In the 1880s my grandmother saw her 10-year-old brother kidnapped by Russian Cossacks on horseback in a farm field in eastern Finland. It’s how Cossacks often recruited new soldiers. She later got away from that environment by moving to the United States with her husband.
My other Finnish grandfather grew up in turn-of-the-19th-century poverty with severely limited opportunities. He sought a better life and escaped as a young man by stowing away on a ship bound for New York and entered the United States illegally.
Today, immigrants from Latin America cross our southern border for similar reasons. It’s drug cartels and criminals committing rapes and murders. It’s poverty and malnutrition caused by hurricanes that ruined crops. It’s kidnapping and sex trafficking of children.
Who wouldn’t want to escape those environments?
In both cases it took courage to leave their homes. In the first instance my grandparents had to cross an ocean to get here. In the second, Latino immigrants had to cross a dangerous desert, facing many obstacles in seeking a better life here.
They’re heroic people and should be welcomed by us. They show us through their grit and determination that they can only enhance our country.
Safer for all
I write in support of N.C. HB 311: the Safer Roads and Communities Act of 2021.
This bill provides restricted driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, provided they have lived in North Carolina for at least a year, paid state taxes in the last year, met eligibility requirements (proof of current ID and address, attendance at orientations and passed the driving test) and purchased car insurance.
North Carolina has not allowed undocumented immigrants (with the exception of DACA recipients) to drive since 2006. But for several years prior, they could obtain a license. In a New York Times article from August 2001, director of driver’s license certification Wayne Hurder explained the state’s reasoning:
“We think it’s in the best interests of everyone in the state if we can get them to learn the laws of the road and get insurance. It’s not our job to get into national immigration policy — this is a purely practical decision,” Hurder said at the time.
That reasoning still applies. We are all safer when undocumented immigrants can drive legally, and they are able to work, pay taxes and provide for their families with dignity.
Sixteen other states agree and provide licensing options. Support HB 311.
Protect the Earth
The first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, marked the beginning of our modern environmental movement as President Nixon signed into existence the Environmental Protection Agency later that year.
Today we celebrate much consciousness-raising progress regarding our stewardship and relationship with Mother Nature. We are bringing together many diverse groups that address oil spills; air and water pollution; toxic dumps; chemical pesticides; single-use plastic trash; loss of wilderness and species; and costly, extreme climate catastrophes.
Due to our ever-growing energy needs, the time is now to address our biggest existential threat of the accelerated warming of the climate due to burning fossil fuels. This results in long-lasting CO2 emissions in our atmosphere that acts as a “heat blanket.”
Fortunately, scientists, economists, businesses, politicians and citizens alike have arrived at a relatively simple “cash-back” carbon pricing solution just reintroduced in Congress: The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (EICDA). It’s effective using known free-market carbon fee incentives to reduce fossil fuel emissions and promote clean-energy innovation.
EICDA is good for our health, saving lives and putting dividend money directly into people’s pockets. That especially would help middle- and low-income Americans while adding a job-creating economic boost. Call Congress to support EICDA. Also, celebrate Earth Day!
Minta Phillips, M.D.
So, George Floyd was killed over $20. What a disturbing thing to know about the use of police force.
Also, consider the attitude and language officers used — the only word they seemed to know was “f——-g,” said 25 times in the video of Floyd’s arrest.
Floyd was handcuffed and thrown on the ground for passing a phony bill? That’s a really stunning display of justice.
This is not something Americans loved seeing, although we saw it every day for weeks without pause. We also saw a crying 61-year-old along with a crying 16-year-old and a crying girlfriend on the witness stand.
All this in the name of carrying out the law?
None of this is worth $20!