Printed Letters: June 27, 2017

Giving panhandlers money isn’t a solution

As you drive through town, you can see panhandlers on many street corners flying their cardboard signs and panhandling for money. Your heart goes out to them because you want to help someone who is down and out.

You offer up a few dollars, maybe even a twenty, to get them the food, gas, medication, or whatever their cardboard sign says they desperately need. When you give the panhandler cash, your heart certainly is in the right place, but your actions are not.

Even though the signs panhandlers hold may say they are seeking money for the bare essentials, I can easily guess that most of the money received goes toward alcohol, drugs, marijuana and cigarettes. These are the things that the transients don’t get from the many agencies, groups and churches that help them.

The agencies, churches and groups that help the homeless in this community provide regular meals, clothing, camping gear, cell phones, a mailing address, places to sleep, access to medical care, showers and haircuts. With access to such plentiful assistance, it seems there wouldn’t be so much need to gather curbside cash from the generous people within the community.

Rather than hand a few dollars out your window to a panhandler on the corner, it would be better to provide a donation to one of the many churches, groups, charities or agencies that consistently assist the homeless population. This would provide a much-needed infusion of cash into these groups and also would help coordinate the effort to provide these panhandlers with the hand up they truly need, rather than a handout they receive. If we don’t work together to stop the problem of curbside panhandling, we most certainly will perpetuate the problem.

Grand Junction

Request senators to work for a fair health care plan

As I prepare for surgery this morning, I realize how grateful I am not to have worries about how I will pay for this needed procedure. As a Medicare recipient, also able to afford a good supplemental plan, I can be assured that my surgery will be covered. I do not have to decide between paying my bills and having surgery. Or paying for medication or buying food. Or a slew of other impossible choices that folks will have to make if the Senate passes their version of the AHCA.

Are you aware that the AHCA would affect Medicare as well as Medicaid funding? Eleven million low-income people who receive Medicare also receive Medicaid. They are among the country’s most vulnerable elderly and disabled adults.

Medicaid covers services that Medicare does not – valuable, needed services like nursing homes and home-care services that enable people to stay home rather than being institutionalized. If, for instance, Medicaid funding of home-care services is reduced, many dual recipients of Medicaid and Medicare could end up hospitalized, which would then place more burden on Medicare.

I agree that the Affordable Care Act has not been the answer to all our health care woes. But dismantling rather than repairing and improving it is not the answer. I truly believe as a nation we have the resources, the brains and the heart to provide health care to all our citizens, not just to those who can afford it. Please call your senators today and demand that they work together for a fair and just health care plan.

Grand Junction

Gardner should listen to 
constituents on health care

Last weekend our senator, Cory Gardner, was in Colorado Springs, hearing what the billionaire Koch Brothers told him to do about the Trump/GOP Wealthcare bill.

Our elected senator will not face us, his constituents, in a true town hall meeting, but he went to the luxurious Broadmoor Hotel for food, drinks, instructions and campaign “donations” from the Kochs. If someone put a lot of money in my account, I would try to do what they wanted. After all, they’re paying the bills.

What can we do? Call Gardner’s office. Visit his office. E-mail him. Will it do any good? Who knows, but until money in politics is eliminated, it is all we can legally do to get Gardner’s attention. Right now, I keep asking Gardner to protect expanded Medicaid, to continue funding reproductive healthcare and substance abuse programs, and to not give the ultra-rich a tax break.

When hundreds of thousands of Coloradans suffer; when many die preventable deaths; when thousands experience medical bankruptcy; Trump and the GOP will blame Obama and liberals. But I know responsibility will rest with our GOP senator and the Koch Brothers.

Grand Junction


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Mr. Duncan Brown uses the following words in his letter “I can easily guess”.  Mr. Brown should not “guess” at such things, but actually speak to such individuals, as some of us do whenever we have the chance to do so.  He might be surprised (as some of us have) at what he might find.  The first thing he might discover is that they are a human being, just as is everyone else and should be respected as such, the very same as everyone else.

Helping others in need or want is not the business of organizations alone or only on particular occasions.  It is the obligation of every single one of us, and on a daily basis.  In other words, it is a humanitarian obligation, and not an organizational one.

True, there is a problem with some individuals but one needs to ask the “why” of things, and for every single one that one sees on the streets, no matter how they managed to get where they are.  The real problem to be addressed is not what to do after such individuals are “on the street”, but what happened such that they managed to end up there and address those.

What is readily evident is that neither Senator Gardner nor Mr. Scott Tipton do much listening to the individual citizen, and that has been quite clear in their first campaigns.  Why does anyone expect them to start listening at this point, something which neither one of them (as is true for all too many) they have never learned to do.

What is also clearly in evidence is that the Republicans, after whining and moaning for years about the ACA, really had no plan with which to replace it and were left flat-footed when they found themselves responsible to develop one, and are now desperately attempting to “throw” one together (and mostly in secret).

There objective was never to come up with a better plan than the ACA, but only to repeal the ACA.  Their tactics of sabotaging the ACA at every step is fully documented for those who care to look at their actions ever since the ACA was passed.

As to Senator Gardner, there is no doubt as to what he will do as he is one of the authors of this travesty of a law, one that violates, not civil rights but human rights, the latter being the overriding issue. 

They have largely convinced the young that they don’t need insurance and the well-to-do or “comfortable” that they are not really responsible for the health and welfare of others, that all they need do is take care of the “Me, here and now”.  In that they are even willing to sacrifice the lives of others with what is essentially “If you can’t afford it, then suffer and die (hopefully as quickly as possible).

That self-centeredness in an individual would lead us to label such an individual a sociopath.  But, it is also possible for an entire movement or even an entire society and nation to become sociopathic.  And this is what Mr. Gardner and Mr. Tipton (as well as many others) are really part of, a sociopathic movement which they have labeled as “conservatism”.

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