Letters to the Editor: June 15, 2020

Information serves as Democratic bulwark

The benefits and responsibilities of living in a democracy include identifying and discussing government’s shortcomings. However, “us versus them” rhetoric, as used by Michelle Melendez and others when criticizing government, can weaken the rights of the collective “We the People.” That includes undermining the benefits of having strong health and safety regulations that protect citizens from nature’s wild forces and industry’s bad actors.

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COVID-19 is a new (aka “novel”) virus. For Gov. David Ige or any official to try to outguess or outrun the latest science by jumping into an “all clear,” bring ‘em in fast and furious mode during a pandemic that’s still peaking in other parts of our country and the world would be like condoning en masse Russian roulette.

And for anyone who thinks it would be awesome to let restaurants do whatever they want without health and safety regulations, I suggest a visit to the Third World. There one can experience the freedoms of living in a “survival of the fittest” kind of place, where food poisoning, broken limbs, and dangerous work with meager pay are just a few of the bennies of living without government “interference” (or the right to sue). Beside being naive, laissez faire governance imperils consumers, leaving them like ancient people who relied on the death of members of their clan to discover which plants were poisonous.

As for masks, there’s far more agreement in scientific and health communities that wearing them increases protection from COVID-19 than there is information against it. Properly caring for and wearing even a lighter weight mask can help protect our society’s most vulnerable while allowing sensitive individuals to wear them for the collective good.

Determining how to best open our state is a monumental task and impossible for any individual to figure out by themselves. That’s why, in a democratic republic, citizens elect and entrust leaders to convene with experts (i.e., scientists, philosophers, economists, and educators) to gather and use the best information possible to handle dire situations in ways that will, hopefully, and in the long run, best serve us all.

Janice Palma-Glennie

Kailua-Kona

Democrats have not lost their way

I am a Democrat but I do not feel that illegal immigration is OK. I am a Democrat but I am not a member nor will I ever be a member of antifa. I am a Democrat and I have attended many peaceful demonstrations and I reject violence in any form. I am a Democrat and I believe in law and order. I am a Democrat but I have never advocated for open borders. I am a Democrat and a gun owner. I am a Democrat and I believe in America, freedom, equality for all people. I am a Democrat and I believe in the Democratic process. Yet there are those who spread lies about who we are as Democrats. There are those who claim that we have lost our way. There are those who claim that we hate America. They are wrong.

We are alarmed that a foreign power manipulated social media in order to aid a presidential election in our country. We are alarmed that military weapons are easily purchased by civilians then turned against us in mass killings in our schools, colleges, places of business, and churches. We are alarmed at the uncontrolled capitalism that only takes more and more without giving back to the employees who make their success possible. Those who believe in unregulated capitalism fail to see that it leads to autocracy and a world of haves and have nots. Those who believe that socialism is bad fail to see how social programs have helped so many in the U.S. I seriously doubt that they would willingly give up their Social Security, Medicare, national highways, schools and many other daily aspects of our lives.

No. The Democrats have not lost their way. I’m not so sure about the party of Trump. The former Republican Party that now wants to use the American military to “dominate” the largely peaceful demonstrations against the plague of police brutality against people of color. Some people need to take a hard look into their mirrors before they start pointing fingers. This is not a time for finger pointing. Now is the time to remember a man named George Floyd who died needlessly at the hands of the Minneapolis police and finally make long over due changes in how law enforcement operates.

John Pierce

Waikoloa

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