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Opinion | Should Biden Bow Out, as David Axelrod Urged?

Admin By Admin Nov26,2023

To the Editor:

Re “The Axe Is Sharp,” by Maureen Dowd (column, Nov. 19):

While reading Ms. Dowd’s column on whether President Biden should run for a second term, I was struck by a historical parallel. Like Mr. Biden, President Lyndon B. Johnson had served a deeply charismatic president and used his extensive senatorial experience to seal that president’s vision with legislation.

But facing health concerns and declining popularity because of the Vietnam War, as well as surprisingly strong opposition by Robert F. Kennedy, Johnson decided that his moment had passed.

As David Axelrod has noted, it is time to consider allowing other Democratic leaders to step forward. Mr. Biden has served the nation honorably for longer than most Americans have been alive, guiding the country through dark times and leaving a clear legislative mark.

For his swan song, he can try to hold on to power until he is 86. Or he can choose to guide the nation peacefully through the turbulence of the coming electoral storm — not from the campaign trail, but as a steady presence in the Oval Office. I can think of no higher service.

Greer Brigham
New York

To the Editor:

I think it is too late for a change in the Democratic candidate for president in 2024. Instead, let’s get on with real communications about President Biden’s accomplishments, and start mounting a real campaign to win back some of the lost constituencies that supported Mr. Biden in 2020. Where in the world is the Democratic campaign?

Michael T. Ferro
Endwell, N.Y.

To the Editor:

I was so disheartened to read about President Biden’s reaction to David Axelrod’s sage advice. Instead of calling Mr. Axelrod a nasty name, Mr. Biden should listen and withdraw from the presidential race to allow younger Democrats to take a shot at it.

I think that almost any Democratic candidate has a better chance than Mr. Biden of beating Donald Trump, who is himself quite unpopular. But, unfortunately, as with so many older politicians, ego has gotten in the way.

I think Mr. Biden has done some good things as president. But all signs are pointing to a loss for him next November. And not a loss to just anyone — a loss to Mr. Trump, who has been promising an authoritarian regime.

Is this how President Biden wants to be remembered — as the politician whose ego caused the demise of American democracy?

To the Editor:

Re “In October, Johnson Said U.S. Culture Is ‘Depraved’” (news article, Nov. 18):

Mike Johnson, the new House speaker, publicly lamented last month that this country’s culture was “so dark and depraved it almost seems irredeemable,” casting blame for this largely on the L.G.B.T.Q. community.

Moreover, Mr. Johnson then “choked up” as he led a call in prayer, beseeching, “We repent for our sins individually and collectively.”

Omit me and my proudly queer ilk from your collective flagellations, thank you very much, Mr. Speaker!

Hate under the cloak of religious piety can only lead to depraved violence, a far greater sin.

Ted Gallagher
New York

To the Editor:

When Americans Are Hungry, It’s Not for Human Interaction” (front page, Nov. 8) discusses the rapidly increasing use of drive-throughs and the reasons for their popularity.

True enough. However, the article barely touches upon a critical issue: Drive-throughs are responsible for a great deal of pollution and global-warming emissions. I’ve seen drive-throughs with 20-plus cars, all idling for many minutes. The cumulative effect of all these cars in all these drive-throughs is significant.

I live near Minneapolis and wholeheartedly support its ban on new drive-throughs. For people who are unable to get into the restaurant, accommodations can be made, such as a staff member bringing out the order. The rest of us can turn off our cars, go into the restaurant and get an order to go.

Nic Baker
Roseville, Minn.

To the Editor:

I read this article with a gnawing unease.

We are experiencing a crisis of human connection. Rates of depression and anxiety continue to rise. And the pandemic threw gasoline on an already simmering flame of loneliness about which our surgeon general has written so eloquently (“We Have Become a Lonely Nation. It’s Time to Fix That,” Opinion guest essay, April 30). Drive-through culture is not helping.

In fact, a rich body of evidence suggests that the tiniest daily interactions actually do matter and can have a positive impact on health, well-being and a sense of belonging. In fact, one clever study demonstrated that people who have even the smallest gestures of connection with their barista experience a more “positive affect.” These connections with strangers can be delightful and deliver some of the most unexpected joys.

So just say hello to someone, hold a door open, make eye contact, remember the name of the server at your regular coffee shop, thank the kid bagging your groceries.

Less is not more when it comes to the need for human connection.

Reena L. Pande
Milton, Mass.
The writer is a physician and the former chief medical officer at AbleTo, a virtual mental health provider.

While President Biden has granted assistance to temporarily halt the crisis, this is just a Band-Aid to close a gaping wound. As a New Orleans native and an activist dedicated to urban renewal and equity, I know that we need to fundamentally address the issue of climate change for our most vulnerable communities.

We have seen vast differences in environmental responses based on the racial and income composition of residents of a given area. New Orleans is no different. Climate change affects people of lower socioeconomic status disproportionately, yet they often have greater barriers to receiving aid.

Last year the United States Environmental Protection Agency opened its Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights to address some of these challenges. However, there is no legislation that mandates local jurisdictions to actually implement programs that enforce environmental justice principles. In addition, climate change conversations in our more marginalized communities are needed but not happening.

Quick fixes will not solve the problem. We need coordinated action across federal and state governments that also involves input from community members. Our most vulnerable citizens should not bear the brunt of climate change in this country.

Monique Brown
New Orleans

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