To the Editor:
I would like to respond to Jeff Woerhle’s letter “Resistance to What?” in last week’s Islander that appeared to mock our efforts here on behalf of better government for all in America. Woehrle’s laundry list of good news talking points is misleading and easily refuted.
The stock market has been on the rise for several years, probably due to the nonpartisan efforts of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. Very few Americans own stocks as individuals, or, with the decline in pensions, as members of investment groups.
Unemployment rates have been dropping for years; many Americans are underemployed, overworked and underpaid, while wage inequality is on the rise, with black unemployment remaining significantly higher and wage growth lower than those of other groups.
The temporary individual tax cut most benefits the super rich, who also disproportionately benefit from the permanent tax cuts for businesses; these “massive” cuts for the wealthy few drain the Treasury so that essential programs most Americans depend on will be underfunded, defunded and passed on to cash-strapped states.
Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security are already on the chopping block, townships do car washes to pay for fire engines, communities hold dinners to help neighbors pay for health care, and low wage teachers pay for basic school supplies from their own pockets. This is not “up by your bootstraps,” this is “hung out to dry and pushed to the limit.”
The Trump administration is not “slashing useless government red tape” but rather targeting Obama-era regulations without review of their purpose or success. Among these are regulations to protect the environment from pollution and consumers from bank fraud. As for the “large number of women Trump has installed,” as they are no more qualified than his other appointees, it is no cause for celebration.
There are ideas we can debate, such as the government’s role in universal health care, environmental protection and scientific research. We can debate the meaning of civil rights and even of the Constitution.
Some threats, however, we should all resist: home-grown corruption and foreign influence compromising elections, violations of our governmental system of checks and balances, disregard for regular order in our legislative process and threats to our free press.
Many evangelical Christians seem to aspire, effectively, to establish a state religion, and some of European descent wish to claim America for the white race. Both are now affecting a wide range of law, impacting all of us.
Yes, many of our acts of resistance are symbolic, some may even be silly (such as parading in Lady Liberty paper crowns), but our daily advocacy for good government is substantial. Our efforts may not yet be as effective as we like, but if Woerhle does not think they are necessary, then I suggest he read American and world history with special attention to the decline and fall of empires and the rise of authoritarian governments.
The founders were leery of party politics; in this case, it would not be a feather in our cap to prove them right. Resist.