Letter to the Editor: ‘Diversity of opinion’ hasn’t served US well

Two letters appeared in the Nov. 18 edition of the DSN. The last paragraph of the first letter is worth repeating. “I believe it is through diversity of opinion and the subsequent internal strife it creates that this nation; often philosophically at war with itself; promotes the will of the people which has always come to the fore.” (“Republicans are on better than Democrats”) While I basically agree with this premise, the thought must be expanded upon.

The “diversity” of opinion and “internal strife” must come from honest and unselfish attempts to benefit all Americans and not from a desire to benefit a select and often wealthy few.

The previous administration, with its desire to provide essential health care to people who couldn’t afford comprehensive medical insurance, had difficulty passing the Affordable Care Act in March of 2010. This bill had flaws generally caused by compromises made to ensure its passage. The ACA did benefit many and assured those with pre-existing conditions that they would receive essential services. However, the 2010 midterm elections resulted in a Congress where one party worked to block most proposals by the minority party and the president.

The majority party made 70 attempts to kill the ACA. Many other minority proposals that would have well served our nation and its people were blocked. The “diversity” of opinion and “internal strife” during the rest of that administration worked against “the will of the people” and failed to meet the needs of many Americans.

The other letter dealt with the “Value of military service.” In my lifetime, since 1945, there have been 14 presidents. Eleven served in the military, either stateside or exposed to combat. Only Presidents Clinton, Obama and Trump have not. President Clinton did not serve due to deferments and a high number for the first Vietnam draft lottery. (I had a teaching deferment and a high lottery number also.) President Obama considered enlisting but didn’t because the U. S. wasn’t engaged in any active conflicts. President Trump avoided service in the Vietnam era for “medical reasons” due to “bone spurs.” (President Trump’s grandfather fled to the United States to avoid conscription in his native Bavaria.)

The letter writer refers to President Trump’s “sharp military salute.” This came from having been sent to New York Military Academy at age 13 after having disobeyed his wealthy parents one time too many. This does NOT constitute “military service.” The writer actually suggests that his “sharp …salute” demonstrates the deep respect he holds for our military.

However, during his campaign, Trump was recorded several times saying that he knew more than our generals. He disparaged Sen. John McCain because he was a POW. He also maligned Gold Star parents. Most recently, this is how he showed his true “respect” for those who served and died in war: while in Paris, he neither marched in the rain with the leaders of our European allies on Armistice Day nor went to the cemetery of the fallen of WWI to honor them. After returning home, he chose not to lay the traditional wreath at Arlington Cemetery on Veterans’ Day. He later blamed his non-participation on his advisers for not telling him that such avoidances might encourage criticism. He repeatedly refuses to accept responsibility for his poor decisions.

The “diversity of opinion and … internal strife” of these past 10 years has not promoted “…the will of the people…” It has been manipulated to create serious and extreme divisions within the Congress and the nation. The president’s inheritance enabled him to amass wealth and notoriety. Despite his military school experience, he did not adopt the military’s code of selfless service to all — quite the contrary. Even on his television show he acted as an autocrat.

As he campaigned, he bragged that he would be the only president to make money while in office. Keep in mind that the lodging costs for his family, the Secret Service and invited dignitaries at his Mar-a-Lago resort as well as in his Trump hotel in Washington are paid for with OUR taxes. This assures a direct personal financial gain for the president.

The words spoken and tweeted by this president reek of sexism, bigotry, racism, xenophobia and white supremacy. They have provoked too many otherwise intelligent people to feel that they can speak and act against the diversity that has made America a nation to be respected and admired.

Our reputation has been diminished during the past two years. I feel that POTUS words reflect an ignorance of the value of others, other than those of his inner circle. We must, as good people, replace his ignorance and lies with respect and compassion. I can only hope that, with the diversity coming to the House of Representatives in January, we can regain a spirit of one America.

Alan Gaddis

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