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Dear Editor

As someone who has retired within the last year, I find myself looking back on my life and comparing my childhood to the childhood we experience today. No, I don't mean passing notes in class instead of texting, or having fun on playground equipment that is now considered too dangerous.

What are we, the generation that experienced lead poisoning to a far greater extent than any other, leaving those who come after us? What are they inheriting?

  1. Yearly record-breaking heat waves, so severe that lives are at risk world-wide. Crops are impacted, sea levels are encroaching on some of the most expensive real estate in the world. Cause: Clinging to fossil fuel policies we've known since the 70s were not sustainable and would lead to exactly the kinds of climate conditions we are currently experiencing. Our current administration is at least attempting to confront this with intelligent policies regarding the Keystone XL pipeline, sensibly refusing petroleum leases and drilling on government land, especially natural preserves that are the best hope of fighting climate change. Not to mention enticements to big finance for finding alternatives to this deadly consumption of unsafe fuel.
  2. Rising crime and murder rates, not only in major cities but even in rural areas. There are now millions of military-style AR-15 weapons in circulation, manufactured by around 500 companies. They are marketed with such slogans as "Gear for your daily gunfight." The problem is so pervasive that even a ban on them now would have little effect without confiscating existing weapons, and that won't happen, even though it's a perfectly viable solution, one that ought to be obvious and not dangerous.
  3. The constant and daily deluge of misinformation about the security of our borders. Often characterized as "masses" of people illegally crossing the border, the reality is that illegal crossings are at record lows.
  4. Misinformation about other subjects such as illegal drug overdose deaths, quoting fanciful statistics and even then don't begin to approach the deaths over the last few decades from our own prescription drug manufacturers which pumped out opioids like candy while enjoying government subsidies and protections that one of our two major political parties still fights vehemently for.

Some will point to the Reagan-esque "Are you better off today than you were 4 years ago?" Meaning are you happy with the current rate of inflation and the cost of goods? These folks conveniently ignore that the prosperity they enjoyed 4 years ago was largely due to the lasting impact of President Obama's policies in 8 years in office. The economy we see today is the result of President Trump's destructive and incoherent policies that are now coming home to roost.

President Biden and Congress are doing their best to recover, but they are still hampered by the half of Congress determined to say "No" to anything sensible. The economy will turn around, but it is large and unwieldy and does not change course, for example, the day a new president takes office.

When I hear that we should pack the Supreme Court, I remember that it was conservatives who for years refused to hold hearings on nominees at all levels of the federal judiciary so that they could pack the courts when they got into power.

When I hear that free speech is being censored, I am reminded that it's conservatives who want to ban teaching about critical subjects around sex and politics, and even remove such subjects from our public libraries.

When I hear complaints of police being vilified, I recall that it's the right that doesn't see a problem with police shooting a black man 36 times while he was running away.

These are not the views of people even concerned with solutions. They are the views of people who want to perpetuate problems for their own sake and their own need to force their limited viewpoints on all of us.

Anthony Bopp


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Darrin Lindsey July 28, 2022, 4:27 pm Mr. Bopp, The blind and brainwashed Trumpeteers can't see what's in front of their faces. They only know the phrases that are engrained in the minds, by the mobbed up con artist, and his minions, that they all worship. For the last three weeks, we've seen member after member of the Trump administration testify that their Lord Trump was responsible for organizing the January 6 terrorist attack on our nation's Capitol Building, and admitting that Trump knew that the 2020 was not fraudulent. Now, more Department Secretaries are set to testify this week and next week. Yet, 30% of this country still believes the con artist.
Norma Gould July 28, 2022, 9:00 pm I want to live in a country where the existence of an unborn fetus does not outweigh the life of a 10 year old girl. It is getting so bad in places like Texas where a woman who had a premature rupture of membranes which made her highly vulnerable to a uterine infection. She and her husband decided to end the pregnancy because the risk to her health was too great. Her Dr told her you can either stay here and wait to get sick where we can monitor you, or we discharge you and you monitor yourself. Or you wait till your baby's heartbeat stops. What a hell texas put her through. This is what republicans are doing to women.

They also voted against a bill to help veterans who were sick because of toxins they came in contact with while in service to this country. Remember all the people who came in contact with Agent Orange and later got cancer. Republicans said no to their care. They were on the senate floor fist bumping as they celebrated that they had killed the vets bill, all out of revenge.

Some of them are now saying they are Christian Nationalist but they have no idea what it even means. This is what Victor Orban touts and now Victor is speaking at CPAC in spite of his Nazi speech that caused his aide to resign. He is against "race mixing." No immigrants are allowed in Hungary. That is the direction some republicans want to go.

Jesus was a middle eastern bleeding heart liberal socialist who challenged authority and had conviction. Everything conservatives hate.

Fox is not going to tell you the truth about any of this. You have to go to CNN or MSNBC to get the truth. You will find out the truth about some of the republicans candidates running in November.

If a 10 year old can't sit in the front seat of a car then maybe you shouldn't be requiring her to become a mother. Those who deny rights to others should not have them for themselves. Last year there were 20 million guns sold in the United States. 250+ mass shootings and a woman's body is more regulated than a gun.

Norma Gould
Todd Frank July 28, 2022, 10:37 pm Norman Lear turned 100 on Wednesday. His comments, published in the New York Times, seem to compliment this opinion thread well:

Well, I made it. I turned 100 years old on Wednesday. I wake up every morning grateful to be alive.

Reaching my own personal centennial is cause for a bit of reflection on my first century — and on what the next century will bring for the people and country I love. To be honest, I'm a bit worried that I may be in better shape than our democracy is.

I was deeply troubled by the attack on Congress on Jan. 6, 2021 — by supporters of former President Donald Trump attempting to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. Those concerns have only grown with every revelation about just how far Mr. Trump was willing to go to stay in office after being rejected by voters — and about his ongoing efforts to install loyalists in positions with the power to sway future elections.

I don't take the threat of authoritarianism lightly. As a young man, I dropped out of college when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and joined the U.S. Army Air Forces. I flew more than 50 missions in a B-17 bomber to defeat Fascism consuming Europe. I am a flag-waving believer in truth, justice and the American way, and I don't understand how so many people who call themselves patriots can support efforts to undermine our democracy and our Constitution. It is alarming.

At the same time, I have been moved by the courage of the handful of conservative Republican lawmakers, lawyers and former White House staffers who resisted Trump's bullying. They give me hope that Americans can find unexpected common ground with friends and family whose politics differ but who are not willing to sacrifice core democratic principles.

Encouraging that kind of conversation was a goal of mine when we began broadcasting "All in the Family" in 1971. The kinds of topics Archie Bunker and his family argued about — issues that were dividing Americans from one another, such as racism, feminism, homosexuality, the Vietnam War and Watergate — were certainly being talked about in homes and families. They just weren't being acknowledged on television.

For all his faults, Archie loved his country and he loved his family, even when they called him out on his ignorance and bigotries. If Archie had been around 50 years later, he probably would have watched Fox News. He probably would have been a Trump voter. But I think that the sight of the American flag being used to attack Capitol Police would have sickened him. I hope that the resolve shown by U.S. Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, and their commitment to exposing the truth, would have won his respect.

It is remarkable to consider that television — the medium for which I am most well-known — did not even exist when I was born, in 1922. The internet came along decades later, and then social media. We have seen that each of these technologies can be put to destructive use — spreading lies, sowing hatred and creating the conditions for authoritarianism to take root. But that is not the whole story. Innovative technologies create new ways for us to express ourselves, and, I hope, will allow humanity to learn more about itself and better understand one another's ideas, failures and achievements. These technologies have also been used to create connection, community and platforms for the kind of ideological sparring that might have drawn Archie to a keyboard. I can only imagine the creative and constructive possibilities that technological innovation might offer us in solving some of our most intractable problems.

I often feel disheartened by the direction that our politics, courts and culture are taking. But I do not lose faith in our country or its future. I remind myself how far we have come. I think of the brilliantly creative people I have had the pleasure to work with in entertainment and politics, and at People for the American Way, a progressive group I co-founded to defend our freedoms and build a country in which all people benefit from the blessings of liberty. Those encounters renew my belief that Americans will find ways to build solidarity on behalf of our values, our country and our fragile planet.

Those closest to me know that I try to stay forward-focused. Two of my favorite words are "over" and "next." It's an attitude that has served me well through a long life of ups and downs, along with a deeply felt appreciation for the absurdity of the human condition.

Reaching this birthday with my health and wits mostly intact is a privilege. Approaching it with loving family, friends and creative collaborators to share my days has filled me with a gratitude I can hardly express.

This is our century, dear reader, yours and mine. Let us encourage one another with visions of a shared future. And let us bring all the grit and openheartedness and creative spirit we can muster to gather together and build that future.

Norman Lear produced "All in the Family," "Maude," "The Jeffersons" and "Good Times," among other groundbreaking television shows. He is a member of the Television Academy Hall of Fame and a recipient of the National Medal of Arts and Kennedy Center Honors. An activist and philanthropist, he co-founded and serves on the board of the advocacy organization People for the American Way. This article originally appeared in the New York Times.
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