Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for March 17

The diet of Lent

March 6 marked the beginning of Lent, the period before Easter, when devout Christians abstain from animal foods in remembrance of Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the wilderness.

The call to abstain from eating animals is as traditional as Genesis 1:29, yet as current as the teaching of evangelical leader Franklin Graham. Methodist founder John Wesley, Salvation Army pioneers William and Catherine Booth, and Seventh-day Adventist Church founder Ellen White all followed the divine call. Pope Francis has been offered a $1 million donation to a charity of his choice to go vegan for Lent.

A plant-based diet is not just about Christian devotion. Dozens of medical studies have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risk of heart failure, stroke, cancer, and other killer diseases. A United Nations report named meat production as the largest source of greenhouse gases and water pollution. Undercover investigations have documented routine mutilation, deprivation, and beating of animals on factory farms.

Today’s supermarkets offer a rich array of plant-based meats, milks, cheeses, and ice creams, as well as traditional vegetables, fruits, and grains. Entering “vegan” in our favorite search engine provides lots of suitable products, recipes, and transition tips.

Andrew Petuchov, Olympia

Electoral College blues

Did someone lose their copy of the Federalist Papers? Cherished American ideals like “one person, one vote” and “equity and fairness” apply to individual voters of course, but the entire context of America’s complex political history as well as regionalism and diversity needs to be considered when discussing the contemporary value of the Electoral College. It’s too convenient and reactionary to throw out how we elect our chief executive. Let’s not forget that we have three branches of federal government. And only a third of the branches are directly elected.

How about considering the phrase “tyranny of the majority” and “representative government” in the discussion of the future of our red, white and blue republic?

Chris Richardson, Tumwater

You can’t legislate more sunlight

Our legislature is trying to make us believe that year-round Daylight Saving Time will create sunlight.

Daylight Saving Time is an excellent way for those of us in the mid-latitudes (relative to the equator and polar regions) to make the most of the available sunlight -- in the summer but not in the winter. At the equator, the daylight is the same all year so DST is not needed. At the poles, the variation in day length over the seasons is extreme and one hour makes little difference.

The US tried having DST in the winter starting in January 1974; it was a huge failure. I was in public school then. It wasn’t just dark, it was night when I went to school. Public outcry that year against the added dangers for school children and morning commuters pushed Congress to reinstate standard time for the winter of 1976 and all winters since.

In Olympia the sun rises at 7:58 a.m. standard time in early January. Going to DST year-round will push that time to 8:58 a.m. In Port Angeles, the sun will rise after 9 a.m. Seems more than a little depressing.

The proposed legislation will cause more harm than good and should be rejected.

John Hutson, Olympia