Letters to the Editor - Jan. 19


Published: Monday, January 19, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 18, 2009 at 4:29 p.m.

Yes we can

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“Yes we can,” remarks President-elect Barack Obama. Perhaps we can now more readily express our true nature of goodness, oneness, and compassion personally and through our institutions.

The New England sage, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) sums up the underlying dynamic of the emerging new paradigm. “What is a man born for, but to be a reformer, a re-maker of what man has made; a renouncer of lies; and a restorer of truth and good, imitating that great nature which embraces us all?”

Our compassion does not exist unless it is engaged. We are now being called by humanity’s collective karma to stand up and work for the common good. It is time to embrace the fact there is far more that unites humanity than divides us.

Yes we can in our own ways and through our institutions implement mitigation of the damage we have done to each other and to the biosphere of the Earth and prepare to adapt to what lies before us.

On the road to shaping an alternative, let us respond with a time-honored socialist insight, namely that “I” only exists within a “we” and that unless we look out for everyone, no one is secure.

William Gilbert,

Gainesville

Obama’s costly bash

It was all over European press on Wednesday that the Obama Inauguration expenses are well over $150 million. Obama is said to have raised over $30 million to apply toward the cost.

It is rather interesting that the folks who raised those funds are none other than the folks on Wall Street that are benefiting from the bailout. The taxpayers will foot the rest of the bill.

Isn’t it interesting that the Gainesville Sun has said nothing about this, nor has the New York Times? Had this been Bush spending the money, it would have been front page negative headlines.

Bush spent $40 million four years ago, and the Democrats screamed like crazy!

It is really disgusting to me, with today’s economy, that so many of our tax dollars are being spent on this. If Obama really cared about the American people, he would have wanted this money spent elsewhere. There are an incredible amount of programs in this country that could have used these funds more wisely.

In the same vain, why is it only one local politician has come out and announced she is paying her own way to the inauguration? Are we, as taxpayers, paying for the others, when our local coffers appear to be empty as well?

Heaven help America. Where are we headed with all of this ridiculous spending?

Sharon Smith,

Gainesville

Helping each other

These days we all are feeling the effects of the nation’s economic problems. Hardest hit are the most vulnerable in our town.

While visiting family in Fort Myers, I witnessed an interesting and encouraging way a large corporation is helping address the needs of the local community it serves. I was shopping with my son in a Publix supermarket and heard the manager cheerfully encouraging shoppers to buy and donate a bag of food to the local food bank.

This reminder was enough to turn a thought of “I should buy a bag for the needy” into an action. When we placed the bag in the very large, nearly full donation box she rang a bell, gave us a hearty “Thank You, Happy Holidays!” and the cashiers applauded.

I later found out that their area Publix stores often have contests to collect the most donations in a month and the winning store’s prize is a pizza party for the employees.

What a great way to encourage people to help others and to get staff involved. It would be a wonderful thing if our Gainesville grocery stores would start a similar tradition. Sometimes a gentle reminder is all it takes to turn a good intention into a good deed.

Some other great ways to help are to donate clean, usable blankets, jackets, toiletries, towels and laundry soap to the St. Francis House or the helping Hands Clinic in the Methodist Church on NE 4th Street. If we all do a little a lot gets done.

Karen Epple,

Gainesville

Maine’s elections

A slight correction to your Jan. 16 editorial about awarding presidential electoral votes according to proportion of the popular vote: Contrary to what you say, Maine does not follow this system.

Maine has four electoral votes (two senators and two congressional districts). It awards the winner in each congressional district the electoral vote (one) for that district. It awards the other two votes to the statewide winner of the election.

So, though it is possible for the state’s electoral vote to be split (because a losing candidate could win in one congressional district), in no case is the vote based on the proportion to the popular vote.

In 2008, Barak Obama won in both congressional districts and won the statewide vote and thus was awarded the entire four votes.

Robert R. Sherman,

Gainesville

A time to tax

It is way past time that the government, state or federal, needs to raise taxes on the following: alcohol, tobacco, firearms and gasoline.

These taxes would be paid by everyone across the board so no one group would be able to say they are paying taxes to benefit the other group.

These taxes should be used for education, health care and infrastructure programs that would benefit everyone by having an educated and healthy society, safe roads and bridges.

Failure to do so would result in a dumbing down of society, health care on its deathbed and an undermined infrastructure.

As Barack Obama has said “failure to do so is not an option”.

John Davies,

Gainesville

Correction:

Ron Cunningham’s column of Jan. 18 said the city of Gainesville expects to meet carbon reduction goals set by the Kyoto protocols by 2030. In fact, the city expects to meet those targets by 2013.

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