During the fast-tracked effort to reform health care, millions of phone calls and emails to our representatives, communicating the needs and concerns of constituents, gained the attention of both sides of the aisle. Representatives had to listen, for fear that upcoming elections would hold them accountable.

Hurrah for all those who contacted their representatives. Hurrah for representatives who chose to listen and respond, rather than dig in or threaten.

Hurrah for our broken and stumbling democracy that, despite voter suppression, corporate influence and the theatrics of “alternative truth,” was able to respond when those affected powerfully communicated that health care reform, as presented, was not what they wanted.

This is not the end of the health care debate. Costs will continue to rise. Corporate and political interests will continue to create policies more pleasing and profitable to them. People will continue to try to find affordable health care that meets their needs.  Politicians will continue to argue and blame. Other issues will compete for attention.

But remember this moment. It is possible for people to wield influence, to stop or adjust a huge and complicated policy rolling full speed down the tracks, to get their representatives to listen and respond. Perhaps Washington will learn from this. Perhaps our representatives will even begin working together, putting in the time and effort to propose policies and budgets that respect and include those they represent.

Cathleen Finn

Cuyahoga Falls

Be proud ?of Akron

Matt Barlet, director of operations for CANAPI (Community AIDS Network Akron Pride Initiative) is absolutely right, “It’s a big deal.”

I am so proud to live in a community whose leaders have proposed legislation to form an Akron Civil Rights Commission (“Akron’s LGBT residents may gain protections,” March 21).

I am proud of Mayor Dan Horrigan and Ward 1 Councilman Rich Swirsky, in whose ward I am privileged to live. I am proud of Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro, a lifelong supporter of equal rights, Clerk of Courts Sandra Kurt and the people who elected them. I am proud of our local NAACP branch, UA, Kent State and the First Congregational Church of Akron for their support. They are positioning this city to be light years ahead of many others.

Lynette Brown

Akron

Cursive still ?carries value

Having read a couple of letters on the obsolescent nature of teaching cursive writing, I wish to offer a couple of observations as a retired teacher, not of English but of science and mathematics.

When I began to teach in the mid-1970s, many of my middle school-aged students submitted their lab reports in cursive. By the time I moved to high school in the 1990s, printing had all but taken over. Finally, as a math and physics instructor of college students, cursive was essentially gone, and word processing (with spell check) became favored, with printing a close second. Fortunately, I could decode all of these.

There are many occupations that call for people to read cursive. Certainly, anyone doing any sort of research would need to be able to read documents and tables done before the 1980s. Postal employees must be able to figure out more than the mere numbers on hand-addressed envelopes.

I’m sure there are many more examples and reasons why young people ought to at least have a passing familiarity with cursive handwriting.

Jim Walker

Massillon

What really ails ?health care

Columnist Charles Krauthammer should start talking about the real issues with health care in America (“Get real about the repeal,” March 18). His insistence on labeling people as “right” and “left” and his distortion of why President Obama took on the health care industry are a disservice to all of us.

The left did not pass Obamacare to “keep enlarging the entitlement state by creating new giveaways that are politically impossible to repeal.” Obama really wanted a single payer system so that we could rid ourselves of the profiteering insurance industry, which is the root of the high cost of health care.

Of course premiums rose as insurers simply stopped offering insurance that didn’t meet their profit margins, leaving fewer companies with little or no competition. In the end, Obama had to make a deal with insurers, a very imperfect one, but it did, as Krauthammer says, create “new expectations.”

Now, just as in most other developed countries, our citizens have an expectation that they will have health care. So let’s start talking about how we move to a single payer system and use the hundreds of billions of profit pulled out of the system by insurers to provide quality health care to all citizens.

Jack Woodyard

Bath Township