Letters for Saturday, April 29, 2017

• Gabbard displays courage, compassion • Walk to fight cancer • Hawaii to ban cigarettes?

Gabbard displays courage, compassion

I write to respond to Jason Blake’s focus on Tulsi Gabbard’s town hall meeting last Wednesday evening. I was there too and stayed for the one and a half hours of her presentation about North Korea and her responses to questions from the audience.

It was a remarkable demonstration of a knowledgeable and thoughtful representative of our state who clearly is committed to making this country’s citizens and people of the world safer and healthier, whatever their politics, gender, or social or economic status.

“People First” might well have been the theme of her remarks.

This was illustrated in her response to a question about why she had met with Bashar al-Assad, president of Syria, on a trip to Syria in January. That al-Assad has been a cruel and destructive leader is clear through the deaths and injuries of hundreds of thousands of Syrians, in their massive out-migration from its borders, and in the magnitude of destruction of cities and towns. It is about Gabbard’s willingness to visit with al-Assad that Blake objects, and he was dissatisfied with her answer.

Simply put, as I understand it, her position was, “Shouldn’t we explore every opportunity, including meeting directly with al-Assad, to improve our chances to stop the cruelty to women, men and children in a country so beset with contradictory conflicts as to defy resolution?”

In her response to the question Wednesday evening, Gabbard personalized her decision by describing the suffering of a child who pleaded with her for peace. That her visit does not seem to have brought any relief is beside the point. At least she tried, unpopular as this action has been, to address the problem.

Leaders of today’s world face incredible challenges, many of them without evident courses of action. I am grateful that Hawaii has a person of Tulsi Gabbard’s intelligence, courage and character representing us in our nation’s capital.

Leinani Springer, Koloa

Walk to fight cancer

My partner, Diane, and I formed a team to walk in Purple Stride on Kauai on Saturday to raise money and awareness in support of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

My family walked in Purple Stride in Raleigh, North Carolina and this was our second year of joining them virtually from Kauai. Pancreatic Cancer is a silent killer.

I take it personally as I watch Jim Hart, my sister’s husband, fight for his life every single day. He is a two-time survivor and among the 9 percent who outlive this horrible ordeal. Donations are completely optional and most welcome. By making a donation, you are supporting efforts to double survival for this deadly disease by 2020. Any amount is cool.

You can join our walk by meeting at Kapaa Pavilion behind the Neighborhood Center at 8 a.m. this Saturday. And wear purple. Much aloha and gratitude for this life.

Sue Buckley, Kapaa

Hawaii to ban cigarettes?

A possible future headline: “Hawaii first to ban sales of filtered cigarettes.”

State legislator(s) who introduced bill cited pollution and health concerns.

“We need to preserve and protect present and future generations of all life in the Aloha State.”

The long overdue measure passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. Big Tobacco continues to insist filters are necessary components of cigarettes because unfiltered is unhealthy and filtered cigarettes are … are … are … are flavorful.

Steven Bergey, Mountville, PA


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