Wisconsin’s losers reject democracy
Republican politicians are doing it again. In Wisconsin, the Republican Assembly has passed bills – waiting for outgoing Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s signature – that will change legislative rules, reducing the power of the incoming Democratic governor. This is a clear violation of the will of Wisconsin voters – who voted for change – and an affront to democracy.
This happened in 2016 in North Carolina, and is happening in Michigan and to a lesser extent Ohio and Missouri. Republicans have gerrymandered Wisconsin, where Democrats carried 53 percent of the popular vote to Republicans’ 45 percent yet Democrats occupy just a third of Assembly seats.
The whole idea of a democracy is that the will of the voting majority prevails over the will of a minority. In order to enforce their conservative agenda – unpopular with the majority of Wisconsin voters – Republicans are thwarting the will of the people. The implications for American democracy are enormous and should be publicly and resoundingly rejected!
Steve Bantly, Merced
We’re not living up to our ideals
Does the United States have compassion? The answer may vary depending on whom you ask, but I am starting to see that the U.S. only has compassion for those who may benefit them in return.
Since elementary school, I have learned about how great the U.S. is and the great things this country has done for other countries. Of course, this is only partially true as the U.S. is not as compassionate as I was taught. If it was, then families seeking asylum would not be treated the way they have been. Families have been separated and treated poorly for a long time. Research on family separation has shown that separating children from families has major behavioral and emotional impacts. My own mother has experienced a separation at the border when she was a child. Even two decades later she can recall everything from that day, which haunts her still.
Aileen Castellanos, Merced
Tormenting others can be terrifying
Terrorism has many faces. However, most people think of large terrorist attacks such as 9/11 when hearing the word. But one must recognize that terrorism exists in our own backyards.
Terrorism is “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political power,” according to Wikipedia. In recent events, many Americans have taken it upon themselves to terrorize minority groups. To successfully do this, white supremacy groups have arisen, emboldened by the administration of Donald Trump.
Minority groups are being targeted even on UC campuses, including our very own UC Merced. The campus Republican Club has targeted the Hispanic community various times in the last few years, including during a “tabling” event last spring when cards with ICE’s number were handed out – implying the Dreamers should be deported. Some students were so terrorized they required counseling services.
Since Trump’s presidency minority groups have lived in fear as supremacist groups have openly terrorized them. Terrorism and fear resides in our very own country.
Brittney Torres, Merced
Honored, thankful for re-election
I thank God first and foremost for my re-election. I thank my campaign managers and I thank my wing man Jose Leal, who went above and beyond to make this possible. I thank my family, my spiritual kids, my constituents, for believing in me. It was a tough campaign.
I also thank my opponent Geneva Brett, for whom I have a lot of respect, for bringing out the best in me. I wish her the best in future endeavors.
I don’t take this position lightly, and my hope is that others stepping up in the future will do it with the best intentions. This is about being and providing the best for our children. It is an honor to be able to sit on this board to make a difference alongside the other governance team board members.
I promise to work hard and continue to persistently push this district to be safe, fiscally responsible, transparent and accountable to our community – especially to the parents and children in our district. Under the leadership of superintendent Mark Marshall, let us all continue to march forward to make Los Banos Unified a model school district for others to follow. We can do this because we have the heart, passion, talent, including some of the best teachers and administrators in the county. Blessings to all, and once again, thank you.
Raymond R. Martinez, Los Banos