Upton was right to condemn Trump
I feel compelled to respond to the opinion letter submitted by Martin O. Kirk, and published on July 19, 2019. Mr. Kirk was “outraged” that Fred Upton was one of four Republicans who voted in favor of the House resolution sanctioning Donald Trump for his racist tweet against four progressive lawmakers.
While “racist” is an explosive term that should never be used casually, Donald Trump has demonstrated repeatedly over the past 45 years that his tweet thrown out on Sunday the 14th leaves no room for possibility of misunderstanding or ambiguity. In the 1800s Irish, Italian, Jewish, and Chinese immigrants were also told to “go back to where they came from.” The descendants of these people are now “American” even in the eyes of Mr. Trump, whose grandfather came from Germany as a teenager, searching for a better life.
We know from past and even recent history that chants of “send her back!” and other such epithets give permission to act on our worst instincts, leading to violence, physical threats and even death. The women who were told to leave are American citizens and duly elected representatives in our Congress. Both Donald Trump’s tweet and Mr. Kirk’s letter reveal the danger of this rhetoric which justifies hatred of “the other.”
What Mr. Kirk fails to understand is that one of the beautiful things about America is that we all have the right and the obligation to speak out and resist when our government does not live up to the democratic principles upon which it was founded. Mr. Kirk noted “Fred Upton worries about the 50 or so local communists who protest in front of his St. Joseph office, and so he votes against our president to appease them.” While I cannot assign motivation to Fred Upton’s vote in favor of the sanction, I am appalled that only four Republicans and one independent voted with all of the Democratic caucus to sanction this blatantly racist president. I can, however, speak to the motivation of those of us who show up each week to protest the immoral behavior of the Trump administration.
This has gone way beyond politics: Republicans vs. Democrats. We are concerned citizens. We are Fred Upton’s constituents and longtime residents of the 6th District. We love our country and we are sickened by daily displays of cruelty and wanton disregard for our Constitution. We see daily acts of misogyny, racism and xenophobia which are devoid of human kindness. That’s why we show up every week in the pouring rain, blistering heat or driving snow. We consider this resistance the sacred obligation of all who love this country and know that the ideals of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness can once again be restored to everyone.
Each week, we chant: “Tell me what democracy looks like!” The response, Mr. Kirk, is “This is what democracy looks like!”
Nothing sexist about ‘Billy Graham rule’
A recent article in your “Another opinion” section not only caught my eye, it made me genuinely sad. A nameless journalist from the LA Times declared “Billy Graham rule is sexist, not noble.” This uninformed person revealed how little they know about this great man, his qualities, his worldwide impact and his lifelong mission.
The complaint shared in the opinion piece was that the Rev. Billy Graham, at the beginning of his evangelical Christian ministry in the 1940s, committed not to be seen alone with any woman other than his wife Ruth, unless there was another person present. This applied to being in restaurants, motels, cars or any place he went. Knowing the possible temptations and weaknesses that are common to men and women, he committed himself to this rule. It was to protect his reputation, as well as that of any solo woman.
However, even more than protecting his own reputation, he wanted to remain above reproach for the sake of the Gospel he publicly shared. The Lord he loved and preached about worldwide, tells all believers to even avoid the appearance of sin! Think how many painful issues in our society could be eliminated if all people, believers or not, avoided even the appearance of questionable behaviors.
The journalist proceeded to mock Vice President Pence and a man in Mississippi who is running for governor there. Why? They have committed themselves to the same principle Billy Graham adhered to. The journalist doesn’t like their decision and further comments “...it’s sexism ... a particularly pernicious form of it, because it is masquerading as courtesy.” This cynical statement is untrue of these men, and them being called sexist is ludicrous. By the way, this “rule” isn’t one that just men are choosing, some women are realizing the wisdom of this decision for themselves, too.
Sarcasm followed in the comment “forgive me for stating the obvious, but the best way to avoid being accused of sexual misconduct is to not engage in sexual misconduct.” That’s very true indeed. The most successful way for a man or woman to avoid real time sexual temptation is to stay out of compromising situations, which usually requires the two people being alone. I appreciate that these mentioned men, as well as other people who choose to adhere to this commitment, are willing to stand firm. In our current atmosphere of the Me Too Movement, people being mocked or called names for choosing wise conduct should be considered noble, not sexist.
Don’t raise speed limit for trucks
In a recent Associated Press article it was reported that a bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate to electronically limit tractor-trailer speed to 65 mph.
The HP reported recently on a June “Legislative Roll Call” Michigan State House Bill 4441 being introduced that would repeal the 65 mph truck speed limit on highways with 70 and 75 mph speed limits.
The benefits of lower speed limits are many and have been studied for years on a federal level. We know that vehicle weight and speed are factors in both number and severity of accidents. Truck tires are not rated for high speeds, and heat is a major factor in tire failure in all vehicles.
Fuel consumption drops as speeds decrease, as does engine wear. This helps our air quality.
Michigan has finally dealt with excessive costs for insurance. Lower accidents and related costs will give leverage to the argument against high expenses to these insurers.
I cannot think of a valid reason to raise the speed limit on any road for any type of vehicle.