This in is a response to Betty Coutant’s political commentary in the Friday edition of The Ledger Independent.
I usually don’t get too worked up about such columns. Newspaper commentators are just as entitled to have their opinions as anyone else, and I enjoy reading views from all over the political spectrum, even if I don’t agree with the authors’ views. I have many friends who voted for Hillary Clinton, and I treasure their friendship and their ability to discuss politics in a civil tone.
However, I feel compelled to respond to Betty’s article because it is, I believe, a symptom of what is (some of) society’s conversion of what used to be civil discourse into personal attacks against those who don’t believe as they do.
Betty states in her article that “I think that if you voted in favor of Trump, you voted against your country. I think that you may be the undoing of our constitutional form of government.”
I take offense to both of those statements. I’m not sure how she thinks Trump is going to undo our constitutional form of government, but I suspect she is concerned he might reverse some of the bureaucratic overreach that has become a hallmark of our government under both Democrats and Republicans ever since the FDR administration.
I would refer her to the 10th Amendment of the Constitution. It states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Perhaps Mr. Trump has read the Constitution, or he at least understands the idea, that government control by some unelected bureaucrat in Washington is not always preferable to local governance. Ask the people working at DP&L and are worried about their plants closing due in large part to the over-burdensome EPA regulations they are forced to follow. I would bet that a large percentage of those employees voted for Trump.
She criticizes his decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton. As much as I would like to see that happen, as no one should be above the law, Mr. Trump has more important things to fix in this country, so I will give him a pass on that.
She is upset that he picked a “Goldman Sachs alum” to be the Secretary of the Treasury. Our economy is very large and complex, and we need someone who is highly capable to start to fix things. I would wager that, at any time in the last 100 years or so, the greatest pool of financial talent anywhere on earth has been at Goldman Sachs. They are simply the best at what they do. In fact, some other notable alums have been hired by Democrat administrations like Bill Clinton’s, including his former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Other recent alumni include former New Jersey Democrat Gov. John Corzine and Mario Draghi, the current president of the European Central Bank. Not bad company.
She asserts that Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, “is against public education.” That is the current politically correct way of saying that Ms. DeVos is in favor of vouchers so that parents, even poor ones, can opt out of a failing public school for their children and get those children to a school that will give them a chance to break the cycle of poverty.
Is that a bad thing? America’s colleges and universities are the envy of the world, due in large part because there is competition for the best and brightest students. They are working every day to attract and keep those talented students. Public primary and secondary schools are monopolies which, by definition, are economically inefficient. Some, like Mason County, do a good job in educating our children. But sadly, many do not. Children are put in those schools based not on their abilities but merely by where they happen to live.
Betty says of her family that “we can afford to put the grandkids in private school.” That’s great for her grandchildren, but shouldn’t poor children from inner cities or Appalachia have the same opportunities to excel?
As for her assertion that Trump’s pick for attorney general is a racist, the facts say otherwise (despite the efforts of the media to trash anything related to Trump).
Senator Jeff Sessions was one of the three leading authors of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, signed into law by President Obama. That bill addressed, and attempted to correct, among other things, the disparity in sentencing between (mostly) minorities in the inner cities and suburban whites in drug cases.
That doesn’t sound like a racist to me. That sounds like someone who genuinely cares about our inner cities and wants to bring fairness to all in our justice system.
I’m sure that Betty will fact check my letter, as she has the right to do. She can use the same Google search engine she asserts “reinforces (Trump voters’) skewed and dangerous vision of freedom, equal rights and democracy.”
However, I believe that my “vision” and that of most of the other Trump voters, is nothing of the sort. It is a hope that we can return to the common sense and individual freedom that have been slowly taken away from ordinary citizens by a bunch of bureaucratic hacks in Washington.
Finally, I want to address the notion (referenced in her article) of Trump opponents that a wall at the Mexican border is somehow un-American, or won’t work, so we shouldn’t even try to build it.
I can’t think of a single country throughout history that survived without controlling its borders. What ends up being built may not be a perfect “wall,” but it will hopefully be a start in protecting our national sovereignty.
If Betty doesn’t agree, I challenge her to publish her home address in the newspaper and to make a public pledge to keep her doors and windows unlocked. That way anyone who is just “looking for a better life” can come in and take what they want without any fear of resistance or repercussions.
What’s that you say? You can’t do that because it would put the security of your family at risk, not to mention the possessions you and your family have worked hard for all of your life?
Welcome aboard the Trump train.
(Editor's note: Taylor Wood is a lifelong resident of Maysville.)