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Handouts to wealthy harming values

In my Sept. 16 letter, headlined “America is becoming a welfare nation,” I left the impression that government assistance to the old, sick, disabled and needy destroy their values of self-reliance and personal responsibility. There is not an ounce of truth in this assertion.

For example, multibillion-dollar (may exceed $200 billion) government assistance

to the needy victims of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, destroy the values of self-reliance or personal responsibility of these victims. They did not choose to be victimized.

Similarly, no one chooses to be sick. Sickness, like a hurricane, is imposed on victims. Consequently, government medical help like Medicaid, cannot destroy the value of self-reliance or personal responsibility of the victims.

Logic is equally applied to over 10 million unemployed workers during the Great Recession. They did not voluntarily quit their jobs. Job losses were imposed on them. They were simply victims. It would be insane to argue that government assistance like unemployment benefits, food stamps and medical help will destroy their value of self-reliance or personal responsibility.

The same logic, however, cannot be applied to nonwage earners, who earn money by holding stocks, bonds, real estate and other financial assets and managing hedge funds, among others, receiving massive government assistance, well documented in my Sept. 16 letter. They were not victims of any kind. They chose these activities.

It should be abundantly clear that it is the massive government handout to the wealthy, the primary source of their income being non-wage earnings, and not the assistance to the old, sick, disabled and needy that is causing us to lose our core values of self-reliance and personal responsibility.

Mukhtar M. Ali, Marco Island

News commentary

Some morning newspaper stories that need common sense and logic review:

  • The NAACP is upset that children will be attending school on Martin Luther
  • King Jr. Day. We had a hurricane, days were needed to be made up and special attention will be made in class that day to honor Dr. King. I would assume Dr. King would be more than overjoyed students went to class on his special day.
  • Some states are changing Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day. Really? Besides peeving off the Italians, are the rest of us supposed to feel guilty for him discovering North America for Europe? I truly believe he had no ill intentions.
  • New York is pondering not paying legislators who committed crimes. Why did you they pay them in the first place?

I try to be polite and hold doors open for people. Remember when that used to be the norm? So now when I do that and don’t get a thank you and not even an acknowledgment of my existence, I make it a point to go visit Mr. and Mrs. Rude and their children and give them a big thank you for allowing me to hold the door for them. Shame on me.

Recently I read about how proud an actress was because she had the opportunity to play a “no gender” person. Do we need to be so classified? We are Americans, everyone mixing together and making a whole.

Bless all of you. If I see you needing a door opened for you, I’ll be more than happy to do it without caring or knowing who you are, where you came from a few centuries ago and what you do in the privacy of your home. Promise.

Larkin H. Barnett III, Marco Island

Patriotic moment

In light of what's been in the news lately, I'd like to share an experience.

This past summer, my family and I were in Charleston, South Carolina. While there, we visited Fort Sumter, operated by uniformed personnel of the U.S. National Park Service. What happened at Fort Sumter in 1861 was the start of the American Civil War. The fort is situated on a man-made island at the entrance to Charleston Harbor and is accessible by ferry boats operated by the park service.

One of the traditions of the park service, after the first ferry of the day has docked, is the raising of a very large American flag. Because of its size, as many as 25 volunteers are needed to assist. The people who volunteered to do this, on that day, were a cross-section of America.

The ranger who organized this effort, without an amplifier, was a young African-American with a military bearing.

When the flag was raised and secured, he then asked us to recite the Pledge of Allegiance as loud as possible. With hats off and hands on our hearts, we gave it our best.

When this was done, he did a very interesting thing. He asked us to repeat the last six words of the pledge.

Jim Madore, Naples

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