Letters to the Editor: Feb. 8, 2017

Keep PA sov­er­eign from the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment

In re­sponse to state Rep. Ed Neilson’s Let­ter to the Ed­it­or, “Ex­ten­sion won’t fix ID mess,” pub­lished on Feb. 1:

Rep. Neilson, after present­ing all of the prob­lems with the Real ID Act, you state, “By Janu­ary 2018, our state iden­ti­fic­a­tion would no longer be ac­cep­ted for do­mest­ic air travel. Sounds crazy? It is. But un­less fur­ther ac­tion is taken, every Pennsylvani­an will need a pass­port to fly com­mer­cially…” You then go on to de­scribe your ef­forts to “…re­solve the un­der­ly­ing non-com­pli­ance is­sue and al­low PennDOT to work to­ward meet­ing the en­hanced se­cur­ity stand­ards.” I agree with you that the situ­ation is crazy. It is crazy that you are will­ing to sub­jug­ate the sov­er­eignty of the com­mon­wealth of Pennsylvania to the im­per­i­al dic­tates of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment via the threatened black­mail of caus­ing hard­ships for the cit­izens of this state for “non-com­pli­ance.” If ever there were a states’ rights is­sue, this is a fun­da­ment­al one. With the Real ID Act, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has done noth­ing less than at­tempt to na­tion­al­ize driver and non-driver li­cens­ing and in the pro­cess cre­ate a de facto na­tion­al iden­ti­fic­a­tion card and re­gistry. 

Every poll taken in­dic­ates that an over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of Amer­ic­ans are op­posed to any sort of na­tion­al re­gistry. This in­cludes Pennsylvani­ans, and I am con­fid­ent this in­cludes the people in your dis­trict. What makes this even worse is that politi­cians like you are will­ingly hand­ing over our state sov­er­eignty. It is also crazy that you are will­ing to im­ple­ment this pro­gram for something that in all like­li­hood will not work for its stated in­ten­ded pur­pose. In fact, the Real ID Act de­creases our na­tion­al se­cur­ity and per­son­al safety by pla­cing people’s in­form­a­tion in­to a cent­ral­ized data­base that will be sub­ject to hack­ing and ab­use by those with ac­cess. His­tory has clearly taught us that such re­gis­tries are in­ev­it­ably mis­used.

In ad­di­tion, you be­gin your let­ter by men­tion­ing the deep par­tis­an di­vide in Wash­ing­ton D.C. However, the Real ID Act was passed by a Re­pub­lic­an Con­gress and signed in­to law by a Re­pub­lic­an pres­id­ent. Yet, a Pennsylvania Re­pub­lic­an Le­gis­lature and Re­pub­lic­an gov­ernor for­bade its im­ple­ment­a­tion. That should tell you something. The as­sump­tion that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment knows bet­ter, when it comes to state iden­ti­fic­a­tion, is simply wrong. Our sys­tem is not broken, and in fact, you can­not provide any evid­ence that Pennsylvania’s sys­tem for is­su­ing iden­ti­fic­a­tion has any se­cur­ity flaws that are ad­dressed by the Real ID Act. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

Fi­nally, many will find it quite hy­po­crit­ic­al if you end up es­pous­ing state sov­er­eignty when it comes to sanc­tu­ary cit­ies, yet ig­nore it as it per­tains to this is­sue. 

Wil­li­am J. Lawl­er II

Up­per Holmes­burg

Hold them ac­count­able

As Re­pub­lic­ans — now in con­trol of the White House, the Sen­ate and the House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives — set out to re­peal Obama­care and ser­i­ously erode Medi­care and Medi­caid, should they suc­ceed, I pro­pose a means of hold­ing them ac­count­able with a series of bill­boards … lit­er­ally bill­boards … to be placed in heav­ily traveled and pop­u­lated loc­a­tions in every state in the United States. 

They should read as fol­lows: “These Pennsylvani­ans died after con­gres­sion­al Re­pub­lic­ans took their Obama­care, Medi­care or Medi­caid. Name/Date of death. Name of (State) mem­ber of Con­gress re­spons­ible.”

While I read­ily con­cede that not all ser­i­ous, un­treated ill­nesses and deaths be­fall­ing un­in­sured vic­tims in a post-Obama­care era could be defin­it­ively at­trib­uted to a re­pealed-but-un­re­placed, or, ser­i­ously com­prom­ised af­ford­able care situ­ation, nev­er­the­less, politi­cians/le­gis­lat­ors must be made to own their ini­ti­at­ives.

In­stead of re­form­ing the in­sur­ance in­dustry and our health care sys­tem by passing laws to pro­tect Amer­ic­ans and pre­vent us from hav­ing to choose between sick­ness, life, death or per­son­al bank­ruptcy, Mr. Trump and a Re­pub­lic­an Con­gress ap­pear to be on the way to “Mak­ing Amer­ica Great Again” for cor­por­a­tions, CEOs and ol­ig­archs rather than for the av­er­age cit­izen.

As it is of­ten pos­ited, “Elec­tions have con­sequences.” Of great­er con­sequences, are laws that put budgets and polit­ic­al agen­das above the ba­sic needs of hu­man be­ings. 

Ar­thur Gur­mankin


Drive safely, young­sters

In re­sponse to Joseph Caristo’s Let­ter to the Ed­it­or, “Drive safely, han­di­capped seni­ors,” pub­lished on Dec. 28:

I would look around at drivers at a young­er age and say to them, “Drive safely” and stop us­ing cell phones and tex­ting while driv­ing, which causes more ac­ci­dents than a han­di­capped plac­ard hanging from the rear-view mir­ror.

Ro­ger Shaw


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