Letters to the Editor: Why are we caving to fear-mongering rather than common sense?

Why are we caving to fear-mongering rather than common sense?

One version of the gay pride flag has white, pink and blue stripes together, just like the white, pink and blue stripes on the T-shirt worn by a young person in a mural displayed in the Grant Public Schools student health center.

The mural, painted by high school student Evelyn Gonzalez, has been ordered removed by the Grant school board. According to The Sentinel, no explicit reason for the removal was given, but there are strong indications that it is because the artist’s choice of colors mirror the colors of some pride flags.

The board members objecting to this seem to have fallen victim to the fear-mongering that is increasingly popular among some right-wing politicians and media talking heads. Today’s demagogues are telling us we need to be constantly vigilant or the ubiquitous “they” will replace all the values that we hold dear with some sort of woke agenda.

Unfortunately, it seems many who buy into this fear are willing to accept emotional rhetoric as fact and want to be protected from challenging ideas (or artistic expression). So, in Grant, a high school student’s art is destroyed because of her color choices and all authority for determining which wall decorations are suitable for viewing is handed over in the school board president.

It is sad that we seem to be trading critical thought and honest debate about diverse ideas for the comfort of paternalistic authoritarianism.

Frank Barefield


Making the cancer fight a top priority from Bangor to D.C.

Last week, I had the honor of representing Michigan Congressional District 4 on Capitol Hill. Along with roughly 600 of my fellow American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) volunteers from across the country, I traveled to Washington, D.C., to urge lawmakers to make cancer a national priority.

Together, we called on Congress to support lifesaving policies that help people prevent and treat cancer. We asked legislators for their support in increasing federal funding for cancer research and prevention, and to support legislation that would create a pathway for Medicare to cover new multi-cancer early detection tests once approved by the FDA and proven effective.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Congressman Bill Huizenga and tell him that cancer isn’t partisan — it touches every community. I also let him know that Michiganders and many others nationwide rely on them to support legislation.

With about 1,670 people dying from cancer daily, our lawmakers must take legislative action on these crucial issues. Congress should seize the opportunity to pass critical, bipartisan legislation to help save lives and end cancer as we know it for everyone.

I encourage you to join us and give us a stronger and louder voice in the fight against cancer. Visit fightcancer.org to be connected to people like me in your community.

Leah Fall

Congressional District 4 ACT Lead and Volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)


Don't let Ottawa Impact win by rigging the system

Ottawa County cannot accept that this board of commissioners are going to fairly assess Adeline Hambley's job performance.

Ottawa Impact was formed to fight against the public health officer's right to determine whether or not a health emergency exists and what the proper response should be. They lost a lawsuit and an appeal claiming the former board of commissioners had the power to fire the public health officer over her decision to declare a health emergency and impose a mask mandate upon schools.

After winning political office, they changed an action of the previous board to claim that Adeline Hambley was not the permanent public health officer, but a temporary one, in order to circumvent those rulings. Their attorney made false accusations in court about documents allegedly created after the fact to support that claim, accusations still a part of their current appeal. The trial judge in that case saw through that ruse and found for the plaintiff, but the current appeal is an attempt to dispose of that.

They then manufactured the recent budget fiasco to trigger the reactions they intended to use against her, something I called out in public comment at the time as blatant bad-faith negotiation tactics, and now they will pretend to be unbiased jurors in a case they themselves have rigged against her. There is not one county commissioner who can be considered an unbiased person in this case.

They just want what they want, and they will let truth, justice and the rule of law be damned. These "lesser magistrates" think they have a higher calling, but they are just petty tyrants with a new rationalization. For the rule of law to prevail they must be denied this show trial victory.

They must not be allowed to win this way.

David Barnosky

West Olive

It's sad how easily we allow dictators to rise to power

If nothing else, Donald Trump is predictable. We know he’ll be in court facing scores of indictments, he will lie and say he was “perfect,” and he will defame and threaten all who oppose him.

No longer protected by his presidential office, he’s been convicted of tax evasion, sexual assault and defamation, and fraudulently misvaluing his assets. Still undecided are the 91 felony counts for crimes such as inciting an insurrection, taking top secret documents and obstructing their retrieval, falsely reporting payments to porn actresses, and subverting the 2020 election in Georgia.

Perhaps even worse than his criminal behavior are his vendettas: from “lock her up” to “hang Mike Pence” to “I am your retribution” to invoking “treason” and “death” for General Milley. People who cross Trump can expect to have their lives diminished. He uses his malicious, personal attacks to motivate his hate-filled followers to threaten the safety of his target victims—people he took an oath to protect, people less rich, less powerful, and less able to fight back. Like the bully he is, he endangers the lives of his perceived enemies while hiding behind the skirts of the First Amendment.

His misdeeds, big and small, are well known because he operated brazenly and openly without fear of punishment. And why not? There are few condemnations from his followers, his party leaders, Christian leaders, Republican presidential rivals, or ordinary Republican voters like those here in Ottawa County. A few, like Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney, responsibly spoke up, but it seems honesty leads to an early exit, leaving behind the cowards and opportunists.

Despite his immorality, abuse of power and an ocean of falsehoods, polls show that Republican voters want to re-elect Trump, which answers many questions about just how easily ruthless dictators can rise to power.

Richard Kamischke

Grand Haven Township

Real climate solutions are not radioactive

Two Republicans in the Michigan House of Representatives wrote "Our Take: Democrat energy plan doesn’t add up," an op-ed in The Sentinel on Oct. 1.

Contrary to Brad Slagh and Pauline Wendzel's claims — as they stated themselves, citing the bipartisan letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — the Democrats DO want a veritable zombie apocalypse to restart the seemingly undead Palisades Nuclear Power Plant.

The Wolverine Power Company's understanding to buy power in this hollow-eyed scheme doesn't come close to ending the final barrier to restarting Palisades. There's still

  1. The most embrittled reactor vessel of the U.S.'s 95 reactors

  2. Idle, warped turbines that cannot spin

  3. Deficient reactor-vessel "glue" from the first day the plant was approved to operate for 40 years in 1973 (50 years ago)

  4. A faulty control-rod seal, the cost of which convinced Entergy that it could not afford to keep this gasping, dying contraption alive.

But what must be spinning are George Orwell and Adam Smith, in their graves because of the well-rehearsed fiction that nuclear power is "clean" and "cheap." If their "spin" were turbo-generators for the electric grid, International Holtec might qualify for DOE production tax credits! Holtec has applied for $8.4 billion in DOE tax credits to resuscitate Palisades and build four small modular nuclear reactors. Lazard shows their cost per kilowatt hour would exceed the large one scheduled for dismantlement.

Efficiency, storage, wind, solar and an adequate grid are the key to a future of reliable energy and a source of good-paying jobs. As recent floods and storms have shown, nuclear power plants are victims of climate change, not saviors from it.

Jan Boudart

Rogers Park, Chicago

This article originally appeared on The Holland Sentinel: Letters: Why are we caving to fear-mongering rather than common sense?