Readers comments 7-6-18
Thank you for last week’s coverage of opinions on current US policy on our southern border. I would also like to call readers attention to underlying factors that have led to the tragedies that are taking place in situations of families seeking asylum.
The lawless conditions of inept, despotic and corrupt government and crime in the nations of Central America are the outcome not only of local leadership failures but also of generations of US involvement in the region. From our acknowledged by most scholars imperialism in the early 20th century—when US firms dominated the economies of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua—to intervention in the civil wars during the Reagan administration to the Obama administration’s failure to condemn the overthrow of the president and murders of environmentalists in Honduras, US foreign policy has contributed to the conditions that have led over the years to people fleeing the region.
Those who seek asylum in fear for their and their children’s lives and safety are entitled by US law and international treaties to a hearing before a judge. These rights have been observed by our government until the imposition of the so-called zero tolerance policy imposed by President Trump.
Based upon this history, and common human decency, the United States has an obligation to support the claims of these asylum seekers.
I was heartened by the demonstration in Claremont and those elsewhere that many of my fellow US citizens and residents share my sentiments.
Marjorie Woodford Bray
Former director, Latin American
Studies, Cal State Los Angeles
While I accept that my thinking does not always align with most people’s, I am baffled by the recent argument that requiring a two-thirds majority vote is somehow un-democratic.
The 58 percent “yes” votes on Measure SC is touted as very strong support for the proposed new police station, but was it really? It wasn’t 58 percent of the registered voters, 58 percent of the population, and it certainly wasn’t even close to 58 percent of all those who would have been impacted over the next 20 years.
Let’s be honest; it was a very small minority that may not have truly represented the wishes of our community.
A super-majority vote should be the standard for most important and long-term decisions. In criminal law, the taking of life and/or liberty is considered extremely important. Who questions allowing the accused to go free (without the possibility of another trial) when only one juror out of 12 (a mere eight percent minority) has a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty? An amendment to the US Constitution requires a super-majority vote. Of course, a super-majority is not always achievable, but this was not the case with Measure SC, which only lost by a few hundred votes.
Also, how knowledgeable are we about the issues we vote on? Too many of us support the subject matter (education, transportation, public safety) and will vote for any proposed solution, even when it is not a good one.
What if the $50 million police station measure had passed a few years ago, where would we be today? Now in comparison, the $25 million police station drew much more support, but was this a good, and not just a better, solution—were all aspects of this measure fully vetted?
How much money could have been saved had we not enthusiastically voted for the takeover of the water system, with no clue of our chance for success, nor how the water system would be operated had we acquired it? Simply agreeing that a problem exists is not sufficient reason to blindly support any proposed solution. We must also understand that the proposed solution is a good one, if not the best one available.
Compared to a simple majority, a super-majority requirement on important decisions provides a more democratic outcome, because it is much more likely to be representative of the wishes of all those who would be impacted by its passage.