Letters: Politics, destruction and Immigrant Heritage Month
June 20, 2017
Political rhetoric fueled hateful gunman
First, the shooting of a Republican congressman is a tragedy and I am very sorry for what happened as the Republican baseball team practiced on a beautiful day in Virginia.
Secondly, to claim that this is the fault of the Democrats is unfounded. Republicans and Democrats are both responsible for the tone, language and messaging of the last campaign. Starting way back when President Obama was elected and Republicans vowed to do everything possible to block him and did so for eight years. Sadly we as a people have sunk to name calling, misinformation and denigration of the other. I believe that this approach to elections and governing has caused people to take action against one another and both sides are responsible.
Third, the demonstrations that you have observed are not about losing the election as much as they are about standing up for values that we hold dear. Clean water and air, support for science, care for people living in poverty, fairness in elections, loving our families and keeping them safe, providing equal access to health care for men and women of all ages regardless of preexisting conditions, encouraging equal opportunities for everyone regardless of their situation in life are values that are important to me and I will continue to demonstrate in support of those values as long as I see them being questioned or ignored by congress and the president.
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Scars on the land
Some years ago I wrote a letter to the editor of the Summit Daily News to report severe and saddening damage to a mountain's grassy terrain that my wife and I had come upon, the result of some selfish and uncaring ATVers whose vehicles had left a scar across the face of that terrain that wouldn't heal for many years to come.
This kind of wanton destruction, the taggings and the blatant disregard for the natural formations and beauty that comprise our national parks threatens the future of these resources for us all. Given the cut backs in personnel and resources, there is no way that the National Park Service personnel can keep up with the torrent of visitors, some of whom are hell bent on leaving some mark on what they see, ruining the experience for those who would follow them. Carving names on trees, etching into rock formations, creating destructive and erosive run offs by bush whacking, even chucking paper wrappers and plastic bags, with or without their dog's feces, all lead the ultimate devastation of our parks and forests.
The money isn't available to educate the public to "leave no trace, to make no mark, and to try to leave things better than we found them." We need to self-educate and practice some common sense. No one ever needs to know that we were there except ourselves through our photos and memories.
This isn't difficult legislation we need to pass. It doesn't involve our spending more than our attention. It isn't some unachievable goal. It is, however, proverbially, up to each of us to behave responsibly toward nature and to insure that others do so as well. This may take some admonishing of others on our parts. Yes, we may need to stick our necks out and say something when we see others acting out destructively.
God bless and keep the many, many volunteers who help to build our trails and engage in other projects. It is through them and the harried Park and Forestry Service personnel that we have a fighting chance of having our national park system intact for the generations to come. But it will take a concerted effort by all of us to make this happen. It is a joke to say that the professionals must now do more with less. The time has come when that trite phrase becomes witness to break-down and weary capitulation. If we are to preserve and protect, we need to be involved and vigilant.
It strikes me that most folks here in Summit County get all this. We each can help to spread this message because we understand the treasures that we seek to protect. There is some hope that we may succeed.
Rabbi Joel Schwartzman
Mobilize or get out
The very serious issue of Russia's meddling with our Democratic Process (and the processes of other of our allies around the world) is being diffused and diluted by some Republicans who want to make the investigation of it (required for the security of our nation) appear as a partisan circus, and focusing the press (and us) on "shenanigans" and "fake news" while, in a clandestine setting, they are stealing our health care, our public education, our national monuments and even trying to corrupt our judicial system.
American people, wake up. We have not historically been an oligarchy like Russia. We have had a stable system of law and government that should withstand the whims of a less-than-stable leader. We need to pay attention now and mobilize our Senators and Congressmen to do the right thing for Americans or we need to work to vote them out.
Our immigrant community
In late May, the Summit County Council passed a proclamation declaring June as Immigrant Heritage Month. As someone that works closely with our immigrant community, I'm personally very proud of our council members for standing with our immigrant brothers and sisters.
As the proclamation itself notes, it's easy to overlook the contributions that immigrants make to our county and state. In the 2nd congressional district, immigrants make up 12 percent of our entertainment, accommodations and food services industry, nearly 10 percent of employees in the construction trade, and 10 percent of the manufacturing sector. These immigrant neighbors are a vital part of our community and our economy, and it would be devastating to Summit County if we forget that.
Our county council has a strong record of standing up for immigrants and refugees. Back in 2009, the council passed a resolution opposing a state law that deputized the county's police officers as immigration agents. The large majority of people in this county are concerned citizens who want to help the immigrants who are here in so many ways. Once again, this proclamation recognizing Immigrant Heritage Month makes it clear that Summit County is a welcoming community that honors the contributions of all its residents, whether they were born here or not. It makes me proud to live here.
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