Candidates talk of values,

but what do they mean?

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

The debates among the Democratic Party candidates for president are about to begin. Many of the candidates speak about their “values” to try to distinguish themselves from the others, and President Trump in particular.

Amy Klobuchar campaigns on her “Midwestern values.” Joe Biden talks about “middle-class values.” But isn’t this just another form of identity politics? How do values differ between regions of the country; rich and poor; city mouse and country mouse; gender or race?

The candidates scramble all over Iowa because their campaigns either sink or swim there. Why? Iowa has a little more than 3 million people, barely 1% of the U.S. population. It is 90% white and more than three-quarters Christian. Are “Midwestern values” code for white and Christian? Why not simply speak of American values, or even human values?

Is it too much to ask that the air we breathe and the water we drink do not poison us? That everyone should have access to safe, affordable, nutritious food, and a safe and secure roof over their heads? When illness does strike, shouldn’t people receive the same quality of care, regardless of socio-economic status, and not go bankrupt in the course of treatment to satisfy the greed of others? I do not expect the government to hand these things to us on a platter, but everyone should have the opportunity for honest living wages for honest work and all should be treated with dignity and respect by employers and co-workers. For those with children, in addition to basic needs being met, they should have access to quality education in a safe environment. For those unable to work and provide for themselves, there should be a safety net.

Karen Dubosky.

Providence Forge.

Bipartisan solution needed

to address climate change

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

I recently attended Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s 10th Annual International Conference and Lobby Day in Washington, D.C., along with four other volunteers from Richmond, and about 1,500 from all over the U.S. There are 535 members of Congress, and we met with 526 of them. This was the first time we’ve all been lobbying for an actual bill, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (H.R. 763).

One of my favorite things about CCL is its laser-focus on passing this key piece of legislation that will reduce our country’s carbon emissions. Since I’m a mom of two small children and relate most things to motherhood, let me explain it this way: If my toddler has been enjoying an ice cream cone that is now dripping all over her, my first action would not be to start wiping her sticky mouth and fingers, to scrub her soiled dress, or even whisk her away to the bathtub. No, first I would get rid of the ice cream cone.

Similarly, our world has enjoyed the sweet benefits of fossil fuels for many years, but now we’re seeing that they’ve gotten us into a sticky situation, so it’s time to phase them out in a practical and amicable way. Scientists, economists and other experts agree that the best way to do that is to put a price on carbon at the source and return the dividends to families like yours and mine.

I know that the road to passing this bill or a similar one is long, but it was heartening for me to see firsthand that the majority of members of Congress agree that the climate crisis must be addressed, and are willing to come together to talk about bipartisan solutions.

Mollee Sullivan.

Midlothian.

End politicization

of Justice Department

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Why do all republics die from suicide? We have been witnessing this for quite some time. The health of our republic depends on the health of our justice system. Today our justice system has become politicized and has become a tug of war between the president and Congress. This cannot endure. We must restructure the Justice Department as a fourth branch of government. The Justice Department must be perceived as just or our republic will not endure.

J.W. Eads.

Manakin-Sabot.

All children need

life-saving vaccines

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Twenty-six years ago, I gave birth to identical twins. Sadly, one was stillborn. The other, Molly, survived at 26 weeks against incredible odds. After 92 harrowing days in the NICU, we were finally able to bring her home. It was during those days in the NICU, however, that a well-meaning nurse advised against vaccinating our child. This was five years before the now infamous article by Andrew Wakefield, but in her opinion, our premature baby would always be too small and weak to withstand any “potential risks.” As a parent, I had been a helpless bystander in the NICU while my child endured significant challenges and medical uncertainty. I clung to this counsel, hoping it would alleviate my fear and give me some semblance of control.

At Molly’s first appointment in the pediatrician’s office, as she lay on the examining table as fragile as a baby bird, I shared my newfound “wisdom” regarding vaccinations with Dr. Mark Shreve. As I would learn in the coming years, what happened next was classic Dr. Shreve. He kindly and gently put his arm around me and said, “She is a survivor and has overcome the near impossible. We will do everything we can to give her a normal life, and we will be vaccinating Molly. We need to fight for her, not against her.”

Today, Molly is a healthy, confident, college-educated woman living with cerebral palsy. There have been many trials and triumphs in her life, but I shudder to think what she could have been exposed to in those first precarious years had she not been vaccinated.

When I look at Molly today and think of Dr. Shreve, it is always with a grateful smile. Parenting is not for the faint of heart and all babies are survivors. Dr. Shreve’s core belief that the “parent-physician” trust is integral to children’s health and development is the counsel all of us should follow. The irony is not lost on me that all those years ago he said “we,” not “you,” in regards to this crucial decision. We were a team, and as with all things, Dr. Shreve was the sage. We need to fight for our children, not against them. We need to vaccinate.

Jane Carter.

Richmond.

By turning to Dean,

Democrats sink to new low

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In their continued obsession to overturn the results of the 2016 presidential election, Democrats might have reached a new low last month. When the two-year Mueller investigation of President Trump yielded no clear or compelling evidence of Russian collusion or obstruction of justice, congressional Democrats turned to convicted Watergate criminal John Dean as their star witness to attempt to revive their efforts focused solely on impeachment. John Dean, by the way, spent four months in federal prison for obstruction of justice arising from his role in the Watergate scandal of the 1970s. The mere fact that Democrats would go to this extreme in their efforts to unseat a sitting president speaks volumes about where the party is today and where it is likely headed in the near future. This latest move of political desperation by Democrats should have about as much credibility with most Americans as last year’s decision by the College of William & Mary to hire Jim Comey to teach a course on ethics. Both cases defy logic and typify the modern-day, out-of-control liberal movement.

David Edmunds.

Midlothian.

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