Monday November 12, 2018
Difficulties faced by Kutztown University students raise concerns.
It was frustrating to read "KU students say they were barred from voting" (Reading Eagle, Nov. 9). Whether the problem was the result of an error on the part of election officials or a voter suppression scheme, it illustrates why Pennsylvania needs to reform its voter registration and election systems. It should not be this hard to vote.
Our elected officials must make every effort to simplify the voter registration and election processes. Every eligible citizen should be allowed to cast a ballot without complications.
Election laws should promote voter engagement with no-excuse absentee ballots, early voting and same-day voter registration. The League of Women Voters of Berks County encourages everyone to contact their state legislators to demand a simplified registration and election system.
We feel for the students whose right to vote was denied on Election Day, and we feel their frustration about the confusing and complicated process. The league remains committed to its mission to assist and educate Berks County's voters. Kutztown University officials who acknowledge gaps in voter education can help by requiring that all students take a course in U.S. history or American government. We encourage all Berks colleges and universities to do the same.
Editor's note: Greene is president of the League of Women Voters of Berks County.
Registering, voting must be made easier
Friday November 9, 2018
Employers must do better at treating sexes equally when it comes to wages.
U.S. businesses can be very unfair when it comes to wages for men and women. Men and women should receive equal pay if they do the same work right. But according to the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, men get paid about 20 percent more than women for doing the same work. According to nationalpartnership.org, women in Pennsylvania on average are paid 79 cents for every dollar men earn. Women of color get paid even less. For every dollar a man would earn on average, a Hispanic woman would get 56 cents, and African-American women would earn 68 cents to the dollar.
Women should earn the same amount as men. It is unfair that women who have children and families are not given the equality to provide for them. If the wage gap didn't exist, women who are employed would have an easier time living and being able to provide for themselves and their families.
America falls short on pay for women
Wednesday November 7, 2018
Slogan can be frightening or inspiring depending on how it is used.
Before he became the beloved Dr. Seuss, Theodor Geisel was a political cartoonist. A poster he created in 1940 depicts a fat man joined by a common beard to a thin man. On the fat man's chest is a swastika. On that of his twin is the motto "America First," a political movement that had as its figurehead Charles Lindbergh, a notorious anti-Semite and Nazi sympathizer.
The slogan "America First" has been used in various contexts for more than a century. At its best, it can reflect the noblest aspirations of our nation. At its darkest, it denotes xenophobia, racial hatred and white supremacy. It was used in the 1920s by President Warren G. Harding, who created the most corrupt regime in American history. Until now.
Now President Donald Trump's regime mixes corruption with cruelty. His "America First" is one of political tribalism and assault on the rule of law and the free press. He bellows this in a toxic stew of racially charged rhetoric and lies. His authoritarian traits can be found in abundance in the works of William Shakespeare. Read Stephen Greenblatt's book "Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics." With such traits, fascism cannot be far behind.
We must affirm "America First" at its best. It must be America first in benevolence, in embracing the stranger, in welcoming the asylum seeker, in defending the rule of law and the press, in celebrating the rich, multicultural dimensions of American society. Only then can we make America great again.
Thomas B. Souders
Make America first in all the right ways
Tuesday November 6, 2018
Barrier unlikely to dissuade people from coming to U.S. for a better life.
Construction of a border wall is a beacon, not a barrier, to refugees and emigrants seeking a better life in America. It will stand as a compass heading to our neighbors. For me it symbolizes the ongoing dysfunction in neighboring countries and at home. I suggest that the millions spent on building walls and deploying troops does nothing permanent to address the needs of many seeking solace under the flag of our country.
We need to facilitate a conversation that seeks corrections that will rejuvenate our neighboring countries. We must remember that we are a nation built on immigration. The message is engraved on a plaque at the Statue of Liberty: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."
There are so many stories of families whose call was answered by our nation's promises. So, let's not be the sad generation. Let's invest in understanding how all nations can be great and a home for those in need.
The Cold War was symbolized by a great wall dividing East and West Germany. As the Soviets found out, this was not a sustainable solution against those yearning for freedom and prosperity.
Wall is not solution to immigration issue
Friday November 2, 2018
Many make clear that they stand against hate.
Words alone cannot express the Jewish community's gratitude to the broader Berks County community for their support and presence at Tuesday evening's prayer vigil for the victims of the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. More than 800 people came out to express their shock and revulsion at this terrible hate crime. Today, when all too often, people are divided, it was amazing and of great importance to see our community stand united. The outpouring of support and comfort was a reminder that the Jewish community of Berks County does not stand alone.
On behalf of Reform Congregation Oheb Sholom, Kesher Zion Synagogue, the Chabad Center of Berks County and the Jewish Federation of Reading/Berks, may Tuesday's service be the last one necessary in any house of worship in our community or our world.
Rabbi Brian Michelson
Editor's note: Michelson is spiritual leader of Reform Congregation Oheb Sholom, Wyomissing.
Jewish community grateful for support
Friday November 2, 2018
Claims that his nasty rhetoric aren't influencing people are at odds with his actions.
President Donald Trump declares he bears no blame for influencing the pipe bomb sender, the murderer of two black men in a Kentucky grocery store or the killer of 11 Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue. If he truly believes that his words don't influence people, then why does he keep on talking? Why give all those inflammatory campaign speeches if he's not influencing people?
Administration adviser Kellyanne Conway said the ones who do influence people are late-night comedians.
Trump is sending thousands of people from our military to the Mexican border, adding to the National Guard and Border Patrol already there, to defend us against the so-called caravan. It's pathetic that so many of us are afraid of a few thousand bedraggled and exhausted migrants, largely women and children, who are still far from the border, while right-wing terrorists are the ones actually killing Americans.
It's a mystery to me how so many of those who call themselves Christians can support this president and totally ignore all of Christ's teachings, especially about the rich and the poor, and kindness to strangers.
Why does Trump keep on talking?
Friday November 2, 2018
Plan being considered by administration is an outrage.
It's outrageous. In an attempt to rid the country of transgender people, the Trump administration is considering requiring that the law identify people based on their sex at birth. If your 23rd pair of chromosomes are XX, a person is a male, and if they are XY, the person is female. This is not based on science.
Science tells us that a substantial number of people do not fit into this category. Those with Klinefelter syndrome have an XXY, those with Turner syndrome have just an X, and then there is triple X syndrome. All of these possibilities are part of our species. They certainly could not be classified as male or female based on the 23rd set of chromosomes. This fact becomes evident with a quick internet search. There are people with both male and female sex organs. Usually one organ is present but not functional.
Most importantly, it is recognized by proven science that the brain and body do not necessarily align to the same sex. It is certainly possible for some people to have a brain that has masculinized while the body feminizes. The opposite is also true. A person can be XX and still feel they are a female because that's the way the brain matured. Transgender people are not freaks. They are part of the human species. Eternal shame on this president and his administration.
Proposal would hurt transgender people
Friday November 2, 2018
Editorial on deficit goes after wrong target.
I agree with the headline of your Oct. 27 editorial ("Federal deficit spending during a boom is bad policy"). I don't agree with its conclusion that "ordering government services and sending the bill to our children and grandchildren is a shameful habit we must break." Government services are not a shameful habit.
The editorial does not mention the most expensive part of the GOP tax reduction package: the personal tax cuts. Newsweek reported that the tax cut has disproportionately benefited the richest citizens, and that by 2025 a quarter of the benefits will go to the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans and 64 percent to the top 20 percent of earners.
The shameful habit we must break is not the ordering of services but the shameful practice of giving more tax breaks to the very rich. Reversing these tax breaks would allow us to afford government services, including Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.
Government services not a shameful habit
Wednesday October 31, 2018
Many Americans voted for President Donald Trump because they thought he was a good businessman. In fact, his businesses went bankrupt numerous times, and he left his banks and vendors holding the bag. Trump said Mexico would pay for his border wall. It won’t, and now he wants the American taxpayer to foot the bill. He said he would replace the Affordable Care Act with something better and cheaper. It did need work, but Republicans refused to make the needed changes to it, and they never did come up with anything better or cheaper to replace it. He said he would pass a great tax cut, but the one he produced went primarily to the wealthy and corporations.
We all have made mistakes, such as failed marriages or trusting a salesman who lied. Normally we learn from them. His supporters gave Trump a chance. It’s time put a check on his incompetent behavior. For the sake of the country, vote straight Democratic in this election.
Voters can put check on Trump's behavior
Tuesday October 30, 2018
It's time to let our votes speak for us.
As President Donald Trump stirs his cauldron of fear, violence, division and hatred, I have tears and anger. Good people of this country want to live in a safe, nonviolent place where people are not shot while shopping, threatened by bombs or slaughtered while praying. Seeing the results of hatred and how it hurts is telling us to eliminate the senseless racism and hatred that has taken hold. Words from politicians more interested in holding their seats of power than taking care of us must be questioned.
It’s time to decide for ourselves what is right. There can be no gain for anyone when senseless hate and fear dominate a nation. Those who think the enemy is the immigrant approaching our borders should think twice. The enemy of our people is the divisiveness within our borders.
Those who have cheered divisiveness at Trump’s carnival-like rallies should remember: The ringmaster has the power to take away their rights. Can we really continue to support a guy who under the mantel of “Make America Great Again” is tearing at the nation’s very fiber, making America worse?
Our vote has always spoken louder than our guns. Perhaps now is the most important time to use it.
Doris Gallippi Heckman
President's words keep dividing nation