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Letters: It's time for citizens to take a stand

Contributed To The Press • Jan 11, 2018 at 12:00 AM

I looked toward the last weeks of 2017 with hope that surely our government would settle down and work on important things like jobs, increased wages, quality education and health care for our nation’s children. In my own family, I monitor health care headlines as my daughter is dependent on the Affordable Care Act since a distracted driver permanently impaired her mobility.

In my career, I monitor local and national economic news as I guide new graduates into the workforce. In three short days of 2018 the media headlines rage over ongoing Twitter wars, money laundering by U.S. goverment officials and warnings about the U.S. children’s national health care subsidies to states being sacrificed for tax cuts to the wealthy. Even our local communities’ lists of legislative needs are in rerun mode as state legislators did nothing to assist the local cities and counties in Northeast Tennessee.

But now, instead of cringing in shame for the choices of those in power, I am resolved to find like-minded citizens in this community outside of social media. It’s not enough to express my disgust in the language of emojis. I want to connect with citizens of the Tri-Cities who speak out and step up for community needs. If citizen action is what it takes, I commit to such action.

This may be new involvement for all of us, but I can no longer wish for a rescue by a superhero. Instead the superhero is a collective called us — you and me. Together we can become a super hero strong enough to capture the commitment of like-minded citizens who create change. Will you commit with me?

I will be in Founders Park in Johnson City with many others on Jan. 20 at 2 p.m. Come, bring friends and family. Hear inspiring speakers who are like you and me, finding our path to make a change. Won’t you join me?

DEBORAH HARLEY-McCLASKEY

Johnson City

Action on climate change

Reviewing the year now behind us, various national columnists commented on issues of public interest in the last week of December, and on resolutions typically coming from persons high in public life at the year’s end. 

Georgie Anne Geyer recalled the “veritable destruction” across America from floods, hurricanes and wildfires. Relating the underlying phenomenon to national security risks, as the U.S. military has done for more than a decade, she stated that “thoughtful people cannot seriously dismiss climate change from their concerns.” John Crisp suggested these concerns to have possibly reached a “critical mass,” after the onslaught of weather disasters in 2017, such that voters may “no longer tolerate an administration and party that refuse to act” on climate in this year’s elections.

Against Crisp’s notion of the GOP implacably denying the science on climate and invariably opposing corrective action, some significant and hope-inspiring developments should be acknowledged. A Republican Climate Resolution in the Congress, passed in the Senate and with nearly two dozen co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, acknowledges that “we can and must take meaningful and responsible action now (and) base our policy decisions in science and quantifiable facts on the ground.”

The House co-sponsors come from states nearby and far away, from Virginia, North Carolina and Indiana to Utah and Washington and others. Lacking, though, are Tennessee’s GOP representatives. Early last year, Republican statesmen from prior administrations proposed a “Carbon Dividend Plan” that would rapidly reduce the climate-harming emissions while also strengthening our economy.

With hope for climate action this year, we should encourage Congressman Phil Roe and our U.S. senators from Tennessee to join in these policy efforts.

FRANCES LAMBERTS

Jonesborough

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