EDITOR: There is a lot of discussion lately about patriotism and what it means to be an American. For me, the answer is simple. To be a patriotic American is to believe in, and support, the Constitution of the United States. Our Constitution defines who we are as a country, how our government is run and our rights and responsibilities as citizens. Everyone who serves our country, from the military recruit to the president, takes an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution.
Despots throughout history have wrapped themselves in a flag, calling those who don’t follow suit disloyal to their country. These hypocrites give lip service to the symbols of flag and anthem, but their actions undermine the values that these symbols represent.
I was raised an Air Force dependent, a teenager when my father was deployed to Vietnam. So I have great respect for veterans. But the patriotic act of speaking truth to power, calling out the actions of leaders who violate their oath to the Constitution, is in no way disrespectful to veterans. On the contrary, it honors and affirms the values for which they fought and died.
EDITOR: I received a colostomy almost seven years ago due to a rectal GIST, or gastrointestinal stromal tumor. As a result, I am healthy and the president of the Ostomy Association of Sonoma County. Oct. 7 is Ostomy Awareness Day, and that is the reason for my letter. I will let the United Ostomy Association of America summarize the situation:
United Ostomy Associations of America estimates that 725,000 to 1 million people are living with an ostomy or continent diversion in the United States. An ostomy is a type of surgery that creates an opening in the abdomen that allows for the removal of bodily waste into a pouch outside the body. This life-saving surgery may occur due to birth defects, cancer, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, trauma and other medical conditions.
The Ostomy Association of Sonoma County is a safe place to share one’s fears and frustrations. Adjusting to an ostomy can be a trial, but when stabilized, life goes on, and no one need know or suspect. I witness because I have met folks who feel alone when they have no one with whom to share. You can reach us through www.ostomy.org/asg_pages_asg_023.html
President, Ostomy Association of Sonoma County
EDITOR: We all know that the drought is never really over here, with limited rainfall most years and increasing population. When California imposed its drought guidelines and reporting system in 2015, most of us did everything we could to reduce our use and comply with the inscrutable reporting requirements.
The problem was and is that business and agriculture were, inexplicably, exempt from the program. Drive the back roads of Sonoma County and observe the ag properties liberally watering fields during the hottest parts of the day. And the schools maintaining lawns that aren’t even playing fields. And the cemeteries (Pleasant Hill is particularly egregious) pleasing the dead with their blinding green lawns.
As long as we continue giving business and ag (and schools) a pass on conservation, we’re wasting our time on ineffective programs that swat at the gnats and let the elephants stomp us to death.