This is in response to Russ Cross’ letter of Aug. 15 claiming conservatives offer no solutions (“Let’s figure out solutions,” Voices).
While many of us feel that the worst threat facing our experiment in democracy is posed by the biased echo chamber of NPR, the mainstream media and the censorship by big tech of thoughts and facts not consistent with leftist ideology, I will first address the threats mentioned by Mr. Cross.
He also mentioned conspiracy theories. Does he include the Trump/Putin conspiracy myth, which has probably done more damage to the country than any others in history?
I think we can all agree with the wisdom in the Hippocratic oath “First, do no harm.”
So let’s see:
1. Forest fires. The forest fire problem has always been with us, and it will grow to the extent the climate warms. However, mismanagement of forests in the name of new age conservationists has probably done more than anything else, certainly to increase the fuel load (one of the three requirements for fire).
Therefore, a solution would be to go back to the controlled burn and economically beneficial regulated harvesting that was practiced successfully for decades, and perhaps also consider zoning to protect people from the folly of putting themselves and society at greater risk by living in the highest fire hazard areas.
For many reasons, it might be a good idea to compare the number of forest fires (and resulting C02 emissions) caused by natural gas lines with those caused by electric wires.
2. Fresh water. Fresh water will always be a problem, certainly in the West.
However, it is made worse by not allowing new reservoirs and encouraging people to live in arid areas, I suspect to increase the tax base (see Santa Barbara). A mitigation would be to reverse both of these policies, and a cure could be to devote resources to nuclear energy sufficient to pump water from where it is to where it isn’t. (Please see discussion of climate change later in this article.
3. Homelessness. Homelessness has been made worse by acceptance and undeserved sympathy because we treat all of the homeless as a homogeneous group. They are not, and since we do not have unlimited resources, we need to prioritize.
I suggest helping wounded veterans first, single mothers who accept treatment of any underlying problems second, single moms who are not part of the prior group third, truly handicapped fourth, and finally, those who make bad choices or chose the lifestyle. As to the final group, if they are physically able, they should be required to do work for the aid they receive, such as clean up trash (their own?), walking shelter dogs and perhaps even performing park maintenance.
4. Immigration. The border was under control when President Joe Biden took office, and while it will always be a problem, the current crisis is totally the result of misguided policies in order to prove he wasn’t Donald Trump. A solution would be to correct any real deficiencies in our legal immigration policies, so that qualified people who can be a benefit to the country can legally immigrate.
The misguided policy of pursuing “root causes” is patently absurd when one recognizes that there are root causes in every third-world country. We couldn’t change enough of them to make a difference, even if we could afford it.
For so many people to want to come here is amazing in view of the left’s view that this is a bad, racist country. Wait a minute …. Maybe they are secretly coming up with a way to discourage mass immigration.
5. COVID-19. The COVID crisis is being made worse by the current immigration crisis as well as by mixed messages all along, starting with Uncle Joe and Vice President Kamala Harris condemning the vaccine when Mr. Trump was in office.
We need to recognize that the highest proportion of unvaccinated is among people of color and not conservatives. So focusing our vaccination efforts where most needed instead of where it is politically correct would probably be a good step. In addition, recognizing that as bad as they are, the real numbers of COVID, not “COVID-related,” deaths and hospitalizations do not justify bankrupting the entire economy and doing huge emotional and intellectual damage to the people, especially the young.
The figures that truly show the negative impact of the COVID hysteria should be readily available so that the entire population of 360 million people can decide if they want to have their lives turned upside down. It is at least reasonable to question the wisdom of the current measures without being “canceled” and accused of being a COVID “denier”.
6. Racism. Racism has been made worse by the current approved policies of accusing the U.S. of being systemically racist and rewarding with praise those who break the law while they are “peacefully protesting” for justice. Solutions include stopping the effort to balkanize the U.S. by stirring class and racial jealousies and hatred in order to divide and conquer, even though it worked for Marx.
In reality, critical race theory is currently the most blatant form of racism in the country, and the left embraces it.
7. Education. Education is a problem; in fact, California public schools are a disaster. Good teachers must be rewarded and bad teachers must be replaced.
Free choice for those who prefer charter schools and the extreme influence of teachers unions in the state could be addressed realistically to improve education.
8. Economics. Inflation has obviously been made worse by blatant disregard for basic economics and common sense and the printing of more and more money to fund leftist priorities. We should stop printing so much money to buy votes.
Let’s deal with the worst impacts of the COVID pandemic in a humanitarian and fair way. We are on a boat that some are rowing, some are just sitting, and others are punching holes in the bottom.
We had the best economy in 50 years before COVID and President Biden, and we can do it again.
9. Climate Change. The climate always changes.
The solution is do what successful species have always done: Adjust to the changes. We could if we stopped throwing money in the egocentric belief that we can control the climate or the laughable concept that a 2 to 4 degree difference over 100 years will change the outcome of the ever-changing climate in any meaningful way.
Let’s spend the money on adaptations to climate change. (And don’t spend $15 million for a home on the beach in Martha’s Vineyard if you truly believe the seas are rising.)
There are also problems involving many of our enemies throughout the world, which are getting worse. I will limit my comments to Afghanistan, which is sadly a prime example of not following the edict to “first do no harm.”
Most, but not all, agree that it was time to get out of Afghanistan.
However, conflating getting out with absolutely no planning on how to deal with the obvious consequences is an obvious 21st-century tragedy. Basic military tactics and strategies regarding evacuation are to move civilians first, equipment second, and troops third, not the opposite. The destiny of women and girls in Afghanistan will be the lasting legacy of President Biden’s hubris and ignorance.
None of the foregoing are perfect, except perhaps the Oath. All of the foregoing solutions are certainly worth considering without being called a racist, homophobe, xenophobe, Nazi or, God forbid, a “deplorable” for doing so. These solutions are affordable at far less cost than we are currently spending on making things worse.
Thank you for your patience.
The author lives in Santa Barbara