Letters to the Editor

Who deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom?

On Monday, Donald Trump announced he will be awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Republican lawmakers Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan. Also on Monday, Orange County learned about Phillip Ingram, a Hoag Hospital janitor who dreamed up a unique fundraising idea. His story was so inspiring, KNBC-TV in Los Angles aired a segment about him Tuesday evening. 

If you ask me, Mr. Ingram deserves the medal more than these two members of Congress. His motive to help others is selfless; being elected officials, their motives typically are, shall I say, far more self-serving.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

Editor’s note: The story on 38-year-old Ingram details a man who started from humble beginnings and who began collecting pennies from other people he came across in life. Those pennies totaled up to $1,400 which he then donated to the Boys & Girls Club.

His employer, Hoag Hospital, has now begun a payroll deduction plan for their 6,500 employees to further support Ingram’s efforts. The deductions begin at 50 cents and go up to $5.

2021 brings with it a feeling of hope

The “American Dream” was created by the hope and resiliency of hard-working people who persevered through the years with their blood, sweat and tears, determined to make a better life for themselves and their families.

We need to always remember not to lose our dream, as hope has no fear. It helps us to be strong when everything goes wrong. The year 2020 was tumultuous and devastating, to most everyone in the world, from our country to our community, most stricken with grief, strife and devastation. This new world is unknown to us and has created animosity, anxiety and unfamiliar sorrow amongst families and friends.

As we enter into the year 2021, perhaps hope is the gift of life and that we have a purpose to regenerate, reinvigorate as Americans; to always bear in mind the sacrifices and the lives that were lost protecting our freedom and that freedom is not free, nor will it ever be. 

This year should be a lesson to all of us, that life should not be taken for granted and that technology should not replace the human spirit and that good shall prevail. If we commit to memory where our ancestors came from and what they fought for in the beginning, we will comprehend and appreciate those small things that we may have overlooked in 2020.

It begins with each of us to be the best of what our country stands for and to educate and learn from our past. We need to recognize that each of us has an obligation to make our country and our community healthier. We must return to our core values and have a sense of trust, not in our government but in one another. 

Peggy V. Palmer

Newport Beach

Individual rights stop where another person’s rights begin 

After reading Tom Johnson’s Fair Game column about religious groups who are holding massive “maskless” rallies, in this case, specifically the ones of Sean Feucht’s who is coming to town at the end of the month, I felt motivated to write about this subject.

As an avid churchgoer in my youth and a believer in an omnipotent supreme power (and yes, I pray on a regular basis), I feel the necessity to disagree with those who would put others in harm’s way because of their purported personal religious beliefs. As a multicultural nation, we should not be allowing self-appointed religious groups to adopt practices that run counter to the established community health protocols currently in place for COVID or any other natural disaster. 

Thousands are dying, our nation is suffering economically, and we are arguing over the fact that we have to wear masks. It seems surreal. 

God gave us a brain to reason and to explore, not to stagnate and accept dogma from those who are anti-reason. The majority of people in America resent the mentality that questions the rational decisions of our health specialists and instead substitutes superstitious and selfish decisions that are causing innocent deaths and economic pain. And not only are some of the arguments that rebellious religious groups use anti-reason, but they may also be construed as anti-biblical as well.

I am not one to speak much about the Bible or any other religion in our non-sectarian culture, but if other people do, I like to be armed with factual information. In this case, the Bible has the following to say concerning what is construed as wise and foolish since these maskless groups are raising the issue. In the following verses you will find some biblical answers to the definition of wisdom: Proverbs 12:23, Proverbs 15:2 and Proverbs 15:7.

Not only are some people asserting what they believe are their religious rights over civil authority, at the expense of the majority, they are asserting what they believe are their basic first amendment rights as well. 

First of all, we do not have a pure democracy, we have a representative democracy. The only pure democracy that existed was in Greece, over 2,000 years ago. Because of the size of the U.S., we have a representative democracy or a republic. 

We have a plethora of personal rights, but our individual rights stop where another person’s rights begin. The classic example of this is the fact that you don’t have the right to yell fire in a crowded auditorium. But every day we are confronted with this concept of limited democracy when we drive, when we speak in front of an audience on our job, when we do not park in front of our neighbor’s driveway, when we do not park in a red zone, the list goes on and on. Some of these rights are explicit (such as seat belt use) and some are implied (parking in front of your neighbor’s walkway).

One of the roles of our government, both local and federal, is to ensure that no person be deprived of his/her freedom without just cause. Individuals who say they have a right to go “maskless” and not “social distance,” at the risk of infecting others with a deadly virus, are breaking not only a religious covenant but one with their fellow man. And they are making a mockery of religious freedom and democracy.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach