Union Democrat staff

Telling questions

To the editor:

The "you lie" outburst and the Kanye West debacle have gathered national attention, and perhaps will have the effect of infusing more maturity and tolerance into our daily discourse. But these unfortunate incidents are only the latest manifestation of a much greater and pervasive trend in our political and cultural move toward intolerance and mean-spirited expression.

Do we want our children to believe that angry verbal assault represents a superior set of behaviors than respect and decency?

That a reasonable idea should be shot (or shouted) down if it happens to come from someone they don't like?

That facts are irrelevant to debate as long as they can maintain their own set of opinions and beliefs?

That religion is an appropriate tool/weapon to wield to promote confusion, fear or intolerance?

That an appropriate response to "losing" (a contest or an election) is to tear down their opponent?

That workable solutions to complex, long term problems have no merit if they aren't perfect from every conceivable angle?

That if the status quo works OK for them, there is no reason to improve it for others who don't fare nearly as well?

That the same scientific methods and evolutionary processes that have enabled civilization to progress in countless, beneficial ways are suddenly suspect if they lead to theories that suggest changes are in order in what they believe or do?

That they should fear what they don't understand rather than seeking to learn more?

That compromise is bad, and divisiveness is constructive?

If these are the learnings we wish to impart to upcoming generations, we're doing a pretty effective job.

Mark A. Nelson


Stranger rides in

To the editor:

Among the legends of the West, none is better-known that that of the steely-eyed stranger riding into town to confront evil-doers. "Ah'm gonna get those no-good varmints, folks"

You'll be delighted to learn that the stranger has reappeared in our midst, this time to rescue little Angels Camp from the perils of economic collapse. He's short and green, more bug-eyed than steely-eyed, and he's wearing a backpack, not a six-shooter. Yes, he's a frog.

Our unlikely hero is the product of the BLT - no, not the sandwich: the Branding Leadership Team. This group of well-meaning individuals sincerely believes that Angels Camp can rise from economic despair and become the base for youthful Sierran outdoor recreation, all through the efforts of (Froggy) Stranger.

This belief is steadfastly maintained despite three realities: 1. There are no outdoor recreation stores in Angels Camp (Calaveras Lumber notwithstanding). 2. Outdoor recreation is miles away. 3. The county's citizenry is better-aged than a fine wine.

As the legend's plot line requires, the stranger must first win the approval of the city fathers. Done. The Angels Camp City Council has budgeted $16,000 to fund the rescue. And that's just the down payment.

We have yet to see exactly how our heroic amphibian is going to rescue Angels. The more cynical among us would say the reason he's wearing a backpack is to carry his lunch when he's out looking for work. Shame on you. The Stranger who rides (hops) into town always accomplishes the impossible. We may not know how he's going to do it, but we must not let incredulity (or cost) stand in the way.

Stay tuned.

Al Lockwood

Angels Camp


To the editor:

Throughout his political career, President Obama has advocated a single-payer universal health care program.

As a state senator in Illinois, Obama told the Hyde Park Herald that he has been one of the leaders in the movement for single-payer system. This was on Oct. 10, 2002.

Another time, on March 24, 2007, Obama was giving a speech to the Service Employees International Union's "New Leadership Health Care Forum." He said, "But I don't think we're going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately. I can envision a decade out or so to have single-payer government health care."

In still another speech, on May 29, 2007, he said, "The time has come for universal affordable health care in America."

Also, on Feb. 15, 2008, Obama ran a campaign ad titled, "The Obama Plan - Universal Coverage For All Americans."

On Aug. 11, 2009, Obama said, "I have not said that I was a single-payer supporter."

These are all documented quotes from the omnipotent one.

He continued his distortions last Wednesday when he said health care reform will not cost a dime and that the money will come from stopping fraudulent claims in Medicare and Medicaid.

If this is true, why wait four years when this reform takes place? Start today.

We need health care reform, but it should be done in a bipartisan fashion.

In conclusion, I have worked very hard for over 30 years to get my medical coverage.

I have had two hips replaced, and back surgery. All these injuries were attributed to being a telephone lineman for most of my working years.

Please leave my medical coverage alone. I am not looking for anybody's sympathy.

Bill Guenza



To the editor:

I am dismayed that Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana, wants us to pay a fine of $3,800 if we don't sign up for his Insurance Industry health plan. What a rip off. No public option, which would at least give some competition to the health insurance industry.

Dr. Stephen Rovno