Letter to the Editor: Republican Candidates Offer Simplistic Responses to Complex Issues

The Q&As in the Peninsula Pulse with Joel Kitchens and Milt Swagel were interesting [July 15-22 issue]. 

Kitchens said he voted against greater funding for the school-choice program, reducing property taxes by $500 million. He admits that “64% of fourth-grade readers” are below their age-reading level. He does not indicate any connection between these – depriving schools of that money damages their delivery of growth in reading skills.

He offers phonics as the method of improving reading. English is not a phonetic language. For many words in adult vocabulary, words do not sound the way they are spelled, making phonics unhelpful and a method that needs supplementing with other methods.

The candidates’ views about abortion follow the recent Supreme Court decision, but they have nothing to say about the growth in welfare applicants if all abortions stop, and its impact on state taxes.

Their views about gun laws – no tightening of controls over the sale of guns, or over parents’ cars carrying loaded guns at school drop-offs and pickups – assumes there are “criminals” and “parents,” with zero overlap of these two categories. 

More than half of all gun-related deaths are suicides. Many involve parental violence over custody disputes, with recent strong growth in parental violence toward principals and teachers. Massacres are a small minority of killings, though spectacular. 

In a country where anybody can enter a store and buy a gun that’s immensely more powerful than anything that was available when the 1780s U.S. Constitution was written, the focus on whether guns used in killings were “illegal” is a diversion from facing up to the issues of widespread gun ownership and no real control over who can obtain one, including people with serious mental illnesses or anti-social ideologies.

The candidates’ abortion position is about the “sanctity of life.” Anybody who takes that seriously would ban all guns. A gun’s purpose is to destroy life, which has no sanctity to anybody with a gun – a glaring inconsistency.

My impression from reading the interviews is that neither candidate understands how to manage a modern society committed to full employment, requiring big government. Their policies are full of simplistic responses to complex issues.

Robert Bender

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin