One of the hallmarks of democratic countries is that after elections there is a peaceful transition of power. While campaigns can be hard fought over major differences, citizens generally trust their society’s institutions and elections. They understand that such trust holds society together, and that refusal to follow established democratic practices and law leads to chaos. Two weeks ago, President Trump said that he cannot guarantee a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election. Is this the statement of a man who swore to uphold the Constitution and protect the American people, one who understands what democracy means and the tragedy if it is lost? Does this not sound like dictators around the world, past and present, who refuse to step down? We may be on the verge of civil war and this president continues to sow division, intolerance, and encourage interference with the election. And it’s not just President Trump. The national Republican Party has become what conservative columnist David Brooks calls an anti-political identity movement that suppresses disagreement and demands total loyalty to Trump, not unlike a cult. The Democrats, by contrast, still operate like a normal political party by serving as a vehicle for diverse interests and practicing compromise to develop legislation. It plays by the rules and believes in the rule of law. The recent example of the Republican intent to vote on their Supreme Court nominee a month before the election, when they denied President Obama even hearings almost a year before the last election, demonstrates their hypocrisy and rejection of the fair play needed for democracy to work. Some of us might not like some of the factions within the Democratic Party, but the party is primarily centrist and supports mainstream programs like infrastructure and healthcare. Joe Biden represents this centrist core, and he can bring stability, cooperation, and mutual respect to our struggling nation.
Michael Roland, Nassau
To Sand Lake and Rensselaer County Officials
There is little about November’s election that unites Republicans and Democrats. But Republicans have joined Democrats in strongly objecting to President Trump’s statements that mail-in voting leads to voting fraud, that he can lose only as result of fraud, and that he may not accept the results of the election and peacefully leave office.
For instance, Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker recently stated (The Boston Globe Sept. 24) that “[i]t is appalling and outrageous that anyone would suggest for a minute that if they lose an election they’re not going to leave.” Baker continued, “I know that I speak, I assure, for the vast majority of the elected officials in the United States of America when I say that.”
We agree with Baker and hope his last statement is true locally. We ask all elected officials in the Town of Sand Lake and Rensselaer County to join with Baker in publicly defending the safety and security of mail-in voting, and publicly denouncing President Trump’s statements that he can only lose as a result of voting fraud, and his suggestions he wouldn’t peacefully leave office if he loses.
These statements alone are a dangerous attack on American democracy and governing traditions and ought to be roundly condemned from all quarters.
Garrett DeGraff, Averill Park
Chair, Sand Lake Democratic Committee
Things you learn
The sun is slowly sliding down towards the horizon in the west,
Why the sun puts on such a grand display at the end of the day, I can only guess.
They claim that dust and other stuff refracts the sun’s light rays
In such ways to make these gorgeous colors.
By that time of day I’ve grown quite tired, but sunsets make me feel inspired.
I’ll sometimes sing a western tune as circumstance allows,
It takes me back to another time when I helped out milking cows.
The wooden-cased Philco radio hung up in a corner of the barn and was turned up really loud so we could hear the sound
And I knew and sang every word like “Pick me up on your way down”
I wrote some songs myself I must confide
One was about leaving a bar and taking a bend in the road a little wide
My brand new truck was totaled, but much worse, my good hunting dog died
I saw the light that winter night and the money I saved on beer
Could buy me a new truck every year
I shed my share of tears even after all these years
I still miss that dog.
We all make our foolish choices, we were given advice
But we didn’t heed their voices.
I have worn out my share of shoes, made myself a target to be abused
But win or lose, I am still around
And most of the bullies lay underground
I suppose it could have been worse but when I think of them
I say their name, and then tell them “For what it’s worth, you really looked good in that shiny hearse.”
I won’t ask about their smell when they were tossed in the lake of fire down in hell.
I sing at funerals for hire and do rather well
I’ve learned a lot since my birth because I’ve had quite a time on earth.
Dean Evans, The Outhouse Poet, September 29, 2020
After the election if Biden wins we will be required to do more than cover our mouth and nose
“Cuz” the CDC and Fauci will require no one to wear clothes
People will stay to home and freely self-quarantine out of sheer embarrassment alone.
It’s felt some fabric spreads disease, it is harbored in the seams and some believe because of the tightness of the weave
The cab of a truck or even worse, a car, is like an incubator for disease
All it takes is a sneeze
Government studies show that people who drive a car tend to drive too far and wide and would be better off outside,
So people will now be required to drive a tractor.
And a contractor can pull a trailer to the job (the poor slob).
When I became aware I said “I should prepare”
I paid $500 for my neighbor’s 8N Ford and so I would not get bored
I paid $50 for the plow.
I’m ready now, for the first time – Holy Cow!
They predict a big spike in divorce
But you know how a woman loves a horse,
So buy one before their price goes out of sight.
I think the time is right.
After the pandemic’s through and you resume a normal life,
You may decide it would be nice to keep the horse and trade the wife.
Think positive, it’s only money.
Dean Evans, The Outhouse Poet, October 2, 2020
Busting the Myth that Children can not Spread or Contract COVID-19
It is troubling that many Americans believe the myth that children cannot contract or spread COVID-19. Although it is true that 90% of children experience mild to no symptoms and that they represent only about 10% of diagnosed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., it is important to note that these patients are still capable of passing the virus on to others.
So, how do we know how capable a child is of infecting someone else? One way to find out is by measuring their viral load; that is, how much virus is present in that child. Many researchers accomplish this by analyzing pieces of the inactive virus in one’s nasal passage. While a majority believe that high viral loads reliably predict high levels of infectiousness, others disagree saying more research needs to confirm this relationship. It is certain however that high viral loads can not be used to predict the severity of symptoms that anyone experiences.
A more accurate way of determining the severity of symptoms one experiences is by studying a protein known as ACE2. Recently, it has been proposed that the ACE2 protein is used by the virus to anchor itself to your body. While it is true that children do not produce as much ACE2 protein as adults, it does not necessarily follow that children are not susceptible to the complications associated with contracting the virus. As you grow older, your body slightly changes the way it produces certain proteins. Some scientists contend that the maturity of the ACE2 protein is related to the age of the host and may account for the age-related distribution of symptoms caused by the virus.
Unfortunately, it has become common today to dismiss the importance of monitoring pediatric COVID-19 cases due to their seemingly inherent viral immunity. However, anyone familiar with the ongoing global pandemic should agree that until a vaccine comes out, COVID-19 still poses a significant threat to all populations regardless of their age.
Joseph Bott, Wynantskill
A Watershed Moment
My town is coming together to help reduce flooding and droughts. At the North Greenbush Town Hall Meeting October 8, a presentation was made of our town’s Climate Smart Committee review of our plans for stormwater management and hazard mitigation. One of the powerpoint slides (available on the town website), showed how wetlands and trees hold back stormwater, reducing flooding, and how they hold moisture in the soil, reducing droughts.
What happens upstream matters for those living downstream. We are linked as a watershed.
The Committee presented a plan for action. We are coming together as a community for the common good. What a breath of fresh air!
Fortunately, we have excellent resources to aid us. The Renssealer Land Trust published a Conservation Plan for Rensselaer County, with detailed maps of areas of the most crucial areas to protect and preserve. The Rensselaer Plateau Alliance advocates for the enjoyment and preservation of natural areas. Green infrastructure design, on municipal and individual landowner levels, can provide stormwater management while preserving or creating habitat for wildlife, among numerous other benefits. Development guidelines hold up the idea of new housing developments having connecting trails to adjoining natural areas.
We can do smart growth, growth that knows how much is enough, not only for us, but for generations as yet unborn, the seventh generation.
Sheree Cammer, Wynantskill
Bright Be The Light
We sleep serenely through the night
Knowing that the darkness will bring forth the light
The birds sing a unique song at the dawn of a new day
Urging us to get up and enjoy today
The leaves of every plant reach for the sky
Because without the life giving power
Of light they shall perish and die
I gaze upon my cat basking in the warmth of the sun
Taunting me to come outside and have some fun
The rays of light give the earth
A subtle glamour and a glimmering glow
If you take the time to observe
You’ll see God puts on quite a show
The night brings forth fright
While the light gleams with delight
Evil tends to lurk at night
Then the light forces it to take flight
Suddenly a violent storm blew through the town
Leaving behind branches, and large trees came down
The lights flickered aimlessly and then ceased
The neighbors gazed upon the scene with disbelief
The folks grew contrite without their precious light
I prayed to God to keep everyone safe and sound
Until the source of the outage could be found
The night seemed longer than usual but the
Sun rose again without refusal
The next afternoon I heard a clicking sound
From above, when I was in my cellar
The power restoration evoked elation
And was rather stellar
To be without, teaches you what having, is all about
When God said “Let there be light!”
It made the world a beautiful sight
Let the light of the Lord shine upon you each day
And you’ll see infinite blessings coming your way
Donna Masters, Troy
Want To Make a Difference In Your Community? VOTE!
This year has been a complicated one for our country and localities. We have weathered abuses of power by elected officials and lost an overwhelming number of lives—grandparents, parents, siblings, children, aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors—to a heinous virus. We continue to navigate an employment and housing crisis amid ever-changing guidance on how to best help and protect one another.
One of the best ways to show support for our community and country is to VOTE. Voting sets our guiding principles into action. It is our opportunity to support candidates who will fight for the people who need it most and the issues we care about.
There is still time to take part. If you requested an absentee ballot, be sure to follow the directions and mail or deliver your ballot by November 3rd. NYS recently enacted an Early Voting option, which runs from Saturday, October 24th through Sunday, November 1st. Additionally, you may still vote in person on November 3rd. It is important to plan for how, where, and when you will vote as well as and whom you will vote for. Democracy requires your participation to thrive.
This election season, we ask that you vote for MIKE HELINSKI for North Greenbush Town Board, JOHN MCDONALD for State Assembly, PATRICK NELSON for State Senate, and PAUL TONKO for US Congress. These are candidates that are focused on serving our community and taking common sense approaches to the problems we are facing. They will be innovative, compassionate, and dedicated workers for the residents of North Greenbush and Rensselaer County.
North Greenbush Democratic Committee