Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for Aug. 13

Justification for military transgender ban is valid

President Donald Trump recently highlighted the issue of transgender personnel serving in the military. While tweeting the announcement was not ideal; his justification of potential negative effects on readiness is valid.

There is a current example at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. Senior Airman Irene “Rini” Nelson recently became Air Combat Command’s first gender transition recognized in official military records.

It’s been a long road for Nelson. Then known as “Steven,” he enlisted in the Air Force in July 2012. He accepted a 6-year enlistment in exchange for selection into the air traffic control career field. He made a commitment that she did not fulfill.

After completing basic training, 14 weeks of ATC tech school, and long months of on-the-job-training, Nelson earned an ATC rating and began work as a line controller.

All that ended in 2016 when, after consultation with military physicians and psychiatrists, Nelson was provided a transition plan and started hormone treatments.

The hormone injections medically disqualified her from ATC duties.

Nelson says, “I will never regret coming out as trans. It has been the best thing I’ve ever done. I feel so personally liberated and happy.”

At the end of her enlistment she will separate from the service.

Medical expenses aside, the Air Force is left holding the bag. One less controller to do the job, whether at home base or deployed.

Nelson is a sample of one. Her circumstance nevertheless underscores the potential impact on readiness of transgender service members in the military.

Bill Malec, O’Fallon

Progressive is not synonymous with liberals, Democrats

Progressive: When we hear that word, some immediately think of liberals or Democrats. They’re not synonymous. Progressivism has less to do with a party but more to do with individuals who seek to redefine, reshape, and rebuild America into a country where individual liberties and personal property mean nothing if they conflict with the plans and goals of the State.

Jack Schrand, Belleville

Constitution was crafted in a very different world

Predictably, my last letter decrying America’s infatuation with guns dispatched the BND’s pro-gun cadre off the rails — again. One letter was completely off subject and the second (from the BND’s self-appointed constitutional scholar) took me to task for suggesting that fair and effective regulation was a worthy endeavor. He wrote a couple hundred words demonstrating his memorization of the Second Amendment, declaring we have 300 laws already on the books. I suppose he thinks we’ve “overregulated” guns? Apparently it’s that mentality that drove the Republican Congress to block restrictions on gun sales to the mentally ill.

Yes, they really did that!

Reciting Constitutional snippets affirming an “all guns all the time” meme is a familiar diversion. But constitutional fundamentalism, backed up by recited text, doesn’t make one a constitutional scholar any more than memorizing the lyrics of “Yesterday” qualifies someone as a songwriter.

The Constitution was crafted by imperfect men during imperfect times, in a very different world. Keeping it “as it was written” suggests maybe some would return to condoning slavery, limiting suffrage to white male landowners, and allowing certain human beings to legally be only three-fifths of a “person”. The brilliance of our Constitution is that it was made to be modified, and has been many times. So maybe it’s time we revisit the Second Amendment because in 21st century America the proliferation, misuse and ineffective regulation of deadly weapons is a scourge depriving too many citizens of their life, liberty and their pursuit of happiness.

Kevin J. Gagen, Belleville

Believe in America

The president has to believe in the United States of America — an allegiance for the freedom of the people. Most people are rational; they like the freedom to grow and expect results.

Barack Obama had no right to trash the gravy train while it fed and furnished him, when you haven’t earned it. Obama spent an abundance; he has not earned his way. He has no right to be underfoot. He doesn’t want Donald Trump to show him up.

Believe in America; the resources that are here allow results.

Make this the United State of America. One nation under God.

Betty Storll, Edwardsville

Why hasn’t Illinois revoked Unique Insurance Company’s license?

There’s a serious question being asked as to why the state hasn’t revoked the business license of Unique Insurance Company.

If you Google “complaints against Unique Insurance Company” you will see hundreds of people expressing their horrific experiences they have had with Unique Insurance Company in dealing with their claims. If you Google “Drivers Claim High Risk Insurer Won’t Pay Up” you can see an NBC 5 Investigates report that Unique Insurance Company at the time of the story was tied for the second highest amount of consumer complaints with an “F” rating by the Better Business Bureau.

A few years ago, the state cited Unique Insurance Company for multiple violations of state regulations for which Unique Insurance Company had to pay a $30,000 fine. But this token fine was peanuts compared to the millions of dollars this insurance company takes in in premium payments. This token fine hasn’t had much of an impact as many people continue to be victimized by Unique Insurance Company.

Why is the state allowing this abusive insurance company to stay in business with so many people being victimized by continued abuses as to their claims? Why won’t the Illinois Department of Insurance revoke its business license? Why won’t Attorney General Lisa Madigan prosecute Unique Insurance Company for its abuses against the many victims?

Gov. Bruce Rauner always talks a big game about cleaning things up in the state. If you’re smart, you will stay away from Unique Insurance Company and take your business elsewhere.

Brian Vukadinovich, Wheatfield, Indiana

You don’t have to embrace everything with blind allegiance

Considerable gall? Who, me? It would seem that one of my letters has struck a nerve. Again. But before we play “Why That Luebbers Guy Is A Reprobate,” let’s clarify a few points.

Point One: I am unapologetically Christian. Point Two: I am unapologetically Roman Catholic. Point Three: The Holy Father (Pope Francis) and I are on the same team, aspiring with millions of others to achieve the ultimate prize.

Just because I disagree with a comment of his does not mean that I do not respect the man. I would love nothing more than to meet him someday and shake his hand. Having said that, must I embrace everything he says with blind allegiance? Of course not.

He has made the reference several times in the past that Mary and Joseph were homeless. In his speech in Washington D.C. on Sept. 24, 2015, he stated that “We can imagine what Joseph must have been thinking. How is it that the Son of God has no home? Why are we homeless? Why don’t we have housing?”

Some would say that his comments have a political tone. Some would say they do not. But I stand by my belief that Joseph and Mary did indeed have a home. That is not to say they didn’t have an extremely difficult situation, not just in Bethlehem, but in the dangerous journey just getting there. A very pregnant woman riding those grueling miles on a donkey? That had to be torture.

Gerard Luebbers, Carlyle