Letters to the editor: June 7, 2016
Then and now
Congressman Greg Walden seems to fly below the radar, saying one thing and doing another. Case in point: Last December Walden declared of Donald Trump, "This is nor what we're about as a party, and this is not what we're about as a country, and we cannot yield to this."
That was then and this is now. Walden has changed his mind (as seems to be the fashion in the Republican party). Yielding, he now supports Trump ... hoping no one is paying attention.
The human condition
This past weekend I had the opportunity to participate in a significant event, well organized by Councilor Carol Voisin. The focus was on a group of persons who live on streets or in the woods, without homes or resources. Some keep a dog for comfort and companionship. These persons were invited to attend and to respond to questions that were systematically developed.
I am a retired psychiatrist who, in the past, worked among the poorest and those with severe mental illness. I think that it is obvious to all that many on the streets are contending with major mental illness, mainly schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. I would like to add to those disorders an often overlooked and frequently incapacitating condition, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which doesn't only occur in those who have served in the military.
Often, it is not recognized in children who may continue to experience problems into adulthood and have compromised and for some, limited, life possibilities. We face the complexities of some of our citizens — highly visible, some provocative, not yet contributing, providing an enigma for the town.
At the same time that we search for ways to address the complexities of the human condition and assist and train those who function as first responders to these persons, I would like to use a word contributed by one of our attendees: "Compassion!" Consider, "How may I be of help?"
May I end with the following:
"To generalize is to be an idiot.
Particularization is the alone distinction of merit."
— William Blake
"'Them' is the most dangerous word in the English language."
Joel S. Feiner, M.D.
Climate change irony
No two states have more elected political representatives who are confirmed climate-change deniers than do Texas and Oklahoma. (Being dependent on campaign contributions from fossil fuel interests for one's political life can have such an effect!)
How ironic is it, then, that both these states are being slammed by extreme, unprecedented climate events, one of the consequences of global warming predicted by scientists whose careers are focused on studying earth's evolving climate. How long will it be before these states' politicians catch up with the rest of the civilized world and recognize the realities of climate change, and its causes? Their constituents deserve no less.
Climate affects all
The essence of conservatism is conserving, a view several Republican House members have taken to heart. Many live in eastern seaboard states and recognize the danger posed to their constituents by rising ocean levels. Florida’s eastern cities are finding that high tides, not just storms, bring coastal flooding.
So it’s not surprising to find that Florida House Republicans have been among the first to acknowledge the global warming problem and form the House Climate Solutions Caucus. Because any House member joining the caucus must bring one member of the other party, this is a solidly bipartisan group. It now contains 16 members.
This caucus is backing HR424. This resolution states, “it is a conservative principle to protect, conserve, and be good stewards of our environment,” and “the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review states that the effects of a changing climate are ‘threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions.’” HR424 encourages “Expressing the commitment of the House of Representatives to conservative environmental stewardship.”
Addressing global warming is now a genuine bipartisan interest. Oregon Rep. Greg Walden and other conservatives should reconsider any opposition to such action they once might have had.