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Rep. Fleming’s votes ‘inexplicable’

By now, Hoosiers are accustomed to being forcibly marched into the past by an increasingly reactionary, anti-science GOP supermajority in the General Assembly. Perhaps the biggest surprise from this last legislative session is that more voter suppression and anti-trans bills, the hottest conservative-think-tank diversions du jour, didn’t make it out of committee, even as they passed in so many other red states. We should count our blessings, I suppose.

The problem is that now there is no wind to counter the overwhelming stench of ignorance emanating from House Republicans. Rep. Rita Fleming, an OB-GYN who ran entirely unopposed in 2020, has voted with the GOP on nearly every reality-defying bill. Even after hundreds of mass shootings this year, Fleming voted to remove Indiana’s last formal requirement for anyone to own and carry a firearm anywhere they might like. This vote, while inexplicable, is barely shameful at all when stacked up to Dr. Fleming’s record on reproductive rights. Last year, she voted for the “fetal remains” bill, a remarkably cruel piece of legislation that requires women to bury or cremate miscarriages. This session, she voted for a bill that requires medical professionals to tell women that abortions can be reversed, which Fleming surely knows is a lie. And she went to the House floor to publicly support “born alive” language, which would require medical personnel to provide “life-saving care” to a prematurely born fetus, regardless of the doctor’s judgment or the family’s wishes, even when it is clear that it cannot survive.

It is bad enough to have Republicans dragging us into prehistory. But I would argue that it is worse for a Democrat with a medical degree to cheer them on. Dr. Fleming has abandoned the Democratic voters who trusted her. And she has abandoned the basic principles of reason that are supposed to matter to physicians (even if they might not matter to politicians). If Fleming lacks the integrity to oppose the most intellectually and morally bankrupt bills pushed by ideologues who insist on Indiana’s continued decline, she should resign, or she should switch parties, or she should at least have the decency not to run again. Better a Republican hold that seat, and hear a shout of opposition, than for Indiana Democrats to enable harmful legislation with whispers of approval.

Dan Canon, New Albany

Honor caregivers of dementia patients

Over the past year and a half, the COVID-19 pandemic dominated our lives, restricting everything from where we spend our days to how we interact with others. But we should remember that another silent, deadly pandemic is taking place in the United States. Baby Boomers are aging, and the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease is on the rise.

In Indiana alone, more than 110,000 people are living with Alzheimer’s. The disease kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Across the U.S., one in three older Americans is likely to pass away from Alzheimer’s or dementia, and the number of deaths associated with this disease jumped 16% during the past year of the pandemic.

Standing alongside of those battling this devastating disease are millions of family caregivers who provide intensive, largely unpaid support for their afflicted loved ones. This month, as we recognize The Longest Day, June 20, let’s be sure to honor these caregiving heroes who make it possible for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia to remain safe in the comfort of home and in the presence of family and friends.

Lisa Bennett, Jeffersonville

Political biases a systemic problem

Ask yourself this question and be honest with yourself. Who will you vote for the president in 2024? Will it be a Democrat or Republican? Now be honest. Regardless of this Independent nonsense — the vast majority of you, I’ll bet 80% or better, indicated one of the two parties — without even knowing who will run or their qualifications.

Now do you think 80% or even 40% of our oriental population hates non-Oriental Americans? Of course not. Do you think 80% or 40% of our Black population hates White Americans? Of course not. Do you think 80& or 40% of our White population hates Black Americans? Of course not.

Folks, the most systemic problem we have today is political biases. Systemic Political Biases. The same holds true for senators and representatives. Any wonder we have much the same problems we’ve had for years with not much to show for it other than an unheard of amount of national debt and rising.

John Krueger, Clarksville

Cheers!

Cheers to Aprile Rickert for her June 17, 2021 article on the Fur Takers convention and particularly for the comments by local trapping legend “Chick” Anders. The late Jim Canter (another master trapper, outdoorsman, and forager) introduced me to Chick and the art of trapping and foraging in 1976, and although I only trapped a couple of years, I still forage for herbs and medicinal roots. The convention’s focus on youth and peaking their interest in nature and conservation is to be commended!

Mike Matthews, Jeffersonville

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