Letters for Saturday, July 1, 2017

• Treat all with respect • Health care improvements needed

Treat all with respect

The month of June is celebrated nationwide as LGBT Pride Month. As a gay citizen and former activist, I always look forward to this time to reflect on our successes gained on the road we have traveled toward obtaining the same basic human rights as afforded our other citizens.

LGBT Pride is celebrated in June because of a demonstration that took place on June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village. Gay bars were routinely raided by the New York City Police but on this day, the people fought back. The brawl became a riot forcing the police to call back up. This went on for several days. This was the day we said no more. We will no longer be counted as second class citizens.

We have seen much progress. Gays can now serve openly in the military. Many churches are open and affirming, fully accepting their LGBT members. Same-sex marriage is legal across the nation. But in spite of all this progress, we still have a long way to go.

Yes, gays can get married in any state, but in most states they could still be fired for being gay. Violence is still a real threat as recently seen in the June 12, 2016 mass-shooting at the Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. 49 people were killed and 58 wounded. Suicide is the leading cause of death among Gay and Lesbian youth nationally. And the political times we live in now has done nothing to calm the violence.

For this Pride Month, I ask my LGBT brothers and sisters to stand tall and be proud of who you are. Take time to learn our history and remember those who have come before for you, many of whom have fought and died so that we may have a better life. To any of our gay youth who are struggling with your life, remember you are not alone. Help is available. Seek it out. It does get better.

To my straight brothers and sisters I ask you to understand that we are not all that different from you. We have the same wants and desires as you. We wish to seek out and maintain emotional relationships and to participate in the life of this country on an equal basis with every other citizen.

The time has come. Stop The Hate.

Loyd Clayton, Hanapepe

Health care improvements needed

Many Democrats are pushing for a government-run healthcare system, a single-payer system (SPS). For those who remember the USSR, it is quite obvious that a government-run economy performs much worse than a free-market economy.

Government officials in Canada get whatever procedures they need. But, average Canadians often die on a waiting list.

It is not necessary to experiment with a national SPS. Canada’s economy is much smaller than California’s. We have a brilliant system of sovereign states where any state can try SPS healthcare. Vermont tried it in 2011. Other states could try it and see how it works.

The biggest problem is that Americans are literally killing themselves. Sixty-seven percent of Americans are overweight. Eighty percent do not get enough exercise. Americans consume far too much junk food, sugar, dairy, meat, alcohol, tobacco, etc. One study estimated that 86 percent of our healthcare costs could be avoided with proper diet and exercise.

Doctors prescribe far too many drugs that are much too expensive, influenced by corporations using the government’s power to maximize their income. A friend recently told me that she gets regular shots for pain that Medicare pays for (with our tax dollars) at $4,800 per shot.

Instead of SPS, a better approach would be to design a system where the free market can function while the poor also have access and the government uses its role to reduce costs rather than raise costs.

Mark Beeksma, Koloa

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