Mailbag: ‘Choose life and success’ over COVID-19
In his farewell address to the Israelites, Moses exhorted them to “... choose life and success or death and disaster.”
Our nation faces a similar choice as we struggle with the demon virus that continues its killing spree across the landscape. In Moses’ case the choice was between life and the worship of false gods, in ours between life and a twisted understanding of personal freedom.
In 1941, the imprisoned dwellers in the Warsaw Ghetto — 450,000 mostly Jewish souls in an area of just over 2 square miles — were also faced with a vicious virus, Europe’s typhus pandemic. It was less contagious but deadlier than COVID-19 and was spreading rapidly in these cramped quarters.
However, the ghetto was home to a cadre of physicians who set up strict protocols to quell the outbreak, including courses on public hygiene and infectious diseases, and requirements for social distancing and home quarantining. Though 100,000 had died in the beginning from disease and starvation, by July 1942, typhus was largely eradicated. The trapped community had chosen life even in the face of impending genocide by their Nazi captors.
And they chose life again in April 1943, when — faced with the knowledge that the 50,000 who remained would soon be shipped to death camps — they rose up with their ragtag weaponry and held off the Nazis for six weeks, a period longer than had the Polish army when Germany invaded in 1939.
Perhaps the determination to choose life by every means possible that inspired the Warsaw Ghetto residents might move the people of Orange County and elsewhere to choose life with a similar determination. This is not easy. In fact, it is unsettling, tedious, frustrating and, for many, lonely.
But we have made sacrifices before — during the Great Depression, in World War II, in recovering and rebuilding after 9/11— and in so many other little-known but courageous ways. This is our time to “choose life and success” over this monster in our midst and get closer to the day when we can all breathe free again.
Concerns about Ortiz’s past
I take some exception to Andrew Turner’s article on MMA star Tito Ortiz pulling papers for Huntington Beach City Council for being a “whitewash” (no pun intended).
An avowed vocal Trump supporter who championed the building of a border wall feeling compelled to “protect his community from those who would label its residents as ‘a bunch of white supremacists’”? “Helping out the police department” after being arrested here on suspicion of felony domestic violence in 2010 against then-girlfriend and adult-movie performer Jenna Jameson? (Ortiz denied the allegations, and the district attorney later dropped the charges.) “Helping the police department” by being arrested in January 2014 on suspicion of DUI and, after pleading no contest, fined and ordered to undergo alcohol education?
It seems Tito Ortiz and Donald Trump share an affinity for porn stars, and, in fact, Jameson and Trump are pictured at an event congratulating Ortiz on one of his victories.
I found Republican Mayor Lyn Semeta’s welcoming of Ortiz’s candidacy while ignoring his troubled past and his divisive politics gratuitous at best. Of course, having no civic credentials or qualifications didn’t hurt Trump when he ran for public office using his celebrity status and wealth.
With less than four months until Election Day, isn’t it time we start scrutinizing our local candidates more carefully?
Trump casts doubt on election
No two ways about it, Orange County, Donald Trump is a threat to American democracy.
Why? Because the nonsense he is peddling — that the authenticity of mail-in ballots cannot be validated and therefore the results of the November election will not be legitimate — goes to the heart of what separates us from most of the world: the right and freedom to vote.
Forget the fact Republicans from Fullerton to San Clemente have promoted the use of mail-in ballots for years. I am troubled by two issues directly tied to what the president is saying.
First, does this mean the results for all O.C. elections — from school board to city council, from state office to Congress — also will be in jeopardy; and second, will this give Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, Iowa’s Joni Ernst and Arizona’s Martha McSally the ammunition they need not only to question the outcome of their hotly contested races this fall but to maintain the GOP majority in the Senate?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Mr. Trump’s attempt to cast doubts on November’s election is really about voter suppression. True or not, this is hardly new.
What is new about the president’s repeated, unsubstantiated remarks is this: COVID-19 and a sinking economy are wreaking havoc on his bid for reelection. And because neither is likely to change course between now and Nov. 3, the only strategy left is for him to fan the flames of fear.
During his first inauguration address in 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt told a weary nation, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” If only this were true today.
I have noticed some letter writers lately have labeled Harley Rouda as a liberal, saying he has been misrepresented as a moderate.
If a liberal is characterized as someone who introduces and gets three bills signed into law his freshman year of Congress, while introducing six additional bills and 59 legislative measures, who wins the Healthy Seniors Award for his work to ensure Medicare coverage for seniors to be treated at home during the COVID-19 crisis and ensuring they continue to have access to medication for chronic diseases, who wrote a bipartisan bill to provide $25,000 to small businesses to update their personal protective equipment (PPE) during the coronavirus pandemic, to bring $554 million back to Orange County to help fight the pandemic and return $2 million directly to his constituents in the 48th Congressional district, and over $40 million to Orange County businesses, then gift us us with such a liberal any day.
Despite the upcoming election, Rouda is ready to introduce his latest bill, the California Coastal Communities Act, to fund research and resiliency measures to protect people on the coast which will address flooding as one of its components.
To his greatest credit, Rouda stopped his campaign when the pandemic hit and asked businesses around Orange County to donate PPE to Orange Coast Medical Center.
Currently he is working on a bill to reduce airplane emissions and improve water quality. If being the most active congressman in his freshman class makes him a liberal, I would have to say that " liberal” takes on a very positive connotation.
I will not talk about the contributions or lack thereof of Rouda’s predecessors, nor argue about semantics regarding conservative, moderate, liberal, democratic-socialist and fascist (words often thrown around indiscriminately), but since the word “liberal” has been brought up, I will give you these words from President John F. Kennedy:
“If by a ‘liberal’ they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a ‘liberal,” then I’m proud to say I’m a ‘liberal.’”
We don’t need desalinated water
Gov. Gavin Newsom released his Water Resilience Portfolio during the same week that the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board was conducting hearings on a permit request by Poseidon, a Canadian hedge fund corporation to build a billion-and-a-half-dollar desalination plant in Huntington Beach.
Desalination was not listed as a priority but as an option as part of the blueprint for California water policy, offering a stay-the-course agenda for projects and policies intended to help cope with a warming climate and more violent weather patterns that already effect the state’s irrigation, environmental and drinking water supplies.
This should be reason enough for the water-quality board to deny the permit so that the ratepayers should not be saddled with expensive and unneeded desalinated water.
A Democrat’s support for Moorlach
Although I am a dedicated Democrat, I must take issue with letter-writer Tim Geddes’ concern about Republican state Sen. John Moorlach.
Yes, Moorlach is a fiscal conservative, but his concern is for all Californians, and he tries to work with his fellow senators in both parties.
In all of my 92 years, I have voted for only two Republicans, former County Supervisor and State Sen. Marion Bergeson and John Moorlach. Both have crossed party lines and have done their hard-working best for all of us.
Martin A. Brower
Corona del Mar
A new New Deal for live theater?
As the theater writer for a community newspaper in Long Beach, I find it spiritually and artistically deadening that theater is no longer live (The state of O.C. theater will only get rockier as the pandemic continues, but many forge on, TimesOC, Aug. 2).
The skill, the commitment, the vitality so evident in a living, breathing theatrical production is a compilation of so many arts and crafts that to behold a live performance is an inspiration, if not an epiphany.
With the challenges facing the multitude of theater artists in this age of pandemic, perhaps it’s time to transform live performance into a call for political action.
In the years 1935-39 there was the Federal Theatre Project (FTP), which was one of five Federal Project Number One projects sponsored by the Works Progress administration (WPA); it was developed as a relief measure to give employment to artist, writers, directors and other theater workers.
What’s more, luminaries such as Arthur Miller, Orson Wells, John Houseman, Elia Kazan and Burt Lancaster were products of the Federal Theater Project, which as a part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal was implemented as an economic stimulus program but also resulted in a cadre of artists and artistic endeavors that changed American culture immeasurably.
Though it may be some time before we are safe from the coronavirus, it’s not unreasonable, nor is it unprecedented, to seek the support of our U.S. government in sustaining live theater and the artists and craftspeople who are devoted to this ancient art form.
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