Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, cast their...

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, cast their ballots during early voting in Indianapolis on Oct. 23, 2020. Credit: AP/Michael Conroy

Vice President Mike Pence had a great sound bite on "60 Minutes" recently about the COVID-19 response by the administration: He said that the president and he basically trust the American people to do the right thing for themselves and their families. Sounds good, right? Let’s take it a little further. Why not trust Americans to "do the right thing" when it comes to driving? Who needs rules of the road? Sure, government can put out stop signs, traffic lights and speed limits, but if you don’t think they should apply to you or your family, then do your own thing. But if you decide to speed, run traffic lights and not signal when changing lanes, that might make it impossible for my family to be out on the road without getting killed or injured. OK, maybe that’s not a great plan. Do we need to take into account the common good, the general welfare of the community? Maybe this free-for-all philosophy is not such a great idea, after all. I wonder whether Pence would favor making the rules of the road optional? After all, it worked so well dealing with COVID-19.

Rita Reid,


Life is stressful: Deal with it

Many Americans desire a stress-free existence. We want no stress of any sort — no physical stress, no mental stress and no emotional stress. Give us an unbroken string of stress-free days stretching to our golden horizon. Don’t stress me out, bro! And don’t dare stress out my kids! If that seems right to you, allow me to say two things: You are entitled to your beliefs, but you couldn’t be more wrong. To me, the no-stress lifestyle would be free of achievement, free of exercise, free of curiosity and wonder. I see the desire for a stress-free lifestyle as the epidemic that preceded our current one. It is why I believe many Americans are overweight, over-entertained, under-educated and pitied by other countries. Even worse is the idea we should only "stress" American students as preparation for American standardized tests, a notion made ridiculous by the ongoing erosion of anything in our public education system remotely resembling a standard. Deal with stress. Go for a walk. Ride a bike. Read a newspaper and think about things on your own without someone telling you why you’re so stressed. Life is stress. I see no good alternative.

Jim Incorvaia,


Editor’s note: The writer is a retired teacher.

This is the best physical ed teacher

I have been a proud physical education teacher for more than 30 years. The physical education teacher that a reader described does not exist in my school district or in any schools with which I am familiar. Clearly, a choice C should have also been an option. Option C would describe the physical education teacher who teaches sport skills and fitness concepts daily to his or her students. This is the teacher who creates a fun, motivating environment where the students are free to acquire new skills and challenge their personal fitness levels. Option C is the teacher who reaches the novice performer, the shy, reserved student or the class clown seeking attention. Option C is the motivator who pushes students out of their comfort zone, teaches sportsmanship, leadership, competition and the ability to both win and lose correctly. The modern-day physical education teacher is also concerned with the social and emotional health of students. We can observe and interact with students in a more relaxed setting and therefore connect with them in a unique way. Option C is the option with which I identify. The teachers with whom I work, all identify as option C.

Craig Papach,


Editor’s note: The writer teaches physical education at John F. Kennedy High School in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District.

America’s politics needs a cure

Cathy Young’s comments regarding the so-called "progressives" is a welcome breath of fresh air. I have seen this "progressive" movement taking over control on college campuses and political meetings so opinions other than theirs are shouted down or beaten down. As an independent who has voted for whichever party’s candidates showed the most support for centrist politics, I have been more and more disgusted with both parties over the past five or six national elections. It seems to me that they do not care about America but merely about what will make their Democratic or Republican Party more powerful, gerrymandering election districts to make real American centrists unable to win primary elections. Thus, we have the rise of far left and far right politicians who do not wish to find compromises that might help the public. And so we no longer find our best and greatest citizens interested in getting caught up in the ugliness of today’s American politics. I don’t have answers to fix this political sickness, but I hope that some able, qualified citizen(s) will find answers and cure our country before it gets worse.

Harold Lewis,

Long Beach

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