Don't let party dogma? frame our discourse

@Body copy rag:Though progressives and conservatives differ in opinion regarding policy, we agree on principle that society is worth defending. While the former feel the state should adapt to meet people's needs, the latter feel it should have minimal involvement in people's lives. The American founding fathers agreed that, in a free society, the minority should expect protection under the law against the tyranny of the majority. If the founders believed that the political system of their fathers was good enough for them, the revolution would never have taken place. They would have all died as orthodox Loyalists and there would not have been a free citizen in the New World.

Instead we tune into our favorite news channel and listen to heated discussions on what the founders might've had to say about social issues of the day. Of course, what best exemplifies their intentions for the republic, other than their speeches, debates and correspondence, is the Constitution itself. This document, unprecedented for its day, established a government of, by and for the people when tradition dictated that government was only legitimate under hereditary rule. Rather than uphold tradition for its own sake, the founders saw it fit to draw inspiration from new ideas. They established three branches of federal power rather than allow an emperor to make every decision. They insisted upon a representative republic as opposed to an Athenian model of direct democracy. They recognized the problems that arise when the monarch allied with any one church, and endeavored to prevent them all together.

Rather than settle for the lesser of two evils, and allow party dogma to frame our discourse, we should learn from our history and insist on innovation of political thought. The free expression of new ideas best honors what the revolutionaries fought to realize for us.

Jeffery Szudzik



CEOs, not president,? control price of gas

Don't be fooled by rising gas prices. They fuel discontent among voters, who then express their grievance at the polls by voting out whoever is currently in office.
And guess who controls gas prices – GOP-friendly CEOs.

So, with no need to wonder why they're going up, the question remains whether or not to fall for this trick. Think about it, and then cast your vote.

Bill Wohlhueter



Romney/Ryan voucher plan? for Medicare is appealing

I'm a registered Democrat and, although I am disappointed in President Obama, it's unlikely I'll vote for Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan in November. However, I do like the Romney/Ryan voucher plan for Medicare, and am puzzled as to why seniors fear it.

As a retired federal employee, I have a premium support plan for my medical coverage that is virtually identical to the Romney/Ryan proposed voucher system. The federal government pays a portion of my premiums and I pay the difference and choose from a variety of plans offered by approved private insurers. I can pick any plan and switch during a yearly open enrollment period if my current plan raises its premiums or changes its coverage and no longer meets my needs.

My current plan's coverage is terrific. I pay less than I would for Medicare and I have prescription coverage that doesn't cost extra. My only out-of-pocket expense is a small co-pay, and I don't have to worry about deductibles or doughnut holes and I don't need an additional Medicare advantage plan which, I understand, will soon require higher premiums due to Obamacare.

I certainly wouldn't switch my current premium support plan for traditional Medicare and I don't know of another retired federal employee who would.
Medicare as we know it is going broke and will cost seniors more or reduce already poor coverage in the near future. Medicare is also rife with fraud, waste and abuse. From my perspective, the Romney/Ryan plan is far superior to traditional Medicare and the answer for anyone worried about Medicare's future.

James Arkins



Judge was wrong to side? with Avanti on fireworks

I read in disbelief that Hamburg Town Justice Gerald Gorman has supported Avanti Mansion's shooting off fireworks during wedding receptions in a residential neighborhood. Gorman sided with Avanti over neighbors' petitions against the fireworks and over next-door neighbor Denise Wood's complaint that the fireworks were set off without warning and greatly affected her war-veteran husband.

Gorman sided with Avanti officials, who suggested that Woods and her husband should leave their home during wedding receptions for a meal out – generously at Avanti's expense. Really? Fireworks are a necessity that warrants neighbors having to leave their home?

Adding irony to his logic, Gorman also ruled that Woods could not run her wood chipper during Avanti events. Apparently Gorman thinks wood chippers are too noisy – but not fireworks?

Ray Volpe



Great to see article? on Down syndrome

I can barely contain myself as I sit here with tears streaming down my face. I have just finished reading the article on Down syndrome featured on the Mini Page of the NeXt section of The News. My husband and I have two grandchildren with Down syndrome (ages 3 and 6) and we know the work that goes into the smallest accomplishment of a child with Down syndrome and the worries the parents face.

While visiting with a friend recently, I had mentioned the walk for Down syndrome awareness held on Sept. 29. It was a mile walk from Coca Cola Field to the harbor and back, but I had not seen any news coverage of this event. While there were many other very worthwhile and important events that day covered by the media, this made me feel sad because there are so many questions and misconceptions regarding Down syndrome. We as a community should be aware of not only the challenges but also the many accomplishments of those with Down syndrome.

Then, lo and behold, there it was – a beautiful and informative article featuring the accomplishments of adults, young adults and children with Down syndrome and explaining the cause, the health issues and the feelings of those born with this extra chromosome (the love gene, as my daughter and son-in-law call it). That's because their son and his cousin have brought so much love and happiness to our family.
October is Down syndrome awareness month, so to all those who have this condition, and to all families, friends, caregivers, teachers and therapists, I want to say, cherish every moment and every accomplishment. I hope your life will be touched in a special way. I know ours is.

Fran LoTempio