DEAR EDITOR:

In the Oct. 5 issue, Dick Yarbrough’s “Random Thoughts” column was like journeying through a mad wizard’s maze, hopping from subject to subject. Most dizzying of all was his pitiful attempt to conflate the pending impeachment proceedings with the state of senior care facilities in Georgia, as if the two had something to do with each other. His telling sentence on bad senior care was “ … ask anyone whose loved one has experienced this nightmare if they know who the president of the Ukraine is. Or, if they give a damn … ”

This was a journalistic trick right from the Trump playbook: when Trump has done something stupid, wrong, or illegal, try to grab the news cycle back by pivoting to a different issue or blame the other side for their misdeeds. At least Mr. Yarborough didn’t double down and allege that Trump’s conversation with the president of the Ukraine was “perfect.” I’ll give him that much credit. Anyone who can read the released transcript of the conversation knows better.

But here’s the thing: People should care about both issues, because both are very important. I’ve been on this planet for seven decades now and yes, we should support legislators who do more to ensure safe and better service to our seniors. Senior care is a very big issue for me and others my age.

But leaving the country a better place than when I got here is also high on my agenda. I honorably served and retired from the U.S. Army, having six different commanders-in-chief. During this time, party politics often seemed like a lover’s quarrel, sometimes catty, sometimes furious, but the first president I served, Richard Nixon, resulted in an out and out divorce. The hush money, the cover ups, the dirty campaign tricks, and the out and out criminal behavior pointed the proper path for Congress. They put country above politics. In the end Nixon saw where it was going and he resigned. Yes, it still sticks in my craw that I voted for that guy twice.

The situation with Ukraine is equally bad, if not worse. Speaker Nancy Pelosi had no intent of going the impeachment route, no matter how much the Mueller report said about the various obstructions committed by the president. But when it came to the president and his lawyer lackey soliciting a foreign government to dig up imaginary dirt on a political rival, the gloves came off. No there didn’t need to be a stated quid pro quo. No, it didn’t matter that the whistleblower was relying on and analyzing reports of others (something frequently done in intelligence work). What mattered is that the president of the United States and his lackey were soliciting a foreign leader to meddle in our affairs, just like a streetwalker and pimp solicit a john to turn a trick.

So yes, Mr. Yarborough, I give a damn about the care our senior citizens get, and yes, I give a damn about the current state of the presidency. And yes, I know who President Volodymyr Zelensky is. So please stop conflating issues; just be a journalist.

Paul F. Culotta

Rome

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