Letters | 3-19-14


Wrong priorities wakeup call

In 2008, I went to Iraq as a social scientist and cultural adviser on a human terrain team attached to a combat brigade. The objective was to help our troops navigate a different cultural environment.

I recently subscribed to Foreign Affairs magazine to become more aware of what the U.S. is facing overseas. Then Sunday I read the viewpoint commentary in West Hawaii Today titled “Fix this picture before it’s too late.” Of course, like most Americans, I was aware of the real problems we face at home but had focused on other priorities, the wrong priorities.

We have veterans returning from our overseas battles who can’t find jobs. We have young people who can’t afford to go to college to better themselves. We have too many Americans who haven’t been able to afford health insurance for themselves and their families and Republicans trying to torpedo the Affordable Care Act. It has become harder for people to reach or stay in the “middle class” not to mention reach the upper class. The Supreme Court has made it easier for money to drive politics and set priorities.

It has gotten to the point that I am not proud of what is happening in the United States. I have had the wrong priorities. I need to become an activist to fix what is wrong here at home. Thank you, Janice Palma-Glennie, for waking me up.

Wayne Reese

Kailua-Kona

Fix government with public funds

Janice Palma-Glennie’s viewpoint article last Sunday reminds us of an uncomfortable truth: Our electoral system is broken. In the wake of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, we noncorporate individuals have little voice in our government. Instead, we have the best government corporate money can buy.

One small step each of us can take is to check the voluntary $3 checkoff on our Hawaii income tax return. By doing so we do not increase our tax liability but do provide public funds for state elections so our legislators are beholden to us citizens, rather than their corporate or fat-cat donors.

Marvin Feldman

Captain Cook