Thursday, April 26, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Mandela's gift to the world

Nelson Mandela's enduring gift to his country was not only creating a path toward racial reconciliation in South Africa, but living long enough to help manage the transition. Though still a work in progress, South Africa's move toward an integrated society serves as a model on the continent and elsewhere for what leaders can do when they choose to become freedom fighters for the entirety of mankind.

Mandela, who died Thursday at 95, will be remembered as the father of modern South Africa and an inspirational leader far beyond his country. Imprisoned by the white regime for 27 years for leading opposition to the official policy of racial segregation, Mandela wrote a new chapter for both his country and himself, leading the nation to its first multiracial election in 1994 and taking office as that country's first black and democratically elected president.

His courage, conscience and dedication to peaceful change might be seen as quaint in the modern era, given the anxiety over global terror and the spike in religious extremism. But his extraordinary journey was as hard as any in the world today. The pain, sacrifice and humiliations he suffered for such a long period could have taken South Africa into an entirely different direction. But feeling the brunt of subjugation firsthand convinced Mandela, as he said in his inaugural, that racial oppression by any side could happen "never, never and never again."

The strength of character he showed in reaching out to his tormenters was one thing. Another was his ability to hold the nation together during a spasm of change in the 1990s and put South Africa on a new course. He and Frederik de Klerk, the white president who preceded him, shared a sense of trust, respect and pragmatism that ultimately acted as a moral force to bring a peaceful end to apartheid.

Mandela's sense of forgiveness continues to be an inspiration worldwide. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair recounted this week how Mandela served as a role model in peace talks over Northern Ireland. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry invoked Mandela's spirit in calling on the Israelis and Palestinians to make the hard choices necessary for a lasting peace deal. Mandela may be gone, but he remains a towering figure in South Africa and across the globe, and his message of reconciliation is a legacy that will live long after next week's tributes and funeral.

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Editorial: St. Petersburg’s waste-to-energy to wastefulness project

Editorial: St. Petersburg’s waste-to-energy to wastefulness project

A St. Petersburg waste-to-energy plant now under construction has been billed for years as an environmentally friendly money saver. Now it looks more like a boondoggle, with the cost and mission changing on the fly. It’s yet another example of a city...
Updated: 9 hours ago

‘Happy hour’ tax cuts may result in hangovers

Evidence is mounting that the $1.5 trillion tax-cut package enacted in December by congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump was a bad idea, not only for the long-run health of the economy but for the short-term political prospects of the ...
Published: 04/25/18
Editorial: As USFSP consolidation task force meets, openness and collaboration are key

Editorial: As USFSP consolidation task force meets, openness and collaboration are key

Writing a new law that phases out separate accreditation for the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and folds it back into the major research university was the easy part. The hard work starts today when a new consolidation task force holds i...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/25/18

Correction

CorrectionCircuit Judge John Stargel of Lakeland is a member of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission who voted against a proposed amendment that would have stopped write-in candidates from closing primary elections. An editorial Saturday inco...
Published: 04/23/18
Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Not too many people took then-candidate Donald Trump seriously when he famously campaigned to "drain the swamp" as president. But that shouldn’t give this administration a free pass to excuse the behavior of Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Env...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Allegiant Air’s safety record remains troubling, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s reluctance to talk about it is no more encouraging. Those are the key takeaways from a 60 Minutes report on the low-cost carrier’s high rate of mid-flight brea...
Published: 04/21/18

Editorial: Women’s work undervalued in bay area

Even a strong economy and low unemployment cannot overcome the persistent pay gap affecting full-time working women in Florida. A new report shows women in Florida earned 12.5 percent less on average than their male counterparts, and the disparities ...
Published: 04/21/18
Editorial: Florida’s death penalty fading away on its own

Editorial: Florida’s death penalty fading away on its own

Florida lawmakers may never take the death penalty off the books, but stronger forces are steadily eroding this inhumane, outdated tool of injustice. Court rulings, subsequent changes to law and waning public support have significantly suppressed the...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Editorial: A missed chance for open primary elections

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission did a lot of things wrong this week by combining unrelated or unpalatable provisions into single amendments that will appear on the November ballot. It also wasted an opportunity to do one thing right. The...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

For all the symbolism, Raul Castro’s handoff of the Cuban presidency this week amounts to less than meets the eye even if his handpicked successor, the Communist Party functionary Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, is the first person not named Castro to le...
Published: 04/20/18