MUST BE THE MONEY
I was puzzled by George Nethercutt's column in last week's Inlander ("Voter's Rule," 3/12/2020). Term limits is hardly a subject that people are talking about much these days. There is far more concern about voter suppression, partisan gerrymandering, dark money and the prohibitive cost of running a campaign these days. Of these, Nethercutt just made a passing reference to the last item. Most voters nowadays understand that the levers of power are controlled by large corporations and a very few billionaires that provide the majority of the cash for these obscenely expensive campaigns. So it really doesn't matter whether the puppet in the congressional seat has been there for two years or 20. When they leave that seat, willingly or not, the odds are they will be replaced by someone approved by the wealthy few.
People who dispute this will point out successful campaigns by those who buck this line, and such cases draw a lot of press attention. But that is really beside the point: Moneyed interests do not need to win all the contests, only a comfortable majority. And this they certainly do. The result is that popular opinion has been demonstrated to have an insignificant effect on the policies and legislation of our federal government, and yet those policies track very closely with the preferences of wealthy interests. This will not change until we correct the Supreme Court-induced fallacies that money is constitutionally protected speech, and that corporations have the same rights as people.
WISE AND COMPASSIONATE RESPONSES
In times of crisis, let's make wise choices about how we respond. Do we pull together to support our larger community? Or do we narrowly focus on getting our needs met at the expense of others — such as hoarding toilet paper and other supplies? As Gandhi reminded us: "The world has enough for everyone's needs, but not everyone's greed."
Sadly, our current president models an ego-centered approach. When timing was critical, he refused to cooperate with the World Health Organization to access effective coronavirus testing kits. Instead of accepting responsibility for bungling his response to the coronavirus outbreak, President Trump consistently blames others. He continues to give confusing messages that contradict expert medical advice. His priorities are clear: businesses get tax breaks; but ER nurses, such as my daughter, lack access to sufficient face masks to safely do their jobs.
Instead of inspiring collaboration to end a global pandemic, President Trump makes unilateral decisions without consulting other nations. A German government source recently confirmed that President Trump tried to secretly make a deal with German scientists working on a vaccine to be exclusively available to only people in the United States. Worldwide problems require international solutions — not the hoarding of private resources.
In this election year, we have a clear choice about the country's future. As voters, carefully evaluate how our president is behaving during this time of crisis. Let's elect a new leader who inspires wise and compassionate responses — nationally and internationally.
Susie Leonard Weller
Liberty Lake, Wash.