Letter to the Editor: Opinions are not facts


Former Sen. Patrick Moynihan once said that everyone is entitled to this own opinions but not his own facts. With that in mind, it behooves me to respond to certain comments made on these pages.

First, Leroy Donald’s claim that America’s health care system was respected and admired the world over is absurd. Yes, we have the best quality health care in the world. The only problem is that it isn’t available to millions of Americans. That is why more than 40,000 Americans die because they cannot afford health insurance, and the majority of bankruptcies occur because of medical expenses. Moreover, in this, the richest country in the world, we shamefully rank 33rd in life expectancy and 30th in infant mortality.

How can any reasonable and compassionate person admire such a broken system? The Affordable Care Act, despite its many problems, is a good first step in putting this country on a par with the rest of the industrialized world by providing affordable health care to all its citizens at half the cost.

Equally absurd is Dan Flather’s claim that Ronald Reagan was responsible for the ultimate release of Nelson Mandela. It is a matter of record that Reagan supported the oppressive regime in South Africa and opposed sanctions by vetoing a bill passed by Congress. Fortunately, it was overridden by a coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats and played a significant part in bringing F.W. De Klerk to the bargaining table that resulted in the freeing of Mandela and eventually ending apartheid.

It is a little known fact that Cuba played an equally significant role in freeing South Africa by sending troops to Angola to help drive out South African forces in 1988. The handwriting was on the wall and in 1990 Mandela was released, and in 1994 he was the first black man elected president in South Africa’s history.

This is all outlined in Piero Gieijeses’ book “Visions of Freedom” in which he gives Mandela the last word during his 1991 trip to Cuba. “We come here with a great sense of debt that is owed the people of Cuba.”

Gene Rigelon, Front Royal