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McCain and Aretha were heroes

Despite the often grim realities of today’s world, great Americans rise above sexism, racism, discrimination, hatred and bigotry. It is here where the trajectories of great people meet despite their different beginnings. Great Americans rise above the clouds of inhumanity and injustice to champion the worth of every human being, great Americans like Aretha Franklin and John McCain.

Whether he was refusing to leave his North Vietnam captivity until others were released, correcting the woman who falsely claimed Obama was a Muslim, giving the thumbs down on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act or responding graciously after a Trump attack during the final weeks of his life, people like McCain illustrate why America has never stopped being great.

Aretha belonged to us all regardless of race, creed or color. She lifted up the downtrodden and helped the privileged become more grounded. Hers was a universal language that demanded ethical, theological and sociological reflection.

We are far from perfect as a nation, but out of the darkness comes voices and lives that light our paths; voices that refuse to be silenced or compromised. America will miss Aretha and McCain. Fortunately, we still have her music of faith, hope and love. And we have his words of unity, peace and humanity.

In the Christian tradition, Jesus speaks about Christians as salt and light. Jesus reminds His followers that in a world that lacks the seasonings of love, justice and equality, we must be those missing ingredients. In a world that seems to linger in the darkness, we are the light that reveals the right path by lifting up truth and denouncing lies and deceit.

With the deaths of John McCain and Aretha Franklin, it is now our turn to be that light, to be that seasoning that keeps America great.

Dr. Kenneth Harris, president

Detroit’s Ecumenical Theological Seminary.


For health care, one size does not fit all 

Taking care of our health and the health care of our loved ones remains a top concern for most Americans. When considering our health care, we review available plans in effort to choose the option that fits with our family’s needs relative to cost, quality and access to our current physicians and hospitals.

As much as health care has been the central point of many debates, I think we all agree every American deserves access to affordable health care. Maybe a better question to ask is what’s the best way to make that happen? Americans want a health care system that provides better affordability, more options, and is accessible to all. American families do not want a health care system that limits choice of doctor, access to care, or threatens the viability of our health care safety net programs.

A government-run Medicare for All health system would limit choices when choosing a health care plan that fits families. It would only include a single government run plan. This would mean that changes in the political party in power could result in changes in healthcare coverage options and funding levels.


When this happens, individuals are forced to seek additional coverage through supplemental plans. While we often look to Canada as a great example of government healthcare, two in three Canadians purchase a supplemental plan in addition to their government-provided care, which doesn’t cover things like prescription drugs, dental health, and vision care.

We need to really think through how to protect and strengthen our current health care system so that we can continue to work towards balancing cost, quality and access to the health care choices we so appreciate in the United States.

Darlene Twymon

Rochester Hills

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