Union Democrat staff

Complex issues

To the editor:

On Sunday, March 28, Sonora showed its true colors. People of all political persuasions turned out to welcome our Vietnam veterans home. Many tears were shed by onlookers and marchers alike. The energy on Washington Street was high, joyous and profound. I was deeply moved to see my husband, David Roberson, neighbor, Hubert Culpepper, former classmates, Ron Njirich and Tom McHenry, and, as my mother used to say, "all my friends who I don't even know" receiving the long-overdue healing affirmation of their community and their nation.

Monday's article and photographs brought back the warm feelings - until, that is, the astonishing statement that the cause of veterans' disaffection was "terrible treatment at the hands of anti-war protesters."

Dumping blame on one group is divisive and also untrue. This issue is complex and highly individual. For example, when my husband arrived here to buy land and settle, he was told by a local real estate agent, a conservative hawk, that "we don't want your kind here."

Two more local businessmen turned him away before Ruth Eichelberger graciously aided in the purchase of a home. At that time, he was weeks out of Vietnam and the recipient, among other commendations, of the Bronze Star.

Let us remember that those who disparaged Vietnam veterans were of all political stripes. More importantly, they were individuals who did not represent the highest standards of any group of which they were a part. Cross-threaded personalities exist in all political, religious and social situations.

What Sonora demonstrated on March 28 was that such people do not represent the true and grateful heart of our community and our nation.

Suzan Still


Health reform concerns

To the editor:

After reading Chuck Holland's March 31 letter, I felt I had to respond.

Many people of all political persuasions are concerned with this massive and expensive bill. We know that Medicare and MediCal are in deep financial trouble, but rather than fixing those problems, we are expanding the area of responsibility with a new complex plan that will require hundreds of new IRS agents to enforce. Are we really contemplating sending people to jail for not buying insurance? Surely, that isn't constitutional.

Extending the federal insurance programs for the poor (MediCal) and elderly (Medicare) were options that would be less revolutionary and easier to understand. Both programs are in financial distress, but those problems can be resolved. I understand that part of the bill promises to cut billions in waste from the Medicare program. How will that be accomplished?

The Obama bill doesn't go into full effect for several years. Which raises the question, why the rush? Why so many pages and complexity?

As we learn more, it seems that many earmarks were passed out to reluctant supporters, adding to the cost. So a secretive, complex process that only had Democratic supporters, many of whom demanded and received payoffs, does raise suspicion.

Why were the rules that apply to most of us not applied to union members? Why aren't all state and federal employees switched over into this new plan?

So I am concerned and unhappy with the process and the product. I have no intention of becoming violent, but I will exercise my right as an American to speak up and press for changes.

James Gallno