Readers comments 12-8-17
Politics in Claremont
It’s an odd time to be a politically centrist millennial. Several of my peers and I find ourselves disheartened and discouraged by not only the recent events nationwide, but also those that occur closer to home. Perhaps especially at the Claremont Colleges, we feel caught in between a liberal left that has been become overly concerned with political correctness and a conservative right whose leader does not appear to share hold our fundamental values.
In today’s political environment, it seems that a relatively small minority of individuals at the poles the spectrum drown out the vast swaths of us in the middle. Their voices are loud and clear, while ours our fractured and disorganized. What we need now is pragmatism, and it is nowhere to be seen.
As a Washington, DC native, I’ve long been aware of the power government has to influence our lives for better or, at times, for worse. This is why I’m so concerned about the Trump Administration’s rhetoric and policies.
By mocking Senator Warren as “Pocahontas” at a Navajo code talkers ceremony, scapegoating immigrants for the nation’s economic woes, dangerously raising tensions with North Korea, as well as instigating a range of other offensive or reckless feuds, the executive branch has demonstrated careless regard for its own stature.
On the legislative side, gridlock has stifled congressional legislation this year on virtually every major issue. And, while it would be easy to blame the state of today’s affairs on the president’s party, Democrats must own their fair share of the blame, as well.
Failure to effectively target and cater to the values of middle-America, disregard for a $20 trillion national debt, and poor leadership have demonstrated that the party is fundamentally out of touch with the public at large. For these reasons, I find it difficult to associate myself with either major political party.
In Claremont, I hear very few conservative voices. However, the liberal ones are often incredibly alienating. As Managing Editor of the CMC Forum (Claremont McKenna College’s student newspaper), I tried interviewing protesters who blockaded Manhattan Institute scholar Heather Mac Donald from delivering her presentation at the Athenaeum last year.
No one would speak to me, but they would talk to my colleagues from more diverse backgrounds. They assumed that because of my gender, skin color, and sexual orientation,
I would be unsympathetic to their views. Just last week, I was having a conversation about post-grad plans with a classmate who asserted that because I’m studying government and economics/accounting and want to work with startups, all I must care about is making money. These preconceptions about myself, my values, and my beliefs have become common as identity-politics overrides the college.
Largely because of experiences like these, it’s been hard to feel fully at home as a member of the Claremont community. Rather, I’ve found solace in my close-knit friend group who continually challenges me intellectually.
However, as open as I am to changing my stances with these people, confining robust discussions about difficult topics to only certain groups does nothing to improve public discourse at large. Those of us who want to see change that is pragmatic rather than expressly progressive or conservative must engage in this way as well.
City attorney solutions
We recently wrote that it’s a conflict of interest for our city attorney’s law firm to be the one hired to do extra legal work for our city.
Now Doug Lyon has proposed a further improvement: for a similar cost as the part-time off-site city attorney, we could have a full-time on-site city attorney not connected with an outside law firm.
The availability of law libraries online make this feasible on site. It would provide more support to city staff and would result in more proactive maintenance of the city’s ordinances, etc. We heartily support Mr. Lyon’s proposal.
Bob and Katie Gerecke
It was troubling to read the December 1 article detailing bike thefts in Claremont, but is a problem all too familiar to us students at the Colleges.
Walking around campus every day, I see bikes in pieces just like what is seen in Mr. Zheng’s photo. It most definitely is not a rarity, as Captain Aaron Fate claims.
There must be a better solution than to, as Captain Fate says, “take the wheel off and take it with you.”
Stolen bikes are an unnecessary cost for an essential mode of transportation for many students. How can we as a community allow this to continue to happen?
CUSD charter school
I am deeply disturbed that our School Board will consider a petition from Wings Schools to open a charter school in Claremont. The president of my college alma mater declared he would like to “deny or at least tear a corner off the diploma for any graduate who didn’t know the Northwest Ordinance of 1847.”
Here is the seat of public education in the United States. It was that ordinance of congress that required a public university be established before granting settlement or future statehood of the Ohio Territory (the region now of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota). Private education has not been denied and has its own history. However, public education has responsibility at the root of that which feeds and nourishes mind and heart of our informed democracy.
Perhaps the current state of world affairs invites growth in private schools. Charter schools propose to fill in blanks of on-going school districts. They seem to operate by “having their cake and eating it too,” drawing on public money and property as serves their pockets.
Rather, I commend those with insight and financial resources to direct their energy to creative growth and extension within our public schools. Our public schools are centers of common knowledge of each other and learning. Let’s make Claremont an example of how to do so.
Save healthcare for all
I’m asking you to take action to protect the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The senate will vote on a tax bill that includes an amendment to eliminate a provision of the ACA known as the individual mandate. Eliminating this provision will effectively repealing the ACA.
Repealing the ACA means eliminating coverage for 13 million Americans, cutting $25 billion to Medicare and raising costs for middle-class families and seniors with high medical expenses.
This is not the kind of deal that Americans can afford.
Time after time this year the power of our grassroots network has stopped efforts to repeal the ACA. Now is the time to pick up the phone and call your Senators.
Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
Tell your Senator: “I oppose any tax package that repeals the Affordable Care Act. I ask that you protect my care by voting against any measure that would repeal the Affordable Care Act or reduce access to health coverage.”
Together we can stop this! Call the switchboard today at (202) 224-3121!
VP for Advocacy
League of Women Voters of the Claremont Area