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Mourning two giants

EDITOR: Our nation has just mourned the loss of two giants of our time — one a cultural icon, and the other a statesman of the first order. Our xenophobic president was, not surprisingly, absent from the celebration of life for Aretha Franklin. And John McCain, ever the forward planner, left explicit instructions: President Donald Trump was unwanted and unwelcome. McCain never needed anyone to speak for him. But I expect he might agree with columnist George Will’s description of president Trump: “What an embarrassingly sad wreck of a man.”

Godspeed Aretha and John.

JIM FAHY

Santa Rosa

Oncologist accused

EDITOR: I am appalled that The Press Democrat would choose to publish such a salacious article on Dr. Peter Brett, a well-respected physician who has dedicated his career to cancer patients in Sonoma County (“Oncologist accused of abusing position, patient”).

The title implies that he was mistreating a patient at the Sutter Health facility. In fact, the article describes his 10-year affair with a woman who appears to have a personal vendetta against Brett. What was to be gained by publishing this article? Were actual patients under his care harmed in any way? Did The Press Democrat think nothing of sullying a gifted physician’s reputation in this very public way?

I am concerned about this article’s effect on his many devoted cancer patients, who look to Brett for hope and expert care in the most difficult times of their lives.

DR. LINDA CASEY

Santa Rosa

Glorifying war

EDITOR: The great praise being given to John McCain is creating a dangerous romanticization of war and the unbearable agony that the entire human race has suffered in the thousands of wars of our past.

We are foolishly praising our war heroes with such unconditional support that we forget the ugly reality of war. And, worst of all, we are forgetting the terrifying prospects that lie ahead for humanity if we continue with this unrealistic glorification of this nightmare.

The 16,000 nuclear weapons deployed by the world’s nine nuclear powers should be the strongest reminder to all of us that our acceptance and our unconscious fascination with war is leading us toward a global holocaust — an unbearable tragedy so horrible that it cannot even be imagined.

An awakening from our species’ ancient habitual practice of this organized murder is desperately needed to prevent the eventual destruction of all life on this planet. Our praise and love for war heroes must be redirected toward an even stronger love for peace heroes. Only this change can save humanity from self-annihilation.

RAMA KUMAR

Fairfax

A question to ponder

EDITOR: I listened to a lawyer from the American Civil Liberties Union who is involved in trying to return children to parents who came to our border hoping for a humane response to their plight, only to have their children snatched away and taken to God knows where.

The response from our government seems to be, “Well, we don’t know where they are, and it’s not our problem. Let the ACLU and other groups reunite the families.” The ACLU and other groups are trying to do just that.

Why does the government want to keep these kids? We will have to care for them, educate them and be responsible for them. We haven’t even dealt with the dreamers, who came here with and were cared for by their parents, lived here most of their lives and now may be deported.

Since the Trump administration isn’t exactly steeped in empathy, why do they want to keep these kids? Is it because they did a stupid thing and they don’t want to admit it?

GAIL OUTLAW

Santa Rosa

Collateral damage

EDITOR: As the Trump administration is eliminating “excessive” government regulation, we should recognize that existing deregulation is contributing to homelessness.

Many mentally ill people are refugees from closed asylums and inadequate community support services; veterans are refugees from inadequately funded veterans’ homes and medical care; chronically ill and disabled people are refugees from privatized medical care tied to full-time employment; the unemployed and underemployed are refugees from automation, offshore manufacturing and defunct labor unions; impoverished elderly people are refugees from 401(k) retirement accounts; taxi drivers and truck drivers are refugees of the gig economy and contract employment.

All are faced with increasing rents (“Renters with subsides getting squeezed out,” Aug. 17) and inadequate public transit. Although deregulation is mostly beyond local control, its effects are local.

The homeless are canaries in the coal mine, hinting at our vulnerabilities (“The fragility of our situation,” Aug. 12). Before we evict or arrest homeless people for public elimination, we could at least provide public toilets and garbage facilities and sanctioned parking areas. The recent spread of hepatitis A through California homeless populations (“Finding a place for the homeless,” Editorial, Aug. 22) reminds us that caring for the homeless is as much enlightened self-interest as charity.

SUE PARKER

Rohnert Park

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