Letter: The candidates are lining up!

Dear Editor, 

It’s that time again in New York State. Republican candidates are lining up, chaffing at the bit to become the alt-right candidate to run the state. Harry Wilson and Rob Astorino both are trumpeting an end to COVID mask mandates immediately upon taking office. 

Funny, it seems the Democrats are already there since the pandemic has been reduced to an endemic right now. Astorino even has the gall to call this political decision “real science” (as opposed to the kind practiced by the scientists at the CDC, which he calls “political science”).  

George Orwell must be somewhere yelling at the top of his lungs, “I warned you!”

Both candidates want to repeal all the Democratic tax increases and cut spending. Guess that means we’ll be on our own during winter snowstorms since the state won’t have enough money to plow the roads.  Local taxes and school taxes will have to go up as well, since the state won’t have any money to offset local taxes. In the case of my local school district, over 40% of its budget is funded through state sources.

Both candidates also want to cut so-called “job-killing regulations”. Those are the health and safety regulations and minimum wage laws. You see, Republicans represent business owners that want to pay as little as possible in wages and not spend money for safety equipment or insurance for their employees because it means more money in their bank accounts. For too many of them, employees are just another type of equipment to be used until it breaks.

Another national dog whistle being used by Republicans is the “local choice in schools” nonsense. What do you call a locally elected school board? Claiming that parents should be able to decide what their children learn in public schools is just smoke and mirrors. Public schools were developed to teach a curriculum that would make the students grow up into useful citizens. Any parent that wants to have their children taught something different has always had the choice to either send their children to a private school or to home school them. It serves no greater good to teach their children creationism and white supremacy, the two most prevalent wishes of most of these groups. 

Do these people realize what the end result of their wishes could be? Schools would have to teach immigrant children the language of their parents, be it Spanish, Hindi, Arabic, Farsi, Pashtu, Swahili or whatever, not necessarily English.  Especially in the south, many of these parents also feel that teachers are overpaid. In one district in Florida a few years ago, a new school board wanted to fire all the current teachers and hire replacements at $20 an hour and send them to a weekend 2-day training session to learn how to teach. 

The newspaper reporting on this development made no mention of any academic requirements for the replacements. There’s an even chance that many of the students would know more than most of these teachers.

The total effects of this type of behavior would make our country the same as a third world country. That apparently is the end result that today’s Republican Party is striving toward, a country run by the rich, for the rich, and of the rich, with the rest of us groveling for scraps from their tables.


William O’Connell

Owego, N.Y.

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