Nothing funny

It was a comic trope of “The Honeymooners” television sit-com of the mid-1950s, perhaps when America was “great-again” — great by the miscalculations of some. A rotund Jackie Gleason playing a frustrated “Ralph Kramden” would arrive at his walk-up, Brooklyn flat after his workingman’s job as a bus driver. Confronted by something he did not like hearing from his take-no-lip, give-as-good-as-you-get wife, played by Audrey Meadows, “Ralph” exhorted with a clenched-fist gesture and threatening declaration, “To the moon, Alice. To the moon.”

The canned laughs played it as funny. Domestic violence was nobody else’s business, society said. “Keeping your woman in line” was a man’s prerogative back then, a normalized social practice.

Today, enlightened American society finds nothing funny about such a disrespectful, domineering attitude toward women or the violence perpetrated in its service. But President Trump, seeing four women members of Congress “getting out of line” by his dubious rubric, has clenched his fist and offered up his ugly impersonation of Ralph Kramden. He’s tried again to normalize his bullying behavior, this time duping and enlisting — to our embarrassment — the assistance of some North Carolinians. That bullying behavior wasn’t great in the 1950s and it’s not great now.

The president’s character is not at issue. We know what he is. Our concern should be his behavior, which he can change and should. Yet, he’ll likely do it again for any reason whatsoever if he thinks he can get away with it.

Think again, “Ralph.” These “Alices” are standing tall.

Randell Jones


Taxpayer-funded propaganda

Currently the N.C. legislature is at a budget stalemate over the issue of Medicaid expansion, which would provide affordable, quality health care to approximately 500,000 people. The cost? About $2.13 billion, 90% of which would be reimbursed by federal dollars and the rest paid by hospitals and health plans. (Source: NC state budget).

But there’s another way to help reduce the cost. Eliminate the $2.64 million budgeted for crisis pregnancy centers. Of this total, $1.2 million is directed to the Texas-based Human Coalition, a virulently anti-abortion, anti-contraception, social media-focused organization that blatantly promotes Christian theology all over its website, blog and printed materials.

More backstory: In 2017-18, the Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship, another heavily religious-based organization, subcontracted $300,000 to Human Coalition. This year, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services did not recommend increasing Human Coalition funding, citing late reports, incomplete reports and concern about lack of oversight. The organization also does not meet Better Business Bureau’s charity review standards.

Then there’s the Mountain Area Pregnancy Services, whose mission is to “be a Christ-centered outreach ministry partnering with churches.” It spent $50,000 of our taxpayer money on religious propaganda.

I’m outraged that my taxpayer dollars are supporting outright, out-front religious proselytizing organizations violating the separation of church/state doctrine. It’s even more infuriating that they are using this money and their religious beliefs to shame and intimidate women who may be considering a medical procedure that is safe and legal, and is their moral and ethical right to choose.

Lois Roewade


Trump’s tweets

We’re told that when the president is nasty, it’s because he’s hitting back or defending himself.

But the people of Baltimore did nothing to him (“Trump attacks Cummings’ district,” July 27). President Trump attacked a city full of people, saying that “no human being would want to live there.” Who lives there, then, and why does Trump think they’re not human beings?

Trump says Rep. Elijah Cummings is responsible for Baltimore’s problems, claiming with no evidence (as usual) that he’s corrupt. Trump is in a better position to do something for the city than Cummings is, but he’d rather be a Twitter troll.

I’ve been to Baltimore, a beautiful city, and it has its problems, but so do the rural areas that Republicans preside over. Red states generally have more poverty than blue states and take more in federal funds. Trump hasn’t attacked them.

Trump promised to bring infrastructure changes to the whole country, but “infrastructure week” has become a joke. Trump would rather play golf — which he said he wouldn’t have time to do — on one of his properties, where the government pays for the use of the facilities.

Trump is an embarrassment. He’s done nothing to make America great.

Malcolm Ramsey


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