February 5, 2023

Thank you to President Joe Biden and the Democrats for recognizing the rights of Americans in drafting and passing the Respect for Marriage Act. I thank the 12 Republicans who voted with Democrats and acknowledge that the majority of their GOP peers still voted hate the people. While the Republicans want to destroy more basic rights against the will of most Americans, Biden continues to attack them. The Respect for Marriage Act is not perfect, but it is moving this country toward the true meaning of the Constitution, enshrined in the Fourteenth Amendment: No state shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protections of law.”

Yolanda Roman, Philadelphia

On Thanksgiving, I was walking with my family when we saw a man suddenly hit another man near 25th Street and Fairmount Avenue. The man fell to the ground. I heard a scream. The attacker threateningly approached the man again. Looking around, I saw several police vehicles by the art museum, so I grabbed my 4-year-old’s arm, ran over, and yelled, “Police, help, police, help!” Two officers approached and I quickly told them what had happened . When I led them back to the scene of the incident, the officers gave several reasons why there was nothing they could do, theorizing that “it’s just a simple attack” and “there’s nothing we can do if we did.” We don’t see it for ourselves.” I said, “You could at least help the family.” When it became clear they wouldn’t do anything, I asked the police for their names and ID numbers, and tried to read one of the officers’ badges. He immediately turned around, hiding his uniform from my view as he hurried away and said, “Oh no, you can’t do that.” The second officer followed him. The cops practically ran across the street from me. In the meantime, the attacker had turned and was now approaching me and my daughter. I felt like I was in some kind of nightmare. Luckily a third officer driving down Fairmount stopped to help me but I’m still so devastated by this incident – and what about my poor little girl? What lesson did she learn that day? I taught her that if she gets lost or needs help and Mom and Dad aren’t there, to look for a police officer and they will help her, but she saw that that’s not the case at all. She saw Mama desperately trying to get help by doing exactly what I had always told her to do, but it didn’t work – not until the Third Officer appeared. What happened to serve and protect?

Miriam Waloy, Philadelphia

As reported in The Inquirer, Pennsylvania students’ standardized test scores remain below pre-pandemic levels. While the decline is troubling, the pre-pandemic numbers are themselves troubling. Results from the 2019 Pennsylvania System of State Assessments showed that less than two-thirds of eighth-graders were proficient in English and science, and less than one-third were proficient in math. How well will the non-competent students do in high school? Will they get to college? Will they graduate? What kind of jobs will they get? There has been much debate lately about the extent of violent crime in Philadelphia. Violent crime is associated with poverty and income inequality, and the most important determinant of income levels is education. We need to raise children better. How much will that cost? What is the current cost of violent crime? The city of Philadelphia’s budget for police and prisons is approximately $1 billion.

Mike Egg, Meeting in Plymouth

Republicans constantly complain about gun violence in our cities, but they bear much of the responsibility. Nationally and in Pennsylvania, GOP lawmakers have refused to address the common factor in all the shootings in our cities: easy access to guns. Republicans have refused to enforce universal background checks and have tied the hands of cities by denying them the ability to conduct common sense gun checks. Donald Trump recently complained that the streets of our cities were “running red with blood,” but the blood on our streets is at the feet of Republicans in this country. Until Republicans nationally and in Harrisburg accept her role as a contributor to gun violence, she is doomed to move on.

gary sprague, walker

John Fetterman has problems stemming from a stroke he had after his campaign for Senator began. During his presidency, Donald Trump displayed problems that seemed to stem from an advanced age. Are the two situations similar, as a recent comment summarizes? Let’s do an apples-to-apples comparison? Not really. Fetterman suffered from a temporary problem that did not affect his essential intelligence or ability to represent us. Trump was suffering…well, we don’t know what he was suffering from, as he never revealed exactly what the problem was. We have no idea if his problem was temporary or if he will get better or not. If it were his age, he would never recover. If it was something else we have no idea if it will happen again. So no, it’s an apples-and-oranges comparison to place Fetterman and Trump side-by-side.

Richmond L. Gardner, Hatboro

Will guns alone stop Russia’s attack on Ukraine? President Joe Biden ended our invasion of Afghanistan after Donald Trump spoke to the Taliban. Congress must condition further aid to Ukraine on the Biden administration and NATO holding direct talks with Moscow. Does our ruling class want to end what they call a “proxy war” any time soon? They seem indifferent to the destruction and death in Ukraine, the suffering inflicted on Europeans by the war, and the risks of a major war or nuclear war. Dozens of catastrophic wars and catastrophic regime change interventions have been spearheaded by our corrupt and depraved political class. How are our own warlords different from Vladimir Putin? Ukraine should not be pressured into making concessions. We shouldn’t write a blank check to the merchants of death either. The US and NATO could make concessions that would likely end the war, guarantee Ukraine’s sovereignty, and bring about peace in Europe. To achieve this, Americans, acting through our congressmen, must force our leaders to relinquish hegemony and embrace diplomacy.

Rob Baker, walker

More than 3,000 people in New Jersey died from drug overdoses last year, with the majority of those deaths involving some form of opioid. That’s 3,000 dead too many. New Jersey has a trusted resource for opioid education and awareness in the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ). In a recent nationwide survey, the partnership was named as one of the most trusted sources of opioid addiction information and education, second only to their doctor.

PDFNJ has focused on reducing opioid addiction and overdose through its award-winning awareness campaigns, educating parents, students and prescribers, and its Knock Out Opioid Abuse educational series. PDFNJ has educated hundreds of thousands of Garden State residents on the links between prescribed opioids and addiction and overdose. All of these programs are free to New Jersey residents, businesses, and community organizations. We are honored by the trust placed in PDFNJ and urge everyone to use these free programs as they are the key to saving lives.

Angelo Valentin, Executive Director, Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey

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