There is no denying the importance of symbols. I personally like the Aflac duck, and "Old Glory" still tugs at my heartstrings whenever I hear the National Anthem.
But even as my family roots are in South Georgia, I can no longer support the Confederate battle flag as a symbol of anything positive. Thanks to certain groups and individuals in our society, the flag became a symbol of hate for too many in our country.
While I am in favor of removing the battle flag from government property (good job, South Carolina, even though it took innocent lives for you to finally take this action), as a student of history I am opposed to its complete eradication from life. Museums are the logical places for our historical items.
As a former history teacher, I have noticed that there is a strong tendency to "sanitize" history so that no one feels bad or gets insulted about any misdeeds toward their group. I am against this, and also any attempts to ignore certain events in history that may make heroes and/or our nation appear in a negative light. The goal of history should be to search for the truth, even if it is unpleasant.
So, even as I support the removal of the battle flag from public property, I caution against too much revisionism. If we start renaming roads, bridges, schools and other buildings because the honored person has some blemishes, we might as well use numbers and animal and tree names for everything. That way, maybe fewer people will be insulted.
To the horror of most seniors, and of all low-income Americans, Big Pharma is doubling, tripling, and in some cases raising drug prices 1,000 percent. The price spikes for generics, which are the last refuge of people on fixed incomes, are so steep that the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging held a hearing recently to investigate the likelihood of price gouging.
Even generics which have been on the market for years, and which usually cost only a penny a pill to manufacture, have increased dramatically. A popular antibiotic jumped from $20 for 500 capsules at the end of 2013 to an astounding $1,849 in early 2014. Another drug used to regulate heart rate during surgery jumped from $65 for 10 vials to an outrageous $1,270 during that same time.
The cost of manufacturing generics has not increased much, and competition in their marketing usually keeps prices reasonable. Unfortunately, mergers have shrunk the number of manufacturers, and the decreased competition has allowed enormous proliferation in prices.
Many experts claim that the increases are unmistakable price gouging; and pharmaceutical companies have developed devious means of protecting their exorbitant profits. One is to change formulas very slightly, in order to extend patents. Another is to pay generic manufacturers tens of millions of dollars not to produce generic forms of Big Pharma's expired patents.
There is a crisis coming, because burgeoning prices make it impossible for people to fill prescriptions; more than a quarter of them are not filled. This jeopardizes patient health and costs our Medicare system even more when conditions which could have been averted become terminal diseases. As costs skyrocket out of the reach of millions, more and more people will suffer virulent illness, and without medications, will die -- all because of insufferable greed.
Judy F. Brouillette
If elected, Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn said, one of her first priorities would be to protect the military presence in Columbus and Georgia. This was a natural, as she would have had an open door direct to President Obama. Her dad, Sen. Sam Nunn, although in private practice, still has a very respected word and a lot of clout relative to defense issues in Washington.
But Republican David Perdue got elected, and has no clue as to what to do; our other senator has beat up on President Obama so much over the last six years that he is probably on the administration ignore/no call list.
Let's learn from this. Yes, Columbus did its job and went for Nunn, but now it looks like Ms. Clinton is a positive for the Oval Office in 2016, so let's elect Blues to Congress to protect the military backbone of our state. Georgia going Blue would gain many favors from a Clinton administration.
Change for the better
As we are being swept along by this sea of change, perhaps while in the mood other changes can be made. Condense the Bill of Rights to just the Pursuit of Happiness. That pretty sums up the prevailing mood. While we are reducing troops and civilian workers and benefits to our veterans, maybe we can reduce the sheer numbers of government workers, starting in Washington. With technology and communication as advanced as it is, do we really need so many congressmen and their vast staffs, both in Washington and at home?
We can divide the country up into the Northeast, the South, the Middle, the Northwest, and Zombieland, with representatives from each region. Instead of traveling they can telecommute, and probably get just as much done. Take the congressional retirement fund and combine it with Social Security and Medicare, with the same eligibility requirements (age, income, etc.). Enact term limits and limit campaign contributions. Establish a mandatory retirement age for federal judges, starting with the "justices" of the "Supreme" Court. Change the number justices to 7, maybe even 5, and rename it the "Kangaroo Court," for that is what it has become.
Think of the change! Think of the savings! Most of all, think! And vote.
Norman W. Davis