Letters to the Editor: May 04, 2016 

Voter apathy

Voter apathy created the oligarchy. Voter apathy created the 1 percent. Voter apathy writes legislation that works against the common man. Voter apathy is a disease that is slowly killing the United States as a democracy.

Voting is not important every four years; it is important every single day. You must be aware of local, state and federal elections, and you must vote in every election. There is no excuse, no exception; if you don’t, you are a part of the problem. You can vote by mail. You can vote early. In Oklahoma, your employer legally cannot deny your right to vote if you work on days when votes take place. Democracy is not a spectator sport.

• Registered Democrats and Independents in Oklahoma: 1,144,115 (open primary)

• Voted: 313,392

• Didn’t Vote: 830,723

For a country that has been waging wars for nearly a century to “spread democracy,” we seem to lack the basic understanding of how the system works. We will never be “we the people” if the people do not participate. We then become “we don’t care.”

Democrat, Republican, Green, Libertarian, Independent — it doesn’t matter. If our voices are not heard, they do not exist. Voting is not just your right; it is your responsibility. Votes take place around five times a year. In Oklahoma, it usually doesn’t take more than 20 minutes to vote. Therefore, by not voting, you are saying you don’t have 120 minutes a year for your country, your troops, your home, your family, your friends, your children, yourself or your freedom.

The system is broken because we let it rot unattended. The only way to fix it is to participate every chance you get. Humanity has fought for thousands of years for the right to vote; let us not forget the horrors of feudalism. Let us not forsake the blood of our ancestors. Let it not take us losing the right to vote to see how important it is.

Vote!

Jordan Rohrback Norman

Maximum responsibility

The United States minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Many of those working minimum wage jobs are trying to support families, but statistics show that with an increase in minimum wage comes a decrease in the value of employment. Competition for jobs increases regardless of minimum wage, meaning we are inevitably going to be standing in a hole that we have dug ourselves.

Is it worth it to raise the minimum wage to help meet the needs of those living in poverty, or should we back down and tell the people that they are on their own? Shouldn’t we have solutions to problems that encompass more than 3 million hourly-wage workers in the U.S.?

I have heard it proposed that we should follow the examples of other countries like Iceland, Denmark and Norway and do away with a minimum wage altogether, leaving baseline pay negotiation to trade unions and employers’ organizations. These countries have shown continuous benefit from this plan.

I just wonder if the United States could adopt this idea without further economic destruction. Maybe we should first work backward and clean up preexisting messes caused by selfish government mandates.

Miranda Vail Midwest City

Better plan

Hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) coupled with the advent of horizontal drilling resulted in a nearly exponential growth in natural gas production. Unfortunately, this bonanza coincided with an alarming increase in the frequency and magnitude of earthquakes.

The horizontal drilling into deep shale containing trapped natural gas extends the collecting area; this is followed by injection of large volumes (up to millions of gallons) of fracking fluid at high pressure to produce multiple fractures that facilitate gas flow. The fracking fluid contains 90 percent water and 9 percent proppants such as sand or glass beads that prop open the fissures. The remaining 1 percent is a mixture of various additives, some of them with lubricating properties to facilitate the penetration of the proppants into the fractures.

In addition to natural gas, the effluents of these wells contain fracking fluid and various noxious compounds leached from the shale.

This liquid waste is usually disposed off by injection into deep wells. It is conceivable that the lubricating properties of this waste material may facilitate sliding of soil layers, thus causing or at least potentiating, earthquakes.

Increased seismic activities following a boom in fracking also occurred in Colorado, Texas and California; interestingly, the earthquakes appeared clustered around disposal wells. Reports that waste fluids from other states are being brought to Oklahoma for disposal are very troubling. This practice must be stopped.

A concerted effort involving the petroleum industry and academic institutions to develop effective recycling techniques for this fracking waste material should be implemented at once.

Raoul Carubelli Oklahoma City

‘Coarsening speech’

Nathaniel Batchelder rightly decries the “coarsening political speech” (Opinion, Letters, “Choosing Trump,” March 23, Gazette) of our time and suggests that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is a special villain, with which I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I count myself with the growing Republican “Never Trump” movement.

Unfortunately, Nathaniel goes off the rails when he blames this climate on “Rush Limbaugh and his ilk” on the right. Sadly, much of that “coarsening political speech” actually comes from his side of the political spectrum.

In 2005, leftist Air America radio show host Randi Rhodes compared George W. Bush with a character from The Godfather and said, “Like Fredo, someone ought to take him out fishing and phuw,” followed by the sound of gunfire.

When Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone, by all accounts a good and decent man, was killed in a 2002 airplane crash, leftists showed up at his funeral to boo Sen. Majority Leader Trent Lott, who had come to honor his memory.

Ann Coulter can be a rowdy commentator, but not as rowdy as the two University of Arizona leftists who hurled custard cream pies at her while she gave a speech in 2006. Imagine Nathaniel’s outrage if conservatives did that to Noam Chomsky. Fortunately, we have manners.

At Columbia University in 2007, liberal activist students made their position plain as they tried to drown out speeches by two anti-illegal immigration militia members. “They have no right to speak,” they screamed, thus unilaterally repealing the First Amendment and encompassing most of the persistent leftist campaign to purge campuses of any ideas other than their own.

In 1994, Liberal PBS commentator Julianne Malveaux also made her position clear when, discussing conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, she opined on the air that “I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease.”

Sorry, Nathaniel; most coarse and ugly political discourse of our time comes from your side.

Mike Brake Oklahoma City

Correction

In an April 13 story about Cultivar Mexican Kitchen (Food, “Fire away,” Greg Elwell, Oklahoma Gazette), designer Larry Dean Pickering was mistakenly referred to as an architect. We apologize for any confusion.
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