Enough gridlock, our lawmakers must work to solve our problems
This is a challenge to our elected officials: It is time to stop the gridlock. It is time to think as a citizen of the United States. As citizens, we share a common belief that democracy is the best form of government. Instead of creating division, take the time to listen to all opinions. The founders of our government encountered different opinions and set up our democracy to allow for healthy discussions.
It is time to do your job. Vote to help every citizen through this difficult time. Become a problem solver and not a gridlock creator.
Martha Kosiorek, Wattsburg
False rhetoric about ‘socialist’ Democrats needs to stop
It is time to stop the disinformation and false narratives spread by the former president and right-wing media. One of the most glaring falsehoods is this tired, persistently repeated trope accusing Democrats of wanting a socialist and communist takeover of the country.
Socialism is already a prevalent, fundamental aspect of our institutions and way of life. The basic definition of socialism is “group ownership.” Let me list for you institutions that are enjoyed by all Americans: The military; law enforcement agencies; fire departments; local, state and federal governments; the U.S. Post Office; government public works, transportation, health, building and food safety organizations; public libraries and education; Social Security; Medicare; veterans’ hospitals; unemployment coverage; public parks, lands, monuments and museums; disaster and emergency relief; Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. bank insurance; border security; highways and roads.
These are all socialistic. Even churches are a form of socialism. I saw a sign during the election that said, “100% American, 0% socialist.” That is completely impossible unless you live off the grid and never go anywhere outside of your own home and produce your own food.
Democrats find communism repugnant. Any economic system of government — capitalism, socialism or communism is doomed to failure if taken over by a person or political organization bent on grabbing power and distorting the truth. North Korea is officially the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.” Does that sound like a dictatorship? No, but it is. Words matter. Truth matters. Facts matter. Protect our democracy. Stop the lies now.
Michael Dunlavey Jr., North East, U.S. Army, retired
Regionalized judicial elections would politicize our courts
Republicans in the Pennsylvania Legislature are trying to pass a constitutional amendment that would change how we elect Supreme Court justices and other appellate court judges. Instead of electing them statewide, the General Assembly would decide by drawing districts for each justice and judge.
This constitutional amendment would enable the legislatures to have control over district lines, giving them undue power over how judges are elected, and which judges are elected. It would enable them to stack each district, and the courts as a whole, in favor of one party or another.
This opens our courts up to partisan power grabs, as well as undue and harmful legislative influence. Statewide courts make statewide decisions about our lives and our communities that impact every resident of the Commonwealth. They should serve all residents, not political or regional constituencies. And thus every voter should be able to vote for every one of them, not just a few of them.
Anita Winer, Lebanon
Social media companies should not repress our free speech rights
In response to the current censorship mentality, do those who support this realize that many social media companies have become, by their business practices, a “public square”? Although they are private businesses, they serve a greater need, especially in a free society where we should have a free exchange of ideas and the ability to freely agree or disagree.
These social media sites are more than private. And social media companies have become more than private companies by strict definition. When a company that clearly serves the “public good” uses the “private company” argument to squelch dissenting ideas, it is by definition practicing what the First Amendment protects all Americans against.
Jeff McAninch, Erie
Judicial election bill strips Pennsylvanians of their rights
Pennsylvania legislators want to take away one of your fundamental rights. You should be mad.
HB 38, a constitutional amendment, will take away your right to choose all 31 Pennsylvania appellate judges and allow you to choose only three judges in your small slice of the state.
The sponsor, state Rep. Russ Diamond, R-Lebanon, thinks that the courts need regional representation. He is confused. That’s his job. A judge’s job is to be impartial, independent and true to an oath to defend the constitution of the entire commonwealth.
HB 38 with judicial districts is a terrible proposal. It will dilute your vote and expand the corrupting influence of unlimited campaign money and lead to extreme partisanship. We have that dysfunction already in the General Assembly. HB 38 will also distort the balance of power among the three co-equal branches of government.
More states are moving to merit selection with nonpartisan retention votes. This removes the influence of donors, parochial interests and judicial districts drawn to favor the state majority party. This option is not yet available in Pennsylvania.
Better to stay with our current system. It spreads the influence of money and partisanship across the entire state and prevents gerrymandering altogether.
Don’t let them take away your right to vote for all Pennsylvania judges. Voting for only three of 31 judges is unacceptable. Call and email your state senator and representative. Tell them not to steal your vote with HB 38.
Debbie Trudeau, State College