Story of an Independent Voter
In response to Robert Tracinski’s article, “Independents Get the Job Done,” I knew when I was 13 years old that I would be an independent voter. My grandfather was in local politics, and one day I rode along with him when he went out campaigning and handing out his card to voters that he ran across. One gentleman told him that he would really like to vote for him, but that his father and grandfather would roll over in their graves if he voted for any other party than the one he was brought up in. After we got back in the car, I told my grandfather that I would always vote for who I wanted to vote for, not just for the party. He laughed and said I would change my mind one day. I am 80 years old now, and I never have.
I have no party loyalty at all, voting instead for the person who most reflects my own personal beliefs as stated in the candidate’s campaign literature and public appearances. Occasionally, I have left the boxes empty because I could not bear to vote for any of the candidates.
— Janice, O’Fallon, Mo.
Conservatives Aren’t the Only Ones Questioning mRNA Vaccines
Regarding “Conservatives and Public Health: A Warm Welcome Into a Cold Climate” by Robert Graboyes, Professor Pollack’s inclination to open up debate between his students and conservatives who aren’t vaccinated assumes that his students are primarily vaccinated liberals, and the unvaccinated who might accept his invitation to express their views are conservatives. I consider myself a progressive Democrat, and I am unvaccinated.
I agree that there’s a disturbing groupthink among my friends who “trust” the vaccine and public health folks who urge it on the unvaccinated. I expect that if predictions regarding long-term effects of mRNA vaccines—in particular clotting along the walls of blood vessels—are borne out, those who are pro-vaccine will have no choice but to pay attention.
As a retired senior on a pension, I don’t have the pressure to be employed, but I understand the fears of losing income and of hospitalization and death that prompt many to risk vaccination with an experimental technology heretofore untried on any scale, let alone worldwide. What the taking of sides and clamping down on questioning has taught me is to listen to people, many on the right, whom I too easily dismissed in the past. Truth knows no sides. I welcome critical thinkers wherever they appear. Thank you for this chance to express my views.
— Geri, Tome, N.M.
In Praise of DeFi
In “Decentralized Finance Could Help Rebuild Lebanon’s Economy,” Hugo Dante makes an excellent point: DeFi and cryptocurrencies are about more than “shadowy super coders” and millennials buying jpegs of diamonds. Bitcoin, USDC, and the like may not be the first choice for most Americans, but these are resources that are not limited to America’s borders. There are countries across the world, such as Lebanon, where people cannot depend on state institutions. Whether it is due to overbearing authoritarians or inflationary regimes, people are turning more and more to alternatives.
It is indeed sad to see any country struggle so much, but Dante is absolutely right in saying that “we can look to the future with optimism, knowing the potential of technology to provide alternatives where traditional institutions fail.”
— Nick, Woodbridge, Va.
The Cold Climate of Public Health, Revisited
I was a conservative epidemiologist at the UCLA School of Public Health from 1973 to 2012, and I agree completely with Robert Graboyes’ assessment (“Conservatives and Public Health: A Warm Welcome Into a Cold Climate“), particularly the statement, “Public health’s ideological monoculture impedes the field’s capacity to communicate with conservatives.” I began my academic career at UCLA at a time when public health was an honest profession and not just liberal political advocacy. I was able to [do] research that I would no longer be allowed to do at a school of public health. Although I never revealed my political views to UCLA, my critics assumed they were conservative because of my “politically incorrect” research findings.
I fought my 2010 wrongful termination until 2015 with extensive pro bono help from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and the American Center for Law and Justice. Although UCLA was able to force me into retirement, the publicity and notoriety that my case received made it possible for me to publish important research in 2017 that has stalled the environmentalists’ drive to tighten EPA air-pollution regulations. One environmental journalist was so amazed that I was able to publish such influential research that she wrote a detailed article about my entire life as a scientist that was surprisingly positive.
My experience shows the extensive efforts that a major U.S. school of public health made to purge from its faculty an honest dissenter. The real danger is that activists will be able to silence dissenters like me and will falsely declare that everything in life is a public health crisis.
— James, Los Angeles, Calif.
The editorial staff of Discourse would like to thank our readers for engaging with our content and contributing their thoughts and opinions to the conversation. If you’d like to join the discourse, please submit your own letter to the editor, and it might be featured in a future post.