Letters to the Editor: Jan. 4, 2017

img_1727Diversify leadership

I am disappointed and saddened to present to my constituents another oversight on the part of our governor. The governor has created a “Health Care Advisory Team” that apparently will be a subcommittee of the Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Development. I have no problem with highlighting the fact that, as a state, we are woefully lagging in our health status. From smoking to obesity, we need attention placed on health.

When you look at the geographical areas, the most troublesome areas are our communities of color, yet there’s a lack of financial input to improve these factors. I have worked with our state Department of Health (Minority Health Division) and OK Health Care Authority Committee on Health Disparities, yet the governor does not appoint one person of color to work with her team, which I hope will report directly to her.

I am tired of being able to call these things to our governor’s attention. It was after I brought this lack of individuals of color on her Criminal Justice Committee that she hurriedly added two people of color.

My concern is whether or not she really wants to make a difference, or whether it’s all for show for such significant and important issues to our state. Is it a lack of people of color on her staff or is it her inability to understand the value of diversity?

Governor, please correct this oversight!

Rep. George Young
Nichols Hills

Senatorial responsibility

In preparation for taking office, President-elect Donald Trump announced new nominees for Cabinet Secretary positions and other high government offices almost every day. Many questions about their fitness for holding high government positions have been raised. Members of the U.S. Senate have the responsibility to vet those nominees before approving their appointments.

Several nominees like Rex Tillerson have no experience at any level of public service. Some seem to have been chosen to dismantle the very government services provided by the agency they are supposed to lead. In particular, Betsy DeVos, the nominee for U.S. Secretary of Education — the agency that leads efforts to ensure quality public education is available to all Americans — has advocated for closing public schools in Detroit and replacing them with private schools. Sen. Jeff Sessions, the selection for U.S. Attorney General, was previously denied an appointment to a federal judgeship by a Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee after accusations of racism were raised in confirmation hearings.

Questions of compliance with legal requirements surround several nominees. Many have business interests that appear to present conflicts of interest violating federal law.

Article II Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution requires the Senate to review and confirm presidential appointments to important positions in the federal government. This power, reserved for the Senate, is an essential element in the system of checks and balances designed by the founders of our country. It is the patriotic duty of our senators to thoroughly examine each of the nominees as they come before the Senate. They must ask the hard questions and ensure any person who is selected for high government office is qualified to serve.

As citizens, we all have the responsibility to demand that Oklahoma’s U.S. Senators, Jim Inhofe and James Lankford, fulfill this responsibility.

Pat Reaves
Oklahoma City

Criminalize flag-burning

The last-minute reversal in the vote counts that provided the Republican presidential candidate with ample victory in the Electoral College came as a shocking surprise to nearly everybody.

The frustration of the Democrats is understandable; the way some of them expressed their frustration is unacceptable. Out-of-control mobs destroying property and torching vehicles is criminal behavior. Numerous internet messages in social media advocating the assassination of Mr. Trump are alarming and must be taken very seriously; we must not forget the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the attempt on the life of Ronald Reagan.

But the thing that most people find disturbing and offensive is to see “Americans” burning our national flag, a symbol of the glorious history of our country that must be saluted with reverence at parades and during the singing of our national anthem! I cannot understand how this outrageous, insulting behavior can be protected by the freedom of speech. Burning of the flag cannot be considered speech.

Let’s hope that the changes that are forthcoming to the U.S. Supreme Court will include jurists that will follow the letter and spirit of the writers of the First Amendment without inserting creative, erroneous interpretations of what is clear English. Any and all forms of desecration of the American flag must be considered punishable offenses.

Raoul Carubelli
Oklahoma City

Coalminer’s daughter

Thank you, thank you, Rev. Dr. Meyers for writing your commentary, “What have we done?” (Opinion, Commentary, Nov. 16, Oklahoma Gazette). I am a farmer’s daughter and coalminer’s granddaughter who crossed class lines as a single, white woman, earning both engineering and law degrees at my own expense. I worked hard to get myself trained. And I continue to work, to provide for my 12-year-old son after his father passed away of substance abuse, which, I came to learn after our marriage, had a long history in his family.

These voters who claim “hardship” because someone “took away” their jobs and out of their “frustration” thought it was OK to hand both our country and our young girls to a misogynist infuriate me. Both President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton spoke endlessly of retraining. But these people must do their part to seek that training. They are willing instead to jeopardize our country to get their “old jobs back”? Plus, as I understand it, some of these jobs are as grim as jobs can get. My own grandfather lost a foot to a coal mining accident. They could have far superior quality of life with the types of jobs that our current economy could offer: remote work, telecommuting, etc. They should try to convince companies to come where they are or start their own.

This election took the wind out of my sails. Imagine how mightily so many of us women could’ve moved forward with the wind of Hillary under our wings. What have we done, indeed.

Kate Asher
Burlington, Massachusetts

Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to jchancellor@okgazette.com or sent online at okgazette.com. Include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

Opinions expressed on the commentary page, in letters to the editor and elsewhere in this newspaper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ownership or management.

OKG Contributor

This article was written by an Oklahoma Gazette contributor. To reach an editor, please email jchancellor@okgazette.com with this story's headline in your subject line.

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