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Nation dumbed down

Thank you so much for Brenda Looper's word nerd column Wednesday. It is a pity that perhaps the only people that will read it are people that are word nerds themselves, and you can count me as one.

I am very aware of the correct meanings of the words discussed, but too many people would rather just listen to soundbites on dubious TV news sites and blindly accept anything they hear as truth without seeking the real truth or doing some logical thought processes about what they have heard.

I have seen this phenomenon referred to as "the dumbing down of America" in many articles that were printed by this newspaper, and in many of your editorial columns, written by local and other editorial writers throughout the country.

I think that when any group of people, in any locality--be it a small community, a state, a province, or a country--give up their freedom to think, and allow an agency, government or a ruler--be that a king, dictator, etc.--to do their thinking for them, they have lost all their freedoms.

How sad, and what a horrible fate for this country if this "trend" continues its slow, insidious creeping tsunami wavelike effect from the east to the west. How ironic it would be for a country that was founded on the basic principles of liberty--the freedom to think for oneself, the right to speak freely without fear of government reprisal, the freedom to worship whatever God we wish in whatever manner we wish, to hold free elections and to participate actively in all of the creations of whatever kind of government we choose for ourselves--to be brought down like this.

LYNDA HORN

Russellville

National health care

I am a recently retired central Arkansas physician, and recently took part in a national survey. The questions were: "1. What do you think of the current state of health care in the United States? 2. What is your vision of the future of health care in the United States?" I'm sure many of us have pondered these questions. Here were my answers, which might serve as food for thought for your readers:

1.Best in the world, but too expensive. Third-party payment, insulating the consumer/patient from the cost consequences of drugs, procedures, hospital costs and cognitive services, perpetuates its high cost.

It's the most heavily regulated industry in our economy, as federal government and insurance company mandates add bushels of red tape to drag down productivity. The "wet blanket" effect of clinical and charge documentation erodes job satisfaction for caregivers, adding to the physician shortage. (No, computerization didn't solve that ... on the contrary.)

2.America will take one of two paths: i. decrease the effect of third-party control--equalize tax treatment of individual versus employee health expenses, allow purchase of health "insurance" across state lines, unleash medical savings accounts by expanding allowed thresholds for deposits and catastrophic insurance deductibles, abolish the mandated benefits found in Obamacare and allow Americans to buy the coverage they want. In short: Put the sharp-penciled American consumer back in charge. The resulting cost-consciousness, resulting in the power of competition among providers, will knock the props out of the cost problem.

Or ... ii. Nationalized health care. Shortages ... waiting lines ... disgruntled doctors and nurses ... continued higher costs as (attempted) utilization skyrockets, necessitating rationing by the waiting line. "If you think health care is expensive now, wait till it's free!" (P.J. O'Rourke) "Forbid it, almighty God!" (Patrick Henry)

PETER M. MARVIN

Little Rock

Shouldn't be voting

The Congress members running against President Trump for president should recuse themselves immediately!

I believe they have no right to vote in the impeachment proceedings against their political opponent. Their votes could take away the voting rights of millions of Americans. Contact your representatives quickly.

LINDA STELL

Fordyce

Just something to do

I hope Sen. Tom Cotton's FST (Fidget Spinner Therapy) serves him well.

BRAD CROMLEY

Little Rock

Save beloved bridge

A new, wider bridge is now under construction in Newton County on Arkansas 7 east of the current location, and plans call for removing the old span. Why keep it?

Anyone whose heart beats faster when nearing the Buffalo River south of Harrison knows that one must slow down when crossing the Pruitt Bridge. How else to get that first tantalizing glimpse? Will the level be up or will that bony shoal make the chute beneath the bridge a bumpy ride? Will the water glow with mystical blue-green translucence or will rains have washed in mud, turning the waters into high, frothy latte?

And after a day on the river, the sight and sounds of young people laughing and leaping from the rocky bluffs into a deep pool below the bridge is a last memory to savor on the ride home.

The bridge is narrow and aging, and perhaps too old for today's heavy traffic, but it could enjoy a long life yet, allowing visitors to stroll across a traffic-free walkway, and marvel at the river from a bird's eye perspective. For folks with disabilities, this could be one of the few opportunities to view the water from above, to linger a while and perhaps watch paddlers passing beneath. Hikers and horseback riders would doubtless appreciate the option of crossing well away from vehicles, too.

Not every bridge needs or requires a second act, but given the broad appeal of our first national river, none deserves preservation more than the sweet, still graceful, Pruitt Bridge. Want to have a say? There is a petition through Change.org (tinyurl.com/pruittbridge); or call Steve Womack's office.

LIN WELLFORD

Green Forest

On fallen meanings

How nice for the "never-Trumper" Voices editor to explain transcript versus memorandum. Too bad she can't get over a logical telephone call. So how about helping us unwashed with comments on some new meanings for old words being bandied about?

It seems fat is now plus-sized. Curvy means really fat. Fiancée now means we're unmarried and living together in sin, as Jimmy Carter said. And don't ask for our wedding date. It's none of your business. Of course, choice for feminists means "death of a human life form." Where are the word-nerd explanations for these new definitions?

There's more. Discrimination, a perfectly good word meaning thoughtful selection, now is used by the race-baiters to condemn everyone they don't like. And now gay only means sexual perversion. Why are the word nerds hiding under a bushel when they could do so much to correct fallen meanings?

BOB WARNER

Hot Springs Village

Editorial on 01/31/2020

Print Headline: Letters

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