Letters to the Editor

Letters: Trump’s UN speech + Trump voters + Bigots + Dreamers + Trickle-down tax cuts

President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters.
President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters. AP

Trump’s UN speech

Donald Trump’s performance this week at the United Nations was ill-informed, and showed a total unawareness of what the institution was founded for: to facilitate cooperation between nations.

He touted the importance of sovereignty yet failed to call out Russia regarding its incursions into Crimea and Ukraine. Rather than promote diplomatic dialogue, he instead fell back on the same kinds of personal insults he used in the campaign.

As a just-retired university professor, I’ve learned to respect the fact that students arrive in school with limited experience and gaps in knowledge. What I never accepted, however, were students who didn’t try to learn, who wouldn’t do the assigned readings, and who skipped lectures.

Our president is more ignorant than most of the beginning students I had the opportunity to work with, and, more significantly, shows less interest in learning about the process of governing and the history of this and other nations.

My father had little formal education due to the intervention of World War II, but was widely read and always had a firm grasp on the world order. Trump is a dedicated ignoramus with no interests beyond expanding his wealth. It’s high time for his supporters to recognize the ongoing crisis they precipitated, reject him, and begin their long process of penance.

Mark Basgall, Sacramento

Confront bigotry

Re “On a road trip through Trump country, a word from the voters who elected him” (California Forum, Sept. 17): I have enjoyed Susan Sward’s work over the years. But I think she gave too much credit to folks who said things like “now things are so out of control with all the unwanted people,” referring to undocumented immigrants.

Sward somehow concluded from these interviews that categorizing Trump’s voters as bigoted or ignorant was not plausible because their numbers are simply too large. As a child of the civil rights movement, I recall working in the South against segregation.

The percentage of white Southern voters who loved George Wallace in the 1960s was much higher than Trump’s support today. That didn’t mean they weren’t bigots or that the Democratic Party should genuflect to them. Democrats need to fight against hatred, not figure out how to appeal to it.

John Adkisson, Sacramento

Our experiment

Often, the juxtaposition of op-eds and columns in the California Forum section of The Sacramento Bee can be an education. Susan Sward’s op-ed, and Joe Matthews piece, (“Rural California towns are said to be dying. So why is little Gonzales doing so well?” Sept. 17) should be read together by every Californian.

The irony would not be lost: all-white northeastern California towns, ignored by the urban-focused Democratic Party, turn to a maverick billionaire New York City Republican president who promises them everything, but delivers virtually nothing other than platitudes, while they carry guns in fear of other Californians coming for them.

Gonzales, in the heart of the Salinas Valley, long home of working-class Latino Californians, is thriving and has high education and low crime rates. The conclusion I reach as an older white man? People who help themselves up, rather than live in discouragement and fear, are the ones who succeed. The true California Experiment works. Why don’t we all try it?

Robert L. Thayer, Jr., Davis

Trump’s voters

I have listened and read many different opinions concerning the reasons that people voted for Trump, and I believe that they did so because he’s a racist and so are they.

I’m a 70-year-old white man, and have seen racism all my life, including from my parents. My mother would tell me that I’m no better than anyone else, but don’t ever bring a black friend home.

I believe many people who voted for Trump feel left out, but the blame is on themselves. Many are uneducated because they chose to not give any effort in their education, either by dropping out of high school, or just not caring. Now they find themselves left behind.

Don Brown, West Sacramento


Re “I came to the United States as a child long before DACA, and no one asked for my papers. Then again, I’m white” (California Forum, Sept. 17): How our government has changed from the 1800s. In exchange for industrious behavior, the Homestead Act gave my immigrant great grandparents, who were seeking a better life than what they had in Norway, 160 acres of land in Minnesota. Now our government seems to have turned a blind eye to the industrious behavior of Dreamers. Shouldn’t they have a chance for the American dream like my family did?

Gregory A. Smith, Carmichael

Rich get richer

George Runner seems to conveniently forget that the “trickle-down theory” was tried and failed. Nothing trickles down. The rich get richer and they get bigger yachts and mansions. Why would they want to give up a gold mine? They are in it to get on the list of the Forbes Fortune 500. They always say they are doing it for the middle class. Baloney.

Jim Kelley, Sacramento

George Runner

Re “If Trump wants to know how not to reform a tax code, he should just look to California” (California Forum, Sept. 17): Just when readers thought the old Republican failed tax policies were dead and buried, Board of Equalization member George Runner brings them back to life like a mad scientist reassembling dead parts to create a monster. We’ve heard and seen this before: We need to feel sorry for the wealthy because they get taxed too, and need a tax cut so they can create jobs.

Concentrating tax cuts on the middle class will stimulate the economy more than tax cuts on the wealthy since the middle class is larger and spends more collectively than those in the top 10 percent. Runner ignores these facts, and connects taxes to our affordable housing shortage. Let’s ignore the fact the cost of living in California, most of which has little to do with taxes, exceeds the wage earnings of the average California worker.

A Gallup Poll showed that when respondents were asked what is the biggest problem in the nation today, “dissatisfaction with government/poor leadership” ranked highest. Perhaps Runner should turn his attention to the embattled Board of Equalization before dredging up failed tax proposals.

Keith Carmona, Roseville


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