To The Daily Sun,
Over the past many years I have rather come to doubt the sustainability of newspaper print in modern times. It would seem, given the computerization of information-sharing, that paper-print is a fading industry. However The Laconia Daily Sun has made me a believer again and so I feel the need to express why I believe it is so.
As a marriage and family counselor by trade, I have found the instantaneous broadcast of every place's problems into our living rooms (the Middle East, Africa, Soviet Union, China, Sri Lanka, Ferguson, etc.) to be a major contributor to the anxiety/fear that so many of us wrestle with today. We have come to see the world as a dangerous place and so we distrust each other and live in fear of the future.
Many of the same crises exist in our hometowns, granted, but the daily opportunity to hear about everyone else's hometown problems can be overwhelming. The irony is that nearly every Lakes Region home is aware of the problems of thousands of people thousands of miles away, people we cannot touch or in any grand way impact, but oftentimes we do not know the issues facing our neighbors whose license plates we can read from our kitchen windows.
The Laconia Daily Sun does not help me know my neighbor as I ought, but it does give me enough information about my touchable community that I can do something to impact it if I so desire. I appreciate this about The Daily Sun.
Secondly, the Laconia Daily Sun is a community unifier. Go anywhere in town and you can find a copy. If one store does not have a copy the person walking on the sidewalk is holding one for you to read. Reading The Daily Sun is something for which the phrase "everyone's doing it" accurately applies. Not "everyone" of course, but enough people to make it feel like it is a community endeavor.
Lastly, and most importantly in my mind, The Laconia Daily Sun permits both sides to speak. I have lost confidence in the major news stations available today. CNN clearly points its viewers to see the world from one side only, even going so far as to demonize the other. Likewise, FOX News acts as though it sees the whole truth, all the while leaving rocks unturned for its viewers.
Because of the stark polarization in the news media many people just don't listen to them anymore. But with Tthe Laconia Daily Sun I hear both sides — at least as it pertains to the Letters to the Editor section. The Letters to the Editor section can include heated debate between neighbors for sure. In some few cases one side even demonizes the other. But as far as I can tell each side gets a voice in The Daily Sun. To read some of the Letters to the Editor is to conclude that The Daily Sun clearly does not censor its contributors, and for this I am thrilled.
If this circumstance changes, if one side alone is heard — if the right, the left, the religious or the non are not allowed their voices, but only, say, the left, I shall take back all of my above comments and perhaps never read again. But thus far the debates go on and so they should.
A humble observation for all of us as we continue to contribute to The Laconia Daily Sun — our paper — we are all part of the world-problem, me too. The quicker we confess this the better. As a religious man I once thought I knew it all. It took me five years to go to college and five years to get over it. Now I am sold on a small collection of simple truths and it is these that daily direct my thoughts and actions. Here is one of those truths that I think potently applicable to all. I am in need of as much mercy and grace as the Lord Jesus Christ is willing to extend me. I need no less than anyone else, even than those I vehemently disagree with. I got into trouble years prior when I thought I needed less mercy than others. I could not see any truth in anything the other side said for I was blinded by my own pride. I still hold many of those same convictions I held back then but I hold them without the pride — or at least with less pride than before.
Consequently I can now dialogue with different others and not demonize them for not thinking like me. But I can't dialogue with someone who thinks they know it all, and, in my opinion, both sides today think they know it all. Let us as a community take seriously Jesus' words that "unless (we) repent (we) will ALL likewise perish" (Luke 13:3). That includes me. If you respond, "repent of what sir?!" I trust time will reveal that to you as it did for me.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 December 2014 11:41
To The Daily Sun,
A recent Virginia Tech study revealed that your political persuasion is hardwired into your DNA. By observing brain waves while administering outside stimuli doctors can tell if a person is conservative or liberal. Conservatives dream of Armageddon while liberals dream of hopes and aspirations. It appears to me that this could be the foundation for compromise in the next Congress. Rather than liberals trying to convince conservatives that there is nothing to fear, they might want to take a page from Franklin Roosevelt's play book: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."
Perhaps if liberals can convince conservatives that they have nothing to fear from minorities, the empowerment of women, and government confiscation of guns, they could channel this inordinate fear and redirect it to the real enemy — Wall Street and the 1 percent. I believe even the Tea Party could get on board with this one.
This is one of many issues that both parties could find common ground and do something to earn their keep. It worked for Roosevelt and it could work again.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 December 2014 11:35
To The Daily Sun,
During the period of open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, I encourage everyone still without insurance to sign up. Those in New Hampshire who are already enrolled should check whether they can get a better plan this year. Five insurance companies now offer 40 plans that include at least two New Hampshire hospitals in each network.
Folks complain mightily about Obamacare, and, clearly, there are things that need to be fixed. But we don't need to "throw out the baby with the bathwater." There are many positives about this law. Just talk to people who now have protection.
Ask someone who had been without insurance because of a pre-existing condition, or someone whose plan didn't include conditions that must now be covered. When insurance companies chose to cancel their sub-standard plans, folks could find other plans, with better coverage or a lower deductible. Talk to one of the 10 million now covered who can afford insurance for the first time, or kids under the age of 26 who can stay on their parents plan.
Do you know anyone with cancer or other major illness that had hit the lifetime limit? They, who previously faced bankruptcy, can now be insured. Many feared losing access to health care if they switched jobs or got fired — that fear is gone.
So Obamacare helps not just the newly insured, as monumental as that is. It affects millions, and soon to be millions more. Please enroll now at www.healthcare.gov.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 December 2014 11:24
To The Daily Sun,
In recent letters to The Sun, at least three people challenged me to attend a Tea Party meeting. I am flattered that these people want me to attend. I thank you all for the invitation and I intend to take you up on it.
One such writer, my friend Steve Earle, actually bet me "a coffee and a doughnut" that I would not attend such a meeting. He will lose this bet. I told him the other day that I would attend and in the near future I will be attending one with him. I am holding him to the coffee and doughnut, though.
Actually, I do not mind attending any event I have time for, even those whose organizers I disagree with. In fact, I have been present at a couple of Tea Party events. But, alas, at none of the meetings in the Lakes Region mentioned by one writer to The Sun. I have attended conservative Christian church services (including those that did not have a coffee and doughnut hour after services) and have gone to creation science lectures. I have even attended meetings of the conservative John Birch Society, including one in Laconia.
So, to any of the others who invited me to Tea Party meetings, remember I am in the phone directory. Feel free to invite me any time. Will you also extend Mr. Earle's offer of coffee and doughnuts?
E. Scott Cracraft
Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 December 2014 11:22
To The Daily Sun,
Democratic and Republican parties grossly misuse the words liberal and conservative. First, liberal comes from the Latin word, libre "to be free." A liberal is a free thinker. Neither party fits this description in that they do not embrace liberalism. Both parties are narrow-minded, rigidly maintaining their respective platforms. Conservative has its base from the word, conserve. This means conserve our rights, Constitution, country, way of life, as well as the greater public good. A true conservative should focus on the preservation of our overall health, safety and welfare.
The U.S. Constitution protects our right to the pursuit of life, liberty, happiness, and the right to property. The Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution extends this protection in multiple situations, all of which are appropriate today. Therefore, neither Republicans nor Democrats are either liberal or conservative.
One can be a free thinker if he/she takes all the perspectives and evidence, of a given issue and weighs these fairly and objectively. None of the parties in this country does this. For the most part, it is felt most parties are bigots, in that they do not recognize and understand, the dimensions and scope of this country's demographics. They also fail to realize the positive attributes of other parties. One is a conservative when they conserve the principles of our Constitution, our way of life, promoting the health, safety, welfare, and the rights accorded by this document.
Recent Ferguson events appear to be racial. However, reviewing these events indicate something far deeper and dangerous confronting our country today. Democrats need to recognize that some nearly 60 percent of this country is supporting the other 40 percent. This cannot continue. We simply are taxed out to support more people right now. Yet, the Republicans want to take away our rights to safety, health, and welfare, destroying an institution that was commenced by the American Revolution. Ferguson demonstrates this significant weakness developing in our country today. The "Hug" picture shows there is hope for our country, for all Americans, be they born here, immigrants (legal and illegal), or adopted.
Large companies need to realize the heart and soul of our economy are our people. If we do not work, we cannot buy their products. With monies in our hands, the economy will grow. This would improve the quality of life for everyone. Outsourcing jobs does not make our economy grow, people here in this country do. With job growth in towns like Ferguson, events that occurred can be either reduced or prevented. This concept applies to every geographical area, business, and industry in this country. An increase in minimum wage is essential to improving the lot of the employment picture.
Consider something else. The United States is the only country in the entire world that has significant populations trying to enter for freedom, hope, and life. There is something right about our country.
All parties must realize two things. First, each of us is a heartbeat from death. Death is the equalizer of all human life, and life on this planet. We are created, born, live, and die. Secondly, no matter what the color of skin, creed or religion, sexual orientation, rich or poor our blood is red. The movie, "To Sir with Love" points this out. The black teacher in England sustained a cut and bled. A student said, "His blood is red." Another student said, "Did you expect it to be, purple?" We must understand we are all human beings on this planet.
A sobering note must be considered. Should an asteroid, meteor, or even the Moon demolish our planet, there is no discrimination. Everyone will be impacted. Climate change impacts Everyone. Free thinkers know this, and must seek and develop ways to improve and conserve our existence.
Ferguson is an eye-opener in this age of electronics and high tech age. These protests are genuine. Peaceful protests are legal and must be protected at all costs. It is of mutual benefit to all U.S. citizens and our guests. Violent protest is unacceptable. However, this demonstrates frustrations of peoples held back and denied their rights. Please consider the French Revolution, the American Revolution, the Civil War, the World Wars (I and II), and the wars of all mankind. The NFL football players in St. Louis had the right to protest. They supported a fragile and desperate community. Demonstrations across the US focused on all rights, not just a single group. The high tech age has exposed more government intervention and invasion of our privacy than ever before. These are further threatened by the divisiveness in this country. We must learn from Ferguson to recover and strengthen our country.
Liberal, free-thinking people must focus on what is needed to conserve our Constitution. Democrats, Libertarians, Tea Party People, Republicans, etc. need to come together to preserving our union. (Please remember, this is what Abraham Lincoln was trying to do with the Civil War.) But we also need to know, the "Price of freedom is not free." There is sacrifice, but there is hope. Ferguson offers an opportunity of hope for all of us. All of us must come together to promote all our welfare, health, and safety, as well as quality of life. This long division must not continue. Ferguson points this out. When our country becomes unified, we can grow strong again.
High tech has created the potential for our country to fall. Our electrical power grids are at risk that will devastate our economy. Our lives, quality of life are at risk. The rights to privacy, protection under our Constitution are at risk. Computer hacking is just as serious to the welfare of our country as the events of Ferguson. Ferguson is opening our eyes to all of these issues that trouble our country. Racial unity, religious unity is a benefit for all peoples and creeds. High tech needs to be constrained within the dimensions of our Constitution, without sacrificing all our rights.
The U.S. Constitution is the greatest document created in the history of mankind. Religious books are great documents. The Constitution protects the rights of religions. The Constitution is designed to protect all of us regardless of race, creed, age, or sexual orientation. We are all human beings.
The expression, "In unity we are strong, divided we crumble" applies to our country's existence today. We had "Boston Strong" in the past. Now we must make our country, "USA Strong"! USA Strong can provide the hope by learning from the events of Ferguson. Please, let us all open our eyes to those who are USA Strong today. We cannot do this separately, individually or divided. We must do this all together, (united we stand).
John F. Kennedy said these words. "Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what YOU can do for YOUR country." Let's see what we can do for our country, to make it strong again. Let's see how we can learn about our differences, ourselves, our neighbors, our peoples who make this country. Most important, we must merge these differences, then work together to make our country USA Strong.
Robert T. Joseph, Jr.
RN, ASN, BA, EMT-I
Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 December 2014 11:17