As we continue the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, what I’m about to say will not be popular in some quarters. We all know that a high school education is no longer adequate to obtain a well-paying job.

As a result, more young people will spend decades paying off student loans. When I was a student, the University of California was free if you were a resident for at least a year.

I paid for my books and a modest fee each semester. If we continue with the escalating expense of getting a higher education, we will wind up with a pool of uneducated, frustrated Americans who were denied opportunities of their richer compatriots.

I’m suggesting we take some of that money designated for the space program (I’ll let someone else do the math) and put it to education so all who qualify can go to college as I did. If we don’t focus more on education and what happens on this planet, it won’t matter if we get to the moon again.

Bonnie DeClark, San Rafael

Plant trees instead

According to “Aid initiative” (News of the Day, July 21), Mexico has donated $31 million to fund a tree-planting program in El Salvador that authorities say “should create 20,000 jobs.” “Sowing Life” offers farmers $250 a month to “plant fruit or timber trees, and whatever they harvest belongs to them.” The $31 million is pocket change in the U.S. budget.

Why aren’t we planting trees in Central America instead of building walls on our southern border?

Sherry Gulmon, Palo Alto

Battle climate change

Regarding “Rep. Lee no longer lone voice on wars” (Page One, July 21): Thank you for your article highlighting Rep. Barbara Lee’s prescient vote against the War Powers Resolution. She joins two other courageous Americans, Sens. Wayne Morse and Ernest Gruening, who voted against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that gave former President Lyndon B. Johnson authorization to use the military in Vietnam without a declaration of war. In a 21st century of constant war, why is there no debate about beating swords into plowshares? Why, when human cooperation is so desperately needed to battle climate change and other global threats, do neither of the two major U.S. political parties support peace above war?

David Fairley, San Francisco

Republican straws

So according to “If you missed it …” (Daily Briefing, July 21), the President Trump 2020 re-election campaign has been selling $15 10-packs of recyclable, reusable straws that are laser-engraved with the candidate’s name. That’s altogether appropriate, since Trump reminds many people of the Scarecrow character from the classic 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz,” whose signature song was “If I Only Had a Brain.”

Richard Fairchild, Walnut Creek

Groovy concert

So “Outside Lands hopes to add legal pot to lineup” (Page One, Business, July 25)? If this popular festival gets permission from the state’s cannabis office to allow marijuana sales and consumption next month, I wouldn’t be surprised if headliner Paul Simon performs one of his old hit songs from the 1960s to describe his 2019 audience’s state of mind: “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy).”

Marcus Finnerman, San Francisco

Understand the voters

Despite daily outcries about the evils of the Trump administration’s immigration policies, what exactly do the Democrats propose to do differently? Similarly, the use of the word “free” when discussing health care and higher education is sure to make many working Americans suspicious. Democrats in general, and the Democratic candidates for president specifically, need to recognize that the majority of Trump supporters probably aren’t racists, homophobes or anti-immigrant. It’s those voters the Democrats need to understand and address.

Riley VanDyke, San Francisco


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