Letters to the editor, Feb. 13, 2017

February 12, 2017 GMT

Donald Trump, who has wormed his way into our presidency, never should have gotten there. He is categorically unfit by his habits of bullying, braggadocio and false bombast, not to say all normal considerations of character, background and suitability. His followers are still hoping, in vain, that he will turn Washington, D.C., on its ear; if you still believe that stuff, please take a look at the Cabinet he has nominated and the presidential commands he has issued.

I have served this country well during my years in the U.S. Foreign Service, in posts that included the U.N., Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Haiti (counternarcotics chief), various posts in West Africa and two tours in Iraq at ages well past normal retirement. I have personally never seen such an assault on American values and norms. I gather that around the time of my birth (1943), there were many who saw such a wall as necessary against imagined foreign invasion; one result is the shameful legacy of Japanese-American internment camps. I have read of the sufferings of Irish and German immigrants impressed into the U.S. Army about the time of the war against Mexico in the mid-1800s. It seems we go through one of these America-first episodes every 80 to 100 years.

Trump has no right to lead the politics and command the armed forces of the United States. He may have been elected by outmoded methods of calculation, but I speak for nearly 3 million Americans when I say that this man is not my president. Republican voters and representatives, be ashamed, not least for what is to come.

Richard S.D. Hawkins

Santa Fe

Quality conference

Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center generously gave the mental health and health communities an excellent free bioethics conference, held at the Hotel Santa Fe, called “The Spectrum of Health Caring: Compassion, Kindness, Sympathy Empathy.” It was one of the best conferences I have attended in the past 45 years. The speakers were all experts and interesting. There was open give and take between them and the audience. Christus St. Vincent fed us intellectually and also literally, with a delicious lunch. In the afternoon there were workshops, again with experts, building on the subjects from the morning presentations. Given all that went into organizing it and bringing speakers from all over the country, Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center was generous with its money and staff time.

Elizabeth Stirling, Ph.D.

Santa Fe

Not funny, offensive

Carlsbad Councilor J.R. Doporto deserved being fired (“Carlsbad councilor fired from job over post plans lawsuit,” Feb. 3) as the first step in his forced rehabilitation; and when he says he is being punished for his “free speech joke,” the response should be his willing or unwilling participation in a millennium-generation “contest” mocking his joke, making an appropriate selfie-style music video put on YouTube with perhaps among other things a “slapping” refrain with women mocking his 1950s notion of domestic violence and servitude.

Kim Switzer

Rio Rancho

No children’s advocate

I disagree with Gov. Susana Martinez (“DeVos can improve education for all,” My View, Jan. 24). Betsy DeVos is neither an advocate for children nor an educator. She is a lobbyist whose vast fortune buys legislation advancing her agenda. In a 1997 op-ed in Roll Call, she admitted she buys influence. “We expect a return on our investment … we expect the Republican Party to use the money to promote these policies and, yes, to win elections!” Her nomination was bought and paid for.

She advocates for school choice and charter schools, not children. Rather than promoting accountability, in 2016 her Michigan political action committee, Great Lakes Education Project, spent $1.45 million to successfully defeat a bipartisan provision to provide charter school oversight. Her money was spent to keep Michigan schools outside the reach of those who could monitor the progress of the children and the schools.

Laura J. Hussong

Santa Fe

Raising funds

Gov. Susana Martinez proclaims that the solution to our deficit is further belt-tightening. Following this advice will affect our court system, educators, education system, children, public libraries, roads, infrastructure, elderly, parks, health care system, police, tourism and poor. Under Martinez’s leadership for the past six years, we are now down to the bare bones. It’s not just the current deficit; we have no reserves. We are in crisis.

I suggest that we raise the gas tax 15 cents a gallon to stabilize ourselves and to cancel any current and proposed nonessential projects (“Local-option fuel tax gains bipartisan support,” Feb. 4). Five cents would go to road maintenance; 5 cents to our state’s reserves; and 5 cents to our deficit. This is the most equitable method to raise these funds.

One last thought. New Mexico has an unending source of sun and wind. Why don’t we make developing these resources a priority and become the green power state of the Southwest?

Timothy Hoag

Santa Fe