Letters to the editor — Jan. 8, 2020

Ignorance is no excuse No. 2

In these days of modern technology, there is no reason for anyone to remain uninformed (ignorant) about almost anything. Almost everyone has access to a smart phone and/or a computer; both have search engines such as Google, which provide instant, timely, factual information — and book reviews. Also, almost everyone age 12 and older can read, and almost all U.S. public libraries provide free book loans for two to three weeks.

So, if anyone wants to remain uninformed on almost any subject, it is his/her choice. Modern examples of some of these ignorant choices include: the beginning persistent tobacco smoker, alcohol beverage drinker, social drug user; the school dropout; an uninformed voter, and/or an unwanted pregnancy or an HIV infection.

I believe factual knowledge provides many benefits to almost every individual in most aspects of life, including: personal recognition of risks from smoking, alcohol, drug use or sexual activity for both sexes; intelligent, useful conversation; positive job interviews; the ability to separate reality from fiction; improving personal curiosity and understanding, and the list goes on.

Knowledge is the opposite of ignorance. Question: Who wouldn’t want to be more knowledgeable? The choice is ours.

Book suggestions: For technology, “Thank You for Being Late” (Thomas Friedman, 2016) for climate change, “The Ice at the End of the World” (Jon Gertner, 2019); for politics, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” (Bandy Lee, 2017), and for success, “Grit – The Power of Passion and Perseverance” (Angela Duckworth, 2016).

Richard Hahn


A republic, if we can keep it

In response to Bertha Cooper’s latest screed (“An impossible year,” Sequim Gazette, Jan. 1, page A-10) — specifically the section entitled “American people more than politics”:

Cooper states, “People shouldn’t have to be on watch 24/7.” My response, we damn well better be or we lose our country!

Back on Sept. 17, 1787, after the signing of our Constitution (I admit to using an internet search engine to refresh my civics), a Mrs. Eliza Powell of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well what have we got doctor, a republic or a monarchy?”

Franklin replied, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.”

The operative words are, “if you can keep it.” That requires constant vigilance on the part of all of us, does it mean forgetting about daily living? Of course not. It means staying aware of what’s going on by referring to our vaunted Fourth Estate, biased though it may be it is still our only source of current national events, the internet notwithstanding.

We the people have a responsibility to our magnificent country which requires staying constantly alert.

Finally, a question for Cooper based upon the following: “After all, I’ve written about the atrocities of killings, discrimination, theft of property and denials of humanity in our nation’s history.” Why do you dwell upon our nation’s perceived shortcomings?

On the coming Fourth of July we will have been the finest nation on earth with a form of government that has persisted for 244 years. Talk about that for a change; it will make your columns much more readable.

Ethan Harris