Remember Herb Caen, the now-deceased columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle? I got to thinking about him the other day because of how his column was rarely about a single topic but, instead, 'twas usually a collection of little tidbits of information, sometimes serious, sometimes humorous.
I began to wonder how he might view, if he were alive today, our penchant for brief communications on Twitter. In a way, his column was much like Twitter: brief comments about a whole variety of things. I can picture him laughing out loud about Mr. Trump's addiction to using Twitter as the means to offering his views and values on almost every issue: domestic and foreign as well as political.
Then I got to pondering about our local letters to the editor. In almost every case the letters (sometimes very long-winded) are only about one subject. And I thought how interesting it might be if letter writers began to "pen" letters about several issues at once, a la the Twitter format. Would the letters editor --and, more importantly, the readers -- enjoy perusing such missives? So in this letter, I thought I'd give it a try myself, just to see what kind of response it gets. So here goes.
Among the concerns about what is happening globally, why is so little attention being given to the plight of more than 20 million people facing starvation and famine? It is the largest humanitarian crisis we have faced since 1945. And our new administration is doing -- what?
Americans spend $3.3 trillion a year on health care. Yet our life expectancy is shorter, our infant mortality higher, and our overall health worse than in places like Canada and the U.K. And we're still trying to decide whether we should treat such care as a commodity or as something like education, electricity, or police and fire protection -- a basic necessity that government should ensure that everyone gets.
"Fake news" is a popular expression nowadays. Plus, there are "facts" and now, "alternative facts." And when it comes to climate change there seems to be something new: there's "science" and there is "alternative science."
I wonder how we would feel if someone showed up on our doorstep one day and said, "My ancestors used to live here 2,000 years ago when God gave us this land, so you've got to go. I'm moving in." That pretty much sums up the plight of the Palestinians today. I have to wonder how we'd take it if Native Americans dropped by and said, "Y'know, you people took our land by force of colonization and said your God is greater than the Great Spirit, but that's wrong on both counts. We want it back."
And speaking of "Indians," on the local front, now that Napa High is temporarily coach-free in football, this might be a good time to replace tackle football with flag football. There's no end of evidence to show the former to be very dangerous physically. What a time for our school board to take educational leadership and do the right thing. Oh, boy -- now I'm asking for it. And you thought the Indian mascot name was inflammatory. Get rid of tackle football-are you kidding me? What's next -- giving women equal pay for equal work? Good grief.
Let's see: how else can I get into trouble here? By quoting the Acts of the Apostles, the first part of the 1 New Testament after the four gospels: "Behold how these Christians love one another." When I drive by Planned Parenthood protesters on Jefferson, it feels like a more accurate modern description would be: "Behold how these Christians judge one another."
Editor’s note: While the Register doesn’t require letter writers to stick to a single topic, we would strongly encourage them to do so.