Union Democrat staff

Members needed

To the editor:

I am a volunteer at the Humane Society of Tuolumne County.

I am so impressed with the love and care the animals receive at this facility. The kennels are clean, the animals are fed excellent food, they are neutered and spayed, they receive their shots, are walked numerous times daily and are screened for heart worm. The animals are also evaluated for behavior and personality. The very limited staff is friendly and members' devotion to the animals is evident in everything they do.

Because of the economy, the donations to the Humane Society have dropped considerably. It is solely supported by donations. We cannot afford to let the Society close its doors due to lack of money.

Animals have such a positive physical and emotional impact on people of all ages, experiences and circumstances. Animals contribute to our health, happiness, wellness and vitality.

Please become a member so the Humane Society can continue to operate and continue to save these wonderful creatures. Please don't let them down. The Humane Society is at 10040 Victoria Way in Jamestown and its phone number is 984-5489.

Doryene Rapini


Single payer

To the editor:

I think I know why many people resist health care reform.

Our system is the only one most Americans have ever known. After World War II, England opted for socialized medicine. America considered it, and chose not to do it. Private insurance filled the need. At that time health care costs were relatively low, and our economy was strong. Employers could easily offer health insurance to attract employees. Insurance for everyone was affordable and available.

But in recent years health care costs have skyrocketed. Many employers are dropping insurance coverage, and many other people cannot get or afford insurance. Private health insurance can no longer meet the health care needs of America. No amount of "tinkering" will fix this system. That is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, and hoping it will keep the ship from sinking.

Although 47 million Americans are uninsured, 200 million are covered by private insurance. These people receive health care when they need it - so far. But people lose health insurance every day. Insurance companies continue to raise premiums and water down coverage to exclude costs, which fall on the insured. People are dropped from coverage when they get sick. This is all pretty well known. Resisting reform is like a passenger on the Titanic asking, "Why should I get in the lifeboat? It's warmer in my stateroom."

But we are all in the same boat. It's called the American society. Private health insurance, the system we now have and know, has to go. The only system that will work today is tax-based universal coverage - what goes by the name of single-payer.

Phil Nichols


Politics and religion

To the editor:

We can all agree that the preservation of life is the number one instinct of man.

A real problem exists for clergy and politicians, as well as our fellow believers, to connect all the moral issues. Abortion is the hot topic and deals with the appreciation of the value of life. To be consistent, the appreciation of the value of life must be all inclusive. It must be considered in all issues, including health care for all, economic recovery, poverty, immigration, the environment, war, racism, and others. As an example, I know fellow believers who are anti-abortion, but seem to have no empathy or compassion for the lives of poor or marginal people.

To pick one or the other of these moral issues and make it exclusive, as many do, especially in our two party system, indicates moral relativism, and this leads to skepticism of all issues involved. This skepticism stifles politicians and the clergy, as well as fellow believers. Thus, discussion ends and dialogue is nonexistent.

Relativism and skepticism can cause division and derision in families and among fellow believers, and they become confused looking for answers. Unfortunately, many turn to the biased media for answers.

It is time for everyone to question who we are and what we believe. My gift of faith tells me to keep it simple and to love God and my neighbor as myself. To be vital, this faith must be accompanied by self sacrifice and unselfish constructive action toward the preservation of life for all.

Tom Besmer