Letters to the Editor: Feb. 8, 2017

Keep PA sovereign from the federal government

In response to state Rep. Ed Neilson’s Letter to the Editor, “Extension won’t fix ID mess,” published on Feb. 1:

Rep. Neilson, after presenting all of the problems with the Real ID Act, you state, “By January 2018, our state identification would no longer be accepted for domestic air travel. Sounds crazy? It is. But unless further action is taken, every Pennsylvanian will need a passport to fly commercially…” You then go on to describe your efforts to “…resolve the underlying non-compliance issue and allow PennDOT to work toward meeting the enhanced security standards.” I agree with you that the situation is crazy. It is crazy that you are willing to subjugate the sovereignty of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania to the imperial dictates of the federal government via the threatened blackmail of causing hardships for the citizens of this state for “non-compliance.” If ever there were a states’ rights issue, this is a fundamental one. With the Real ID Act, the federal government has done nothing less than attempt to nationalize driver and non-driver licensing and in the process create a de facto national identification card and registry. 

Every poll taken indicates that an overwhelming majority of Americans are opposed to any sort of national registry. This includes Pennsylvanians, and I am confident this includes the people in your district. What makes this even worse is that politicians like you are willingly handing over our state sovereignty. It is also crazy that you are willing to implement this program for something that in all likelihood will not work for its stated intended purpose. In fact, the Real ID Act decreases our national security and personal safety by placing people’s information into a centralized database that will be subject to hacking and abuse by those with access. History has clearly taught us that such registries are inevitably misused.

In addition, you begin your letter by mentioning the deep partisan divide in Washington D.C. However, the Real ID Act was passed by a Republican Congress and signed into law by a Republican president. Yet, a Pennsylvania Republican Legislature and Republican governor forbade its implementation. That should tell you something. The assumption that the federal government knows better, when it comes to state identification, is simply wrong. Our system is not broken, and in fact, you cannot provide any evidence that Pennsylvania’s system for issuing identification has any security flaws that are addressed by the Real ID Act. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

Finally, many will find it quite hypocritical if you end up espousing state sovereignty when it comes to sanctuary cities, yet ignore it as it pertains to this issue. 

William J. Lawler II

Upper Holmesburg

Hold them accountable

As Republicans — now in control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives — set out to repeal Obamacare and seriously erode Medicare and Medicaid, should they succeed, I propose a means of holding them accountable with a series of billboards … literally billboards … to be placed in heavily traveled and populated locations in every state in the United States. 

They should read as follows: “These Pennsylvanians died after congressional Republicans took their Obamacare, Medicare or Medicaid. Name/Date of death. Name of (State) member of Congress responsible.”

While I readily concede that not all serious, untreated illnesses and deaths befalling uninsured victims in a post-Obamacare era could be definitively attributed to a repealed-but-unreplaced, or, seriously compromised affordable care situation, nevertheless, politicians/legislators must be made to own their initiatives.

Instead of reforming the insurance industry and our health care system by passing laws to protect Americans and prevent us from having to choose between sickness, life, death or personal bankruptcy, Mr. Trump and a Republican Congress appear to be on the way to “Making America Great Again” for corporations, CEOs and oligarchs rather than for the average citizen.

As it is often posited, “Elections have consequences.” Of greater consequences, are laws that put budgets and political agendas above the basic needs of human beings. 

Arthur Gurmankin


Drive safely, youngsters

In response to Joseph Caristo’s Letter to the Editor, “Drive safely, handicapped seniors,” published on Dec. 28:

I would look around at drivers at a younger age and say to them, “Drive safely” and stop using cell phones and texting while driving, which causes more accidents than a handicapped placard hanging from the rear-view mirror.

Roger Shaw