unvaccinated, anti-vaccine and politically conservative person. However, for me, history more poignantly demonstrates the exercise of individual rights, in particular the right to control one’s goods and services. Although I disagree with the reasoning of the owner of the lab, I support his right to refuse his services to someone. Suzanna Lee’s email to Candace Owens was respectful and thoughtful. Owens’ response was to unfairly accuse Lee of racism and then publicly insult him.
I don’t know how one can conclude that Owens was the injured party. Owens has exercised his right to free speech and his right to refuse vaccination, however misguided it may be. Lee exercised his right to refuse Owens service, however misguided it might be. But that’s the definition of freedom: adults can do silly things, but they don’t stop their neighbor from doing silly things.
It is a shame that this virus has become such a polarizing political issue. In the midst of this, let’s celebrate what we share as Americans: the freedom to make our own silly decisions.
“Whoever wants to secure his own freedom must protect even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he sets a precedent which will come to him. – Thomas Paine
What are we waiting for?
Congress is working out the details of the policy to be included in the budget reconciliation. Climate legislation must be included in one form or another.
Now is the time to push for the most effective way to mitigate climate change: a price on carbon.
Today, 44 countries practice a national carbon pricing method, in fact, among the developed economies of the world, only the United States and Australia do not have some form of national carbon levy.
Our economic stocktaking day could come in 2023, when the EU plans to institute its carbon border adjustment. This component of carbon pricing taxes energy-intensive imports from countries that do not have similar carbon prices. Wouldn’t it be more logical to catch up with other avant-garde nations rather than being penalized?
In March, the American Petroleum Institute, our country’s largest trading group for the oil and gas industry, approved carbon pricing as a preferable market policy that will foster innovation and technological advancements in the effort mitigate climate change. According to the IMF, a carbon tax policy will stimulate the economy and increase employment.
The West is experiencing historic drought, the lower Colorado River system is at 40% capacity. Lakes Mead and Powell, on which millions of people depend for their water, have a record capacity. In May, California’s budget proposal called for $ 2 billion just for wildfire mitigation.
What are we waiting for?
Leaders must be held accountable
Today I am heartbroken. The year I spent in Afghanistan, trying to help the Afghan people improve their living conditions and their ability to defend themselves, seems lost. I know there are thousands of other soldiers who feel the same way. I know the families who lost a loved one there relive their loss. My thoughts are especially with the families who lost loved ones in the recent suicide bombing. They died as heroes, but I question the leadership that put them in that position.
I never thought that Afghanistan would become a first world country on a par with some European nations. But we have been able to see and hear the stories of the progress made in the quality of life of Afghans during the 20 years of US military presence. Under the Taliban in the 1990s, there were no women in school.
When I was there from 2016 to 2017, hundreds of thousands of girls were in school, for the first time able to receive an education. Infant mortality rates have dropped sharply and access to quality medical care has improved dramatically. We have embarked on many projects that have dramatically improved the quality of life for Afghans during the year I was there. Life was on an upward trajectory for most Afghans. When I read that the Taliban had entered the capital of Kabul and seized without resistance, I was crushed.
I watched in horror as President Ghani flee the country to allegedly prevent further bloodshed. The remaining Americans frantically tried to get to the airport or the State Department told them to take cover there. Individuals who have joined forces with international forces are imprisoned or worse. The Bagram air base was taken over by the Taliban with the military equipment that remained there.
The maximum security prison co-located with Bagram has been emptied of some of the country’s most hardened criminals and terrorists. How did our civilian and military leaders screw this up so badly? How could we leave in a few weeks and expect the Afghan government to hold on? How could we simply abandon the strategically positioned and well-defended Bagram Airfield and allow our equipment to be handed over to our enemies? Why did we not ensure that all American civilians and Afghans who assisted us were evacuated via a non-combatant evacuation operation before withdrawing our military personnel?
Leaders must be held accountable.
If the military and civilian leaders of the DOD have approved the approach that has been implemented, then they are incompetent and should be removed from their posts immediately. If they gave different advice and were rejected by the executive, they should have resigned in protest and refused to implement this plan.
Accountability is an essential aspect of leadership. We must hold those responsible for these serious mistakes to account.