voice for democracy

We’re all concerned about the future of democracy; please Mayor Buckley, just get back to work | READER COMMENTARY – Capital Gazette

On Sunday, Gerald Winegrad wrote, “We must heal our fractured democracy, or see it perish.” I respect Mr. Winegrad’s intelligence and his continued contributions to our city, state, and nation. As a retired naval air veteran, I agree with his expressed fears concerning our current political climate and the push toward the demise of our democracy as envisioned by our Founding Fathers.
I concur with his intellectual premise that attacks on our democracy are abundant, be they from racism, Marxism, Black Lives Matter, critical race theory, neo-Nazis or alleged white supremacist activities. However, when he blames the lies on supporters of former President Donald Trump, I have to pause. “Does the truth matter anymore in this country?” How does this assertion calm the distrust, or dispel the fact that the attacks start with President Joe Biden, the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Joint Chiefs of Staff, the speaker of the House, both the House and Senate.
“What we are now experiencing is not what veterans served and fought for. It is certainly not what I served for.” I concur Mr. Winegrad, but you are completely out of order to blame only those of us who supported a candidate that we felt would not lead us to the death of democracy.
Charlie Kidd, Harwood
You had my heart strings going with the start of Gerald Winegrad’s Sunday column. The vitriol and lack of respect shown during the Vietnam War to those who served in that unpopular war were front and center in the news — as was the war itself on the nightly news. I was in high school at the time and in agreement with all the hippies and anti-war liberals who held protests in D.C. I wanted to go to these protests but my father, an enlisted 21-year career soldier who spent one tour of duty in Vietnam, would have tarred and feathered me.
But then you lost me, Gerald. You suddenly turned your plea for unity into three paragraphs of attacking conservatives and Trump supporters, saying that if only those people will fall into lockstep with the rest of you, America will be saved. It seems we all feel democracy is in danger of being lost in America, no matter which side of the great divide we are on. But continuing to attack half of the population while claiming E Pluribus Unum is not healing.
Amy Leahy, Severna Park
How about we treat every man who wants to buy a gun like every woman who wants to get an abortion — a mandatory 48-hour waiting period, parental permission, a note from his doctor proving he understands what he’s about to do, a video he has to watch about the effects of gun violence. Let’s close down all but one gun shop in every state and make him travel hundreds of miles, take time off from work, and stay overnight in a strange town to get a gun. Make him walk through a gantlet of people holding photos of loved ones who were shot to death, calling him a murderer, and begging him not to buy a gun.
Think about it. It sure makes sense to me.
Liz Barrett, Annapolis
Congratulations on your reelection Mayor Buckley.
As one of the 9,927 residents who voted to give you and your vision for Annapolis four more years, I need to ask, “Do we really need all the pomp and circumstance?” Times are tough for many; divisiveness is at an all-time high while tolerance for others is at an all-time low. Violent crime seems to be getting worse, downtown business prospects are abysmal, development is unchecked, traffic is awful, racial and socioeconomic divides worsen by the day. There’s a 50/50 chance (maybe more) that every time I enter a store wearing a protective face mask, that I may get into an argument with someone who disagrees with the choice I believe is right for my family.
There is so much work to be done to help this town get back on the track of prosperity. A celebration of Gavin Buckley just seems wrong; the kind of wrong that puts a knot in one’s stomach.
So please, just do the work that we need you and your administration to do. Show some humility (Red carpet gathering. $5,000 VIP seating. Really?) Earn our respect and appreciation through action and tangible results. If you are successful, Annapolis will be in a better place four years from now. Then, there will be plenty of time to celebrate your accomplishments and plenty of time for your constituents to thank you for your hard work and commitment to our community. Until then, please, just get back to work.
Matt Barry, Annapolis
“The Age of AI And Our Human Future.” This is the title of a new book on artificial intelligence. It was written by three authors who have each been extraordinarily successful in their respective careers. They are Eric Schmidt, who helped build Google into a tech powerhouse; Daniel Huttenlocher, the inaugural dean of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing; and 1973 Nobel Peace laureate Henry A. Kissinger, with a lifetime in global security and intelligence. The book is not overly complex and technical. Yet it tackles the profound and fundamental changes AI holds for all of us.
Artificial intelligence has already begun to transform how we experience reality and how humans navigate the world.
The book’s logical presentation moves from the early years of the development of artificial intelligence to the present and on to what we can expect in the future. It also enumerates AI’s present successes and ongoing potential.
Not since the Enlightenment — the Age of Reason — have we begun so sweepingly to change our approaches to science, economics, civil order, and security. AI is making advances in areas such as education and medicine. Two examples of its capacity and success are Alpha Zero, a chess-playing machine, and halicin, an AI-generated antibiotic.
AI is already much smarter than we are. The world’s fastest supercomputer is capable of performing 415 quadrillion calculations every second. Of course AI systems need to have humans organize and clean up the masses of data and input the data. The more use we make of AI, the greater its potential for society.
Despite its great potential, we need to be concerned about the rise of artificial intelligence. Will it affect what it means to be human, productive and able to exercise free will? We must make sure technology is consistent with our values.
Perry L. Weed, Annapolis
Perry L. Weed, is an attorney and founder/director of the Economic Club of Annapolis. His e-mail is [email protected] .

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