Look for the signs of problem gambling
March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges to everyone across the nation.
With that there has been an increase in the number of people that have found themselves struggling with problem gambling. Major triggers for problem gambling are being exacerbated during this time of isolation such as depression, anxiety, loneliness, boredom and stress.
Financial uncertainty can drive a person to gamble in hopes of income. Unfortunately, the end result may be further debt and greater feelings of despair.
Although most adults who gamble can do so for a fun recreational activity for some it may become a problem with negative consequences.
Some warning signs that gambling might be a problem include: thinking about gambling often; lying or covering up gambling behaviors; missing time with friends and loved ones to gamble; gambling to escape negative feelings or problems; gambling more money than a person can afford or planned; unsuccessfully trying to cut back or stop gambling.
If you, or a loved one is struggling reach out. Call the free, confidential NYS HOPELINE — 1-877-8-HOPENY or text HOPENY (467369) for help, and referrals to treatment.
The writer is a Substance Abuse Prevention Educator with Fulton Montgomery Catholic Charities.
State-run elections saved democracy
Michael J. Goff wrote a piece in the Jan. 23 edition of The Gazette entitled “The Electoral College saved democracy.”
I believe, more precisely, it was the system of state-run presidential elections that carried the day.
He conflates the Electoral College with state-by-state voting. Whereas the two are currently intertwined, state-controlled voting for presidential elections could exist without the Electoral College.
What’s important is that authority over the election process remains distributed among the states and kept away from federal government control and, therefore, immune to possible influence from the current president.
Why not have each state’s votes counted and totaled by their individual election boards using methods and procedures of their own choosing, same as today, and then the totals from all states combined to determine the winner?
Mr. Goff asserts that mixing of votes from all states prevents the states from defending their individual totals. But that’s no different than states defending their Electoral College vote today, which, by the way, is a function of the individual totals.
Another approach, that still retains the Electoral College, is to apportion the electoral votes of each state according to the individual vote totals within that state.
For example, in New York, Biden received 5,230,985 votes to Trump’s 3,244,798. This would result in the state’s 29 electoral votes being split 18 for Biden, 11 for Trump. In Texas the split would be 18 for Biden, 20 for Trump. Today, it’s all or nothing.
Consequences of unelecting a president
We did not ‘elect’ Mr. Biden. We ‘unelected’ Mr. Trump.
We did the same thing in 1976. We ‘unelected’ Gerald Ford due to his guilt by association with Mr. Nixon and having pardoned Mr. Nixon. That’s how we got Jimmy Carter, who gave away the Panama Canal, pardoned the draft-dodging cowards who ran away to Canada, totally blew the Iran Hostage Crisis and boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, even after what we did to USSR at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.
Hopefully history won’t repeat itself.
Now is the time for healing, competence
My grandparents left Sicily coming to America in the first decade of the previous century. My father fought in World War II, an existential fight of liberal democracies against fascist despotic regimes. I thought that our greatness, our exceptionalism, came from our people, but not anymore.
Now, many upstate New Yorkers have become sympathetic with fascism. We are not different from 1930s Europe.
If the United States remains exceptional, remains great, it is not our people that make it so. It is the ideals of our founding documents where you find the potential for greatness. Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense,” Thomas Jefferson’s “Declaration of Independence,” the U.S. Constitution, and “The Federalist Papers” by Hamilton, Madison and Jay. The leaders of the 18th century studied history, learning from the failures of the ancient Greeks and Romans. They were the best and brightest of their generation. They gave us a constitution that has been improving over 233 years through the 27 amendments.
We have inherited a democratic republic, with three co-equal branches. This government requires compromise, not just from our elected representatives, but from us. Our republic rests on our informed consent. We have treated this inheritance with disdain by sending Trump to the White House, Stefanik to Congress.
The government is us. We get the government we deserve.
With this new administration, I hope for time of healing with a government of empathy and competence. A resumption of the long slow process of a more perfect union.