I recently had the pleasure of attending a multipart event called “Street Talk” at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in downtown Greensboro. On June 5 and July 10, numerous community members with diverse backgrounds gathered on Elm Street in front of the ICRCM and talked and listened to one another. The conversations were not surface level; they had depth and were wide-ranging.
In my groups, we discussed everything from reparations to dubious legislation, the role of charitable organizations in society and the government’s responsibility to its citizens. Many topics were discussed and debated. But one major point, on which we all were in agreement, was that those who represent us in our local and national government must do better. They need to listen, and take actions that truly reflect the desires of those who elected them to public office.
The “Street Talk” events have allowed for Greensboro residents to come together and share ideas. There is something even more beautiful than our city about that. Special thanks to John Swaine, his staff and the volunteers for doing a wonderful job. I look forward to future events and I hope to see you there.
Reading the July 18 Letters to the Editor, it struck me as to just how this country is splitting apart along “color” lines. I don’t mean Black and white; I am talking about red and blue.
Full disclosure, I lean toward policies that dignify human rights, strive to provide economic equality and place truth at the top of the information pyramid. Interestingly, those only seeing the world through a red or blue lens can easily claim that this is their position as well. They make these claims repetitively in letters and columns in this and countless newspapers across the country.
I would encourage fellow Americans to remember that people who align with a party are neither evil nor saintly: they are all still Americans. And the value of this similarity grows less when the differences take a front seat to civil discourse. Please look each other in the eye and recognize that all of us want certain fundamental dignities. To reach them requires treating each other as the same flesh and blood as ourselves and not bound to a type or a color.
Carbon pricing is effective
Climate change is a burning issue out West while we back East experience increased hurricanes and high-tide coastal flooding. Yale’s 2020 opinion map shows 72% of Americans, 71% of North Carolinians and 77% of Guilford County residents believe in global warming (https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/visualizations-data/ycom-us/).
The majority of us know that climate change is real, yet may not know solutions. One free online scientific educational tool is “Climate Interactive En-Roads” (www.climateinteractive.org/tools/en-roads). This intuitive simulation model allows you to choose a scenario to limit future global warming with immediate feedback on the impacts. Yes, there are many synergistic solutions to climate change that help, yet “En-Roads” well demonstrates that carbon pricing is the most effective primary lever to reverse our ever-increasing atmospheric CO2 levels, from burning fossil fuels for our energy needs. In important economic terms, recently the G20 finance leaders collectively recognized the power of carbon pricing to address climate change, issuing their first official communique to coordinate economic carbon reduction policies with carbon pricing to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Why put a price on carbon? Read here: https://citizensclimatelobby.org/price-on-carbon/
Call Rep. Kathy Manning and Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis to co-sponsor carbon pricing legislation.
Show me the money
As Rod Tidwell would say, “Show me the money!” With some progressive “policies” from our new leaders, I should have some funds coming my way.
First, it seems my college loans will be forgiven. Back in 1981 and 1982, I borrowed $5,000 from College Foundation Inc., to help pay for my final two years of college. I paid the $5,000 back, so I should be getting the $5,000 returned to me.
Then we heard about employees getting $1,000 from the government for working. I worked at the same place for 37 years, although I admit, I am not sure if that means I’ll be getting $1,000 or $37,000.
Finally there is the case of reparations. With the idea of paying Black people, even if neither they nor any of their ancestors were slaves, I figured anyone who is Jewish would also be receiving reparations. As inhumane and disgraceful as slavery was, the Holocaust was, on many levels, just as bad. No, I was not personally affected by the Holocaust, but that does not seem to matter in the case of reparations for slavery. I look forward to receiving this money.
Today’s mail provided a blatant example of governmental waste. Four months after the fact, a three page Medicare Summary Notice for Part B informed me that I would not be billed for my second COVID vaccine injection. One of the pages gave information in English and 12 additional languages, several of which I had never seen before. Imagine the cost of creating and mailing this document for each injection given to the approximately 60 million Medicare beneficiaries. Admittedly, not every beneficiary will receive the vaccine. Still, the overall cost has to be significant and another example of bureaucratic waste. While this expense represents a minuscule percentage of the overall budget, just imagine how many other “little” expenses are created daily.
Instead of finding novel ways to increase our taxes, why not make a concerted effort to reduce unnecessary expenses, both small and large? It’s definitely time to institute truly effective oversight on how our money is spent. Legislators should treat our money with the respect that is due and deserved.