A century of science
In 1900, the infant mortality rate in the U.S. was 16.5 percent. In 2000, it was 0.7% and falling. At the beginning of the 20th century, the average life span was 47 years and today it is 79. We didn't suddenly get healthier by magic and begin living longer by accident or divine intervention. The reason is the virtual elimination of every childhood disease, things like smallpox, cholera, diphtheria, typhoid fever, measles, mumps, polio, tuberculosis, tetanus, etc.
How did we come so far so quickly? Through tireless efforts of doctors and scientists and by educating the public on how to avoid these diseases with the use of vaccines, proper hygiene and personal protective equipment. Without these efforts many of us would not be here today, nor would we be enjoying the quality of life so many take for granted. I applaud our doctors and scientists, but I also applaud our leaders and our people who had the foresight to follow the recommendations and guidelines set forth by doctors and scientists.
Today, I am amazed at Americans who ignore advice on how to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Was it our government leadership, our community ethos or our common sense that led us to follow good advice and lead happier and healthier lives in the past? Probably a combination. What is it today that prevents us from doing the same? Why have we suddenly turned our backs on the science and research that brought us so far? Why do so many refuse to follow the advice our doctors and scientists are giving us about COVID-19? A lack of leadership from the top down.
John G. Anthony
Not wearing masks 'murder'
So wear a mask, don't wear a mask; our government from local, state, and federal have failed "We The People" during this COVID-19 event. We will remember when it comes time to vote.
You may not be able to enforce masks. But no one has a right to put my life or anyone else's life in danger by choosing to not wear a mask. That is murder, plain and simple and that is against the law. At least I know who to start suing first, Mr. City Manager.
Reading last Sunday's paper, it was refreshing to see Hot Springs city board of directors taking care of the real priorities of taxpayers.
First, on the front page, District 1 representative Erin Holliday, who apparently is an artist, curator, or something of the like, spoke about a "hate crime" resolution she is bringing before the board. First of all, a resolution is worth the weight of the paper it's printed on. Hate crime is law for the state legislation to take up, and anything else is mere grandstanding to get one's name in the paper.
Then, in the letters to the editor, Holliday and District 3 representative Becca Clark signed their names to a group representing some sort of LGBTQ community. I know what a BLT is -- a good sandwich. I don't know who or what these LGBTQ people are or how they got that way. Nonetheless, I wish them good luck, but I take issue with Holliday and Clark using their time and resources to address what are basically non-issues affecting less than 1% of the city population.
What I would like, and what taxpayers have failed to receive in recent years, is some action on things that do affect every taxpaying resident: terrible city street conditions, a growing crime rate, a flood abatement plan, and a fiscally responsible financial plan for a city government that seems to want to issue bonds (debt incurred to taxpayers) for every pet project that comes down the road.
I urge everyone to vote in November. If you think this current group is improving Hot Springs, by all means, vote to keep them in office. From my vantage point, they're not getting the job done.
Part of the problem
With Democrats proposing ludicrous ideas such as open borders, guaranteed universal income, free college, reparations, etc., I'd love nothing more than to rejoin the Republican Party. With their constant pandering to social hysteria such as Black Lives Matter and the LGBTQ movement, their open endorsement of rioting in the streets and destruction of monuments and erasing of history, Democrats are practically begging me to leave them. I hypothesize, but suspect, many normal Americans feel the same way.
Yet the Republican party of today is not one I care to embrace. It's devoid of the Ronald Reagans, the John Kasiches, the Jack Kemps of old. Bob Dole is not walking through that door. It's a party dictated by the ego, power, and corruption of one man, Donald Trump. It's a party rife with corruption, where at least 11 members of Trump's own administration have either been indicted or convicted. The Republican Party of today is owned, lock, stock, and barrel by big business, corporate lobbyists, banks, and Wall Street. It's a party devoid of empathy for the middle class, and just like the Democrats, only interested in fomenting division and conflict between classes, genders, and races of Americans. And that includes our own Arkansas delegation, like Tom Cotton and Bruce Westerman. They've become puppets and pawns to Trump and a handful of billion dollar corporations, blind to the destruction of our economy, our environment and our values.
Bruce Westerman, in his initial run for Congress, promised to reign in reckless spending. Yet our deficit has since grown by almost $8 trillion, the vast majority in reckless corporate tax cuts and subsidies that have proved to benefit only the wealthiest 1%.
So with a heavy heart, I will go to the voting booth this November and do two things: vote for Joe Biden and against any incumbent that is on my ballot, regardless of party. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. And in my opinion, to vote any other way this fall would be the worse of the alternative choices.
Gunnery Sgt. Ron Collins, USMC retired
Keeping voters safe
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on all of our lives is clear. Even as some states begin to recover or reopen, many of us are still worried for the health and well-being of our families, friends, and colleagues.
But I'm also worried about the impact this crisis will have on our elections. After seeing how it impacted elections already this year in places like Wisconsin and Georgia, I'm concerned the pandemic will jeopardize Americans' ability to vote in-person in the 2020 election.
While some states are taking steps to help people vote safely, Trump is going to great lengths to make mail-in voting seem like a voter fraud scheme -- even though Trump himself votes by mail. It is clear Congress needs to intervene and focus on what's best for the American people in every state: expanding vote-by-mail and other voting options.
To keep voters safe, we need our representatives in the House and Senate to provide states with emergency funding to ensure that every eligible American can safely cast their ballot through the mail, that they can register to vote online, and that any in-person polling places are safe for voters and poll workers.
For this election especially, we must protect every eligible voter's right to have a say in who is in office. The leaders we elect in 2020 can take actions that improve the health and well-being of all Americans, OR put us all at further risk.
I'm urging McConnell and our federal legislative delegation to come together to provide relief for Americans and also ensure states have the resources they need to safeguard the 2020 election.
Nothing less than our democracy is at stake.
What's going on?
Election year politics are destroying our nation. The poorest will suffer the most! When small businesses are shut down by COVID-19 or rioting protesters, local, state and federal taxes are lost. Taxes that fund so many things, including HUD housing rentals, free medical care for the poor, food assistance for underfunded, unemployed people once called food stamps, Link Cards, and SNAP, etc.
Small businesses are famous for their charitable donations and support of food banks, shelters, food for children, and other help in so many ways for the people of their community.
Instead of thanks, they are financially under attack by the government listening to one or two "experts." If fresh air and vitamin D from the sun fight viruses and more, what's going on? We cannot shut down and shut-in forever.
On the news today, China is now battling swine flu again! I have seen for years scenes from China with full streets of people wearing masks. We have suffered through swine flu, H1N1, bird flu, avian flu, Ebola, Zika, and now COVID-19.
Owners of small and big businesses are also suffering the violent destruction of their life's work and dreams in many cities. The people that live in these neighborhoods will have to travel far or do without products and services. Citizens have lost so much! Neighborhoods have lost banks, gas stations, auto repair, low-income housing, restaurants of all types, barber and beauty shops, electronic and phone stores, nail salons, day care places, bars and liquor stores, medical clinics, gyms, grocery stores, clothing stores, jewelry stores, sports stores, movie theaters, drugstores, etc. Big cities will become ghost towns ruled and ruined by violence. Whole neighborhoods' buildings are boarded up. Beautiful cities become ugly overnight.
I have seen it and I have lived it. When I left Chicago, the population was over 8 million people. Last check a couple of years ago, it was 2.4 million. That is New York City's future. When businesses leave, jobs leave, and working taxpayers leave, America loses.
People are trying so hard to get here. They want to be Americans. They are from around the world and take great risks to get here. As a friend recently said to me, "If the U.S.A. is so bad, why are so many people from around the world trying to get here?"