June letter of the month
The winning letter addressed incivility in public discourse
Mud sticks to those who sling it
I am an 83-year-old black, straight male. I lived with Jim Crow laws that deprived me of education, jobs, housing and service in public places like restaurants with signs that said, "N----- and dogs not allowed." I was drafted and honorably served my county in the Army. I participated and was a leader in the peaceful protests that finally won me the right to sit any place on a bus and dine in any restaurant. I won the right to attend St. Petersburg Junior College and graduate from University of South Florida with a degree in accounting and retirement from Honeywell and Lockheed Martin.
I believe that discrimination because of race, religion, political affiliation and sexual orientation should not be allowed or practiced in America. I believe in peaceful protests outside of public places like restaurants and political events — and not harassing those and their family with whom I disagree in places like restaurants. Hence, I am opposed to those who practice incivility whether it is Lester Maddox, President Donald Trump or Rep. Maxine Waters.
Howard F. Harris Jr., Tampa
Fourth of July
They cherish freedom
As we watched the fireworks displayed around our mostly Spanish-American neighborhood, it dawned on me that our neighbors were the ones who have truly struggled for real independence and to which the day has more meaning than most of us who were born in this country. They have shared their stories of getting into a tiny flotation, can’t really call it a boat, but it floated an entire family across the Florida Straits to freedom, or declaring their defiance against tyranny, requesting asylum on a road tour in the United States. These people have something in common with Irving Berlin, a Russian Jewish immigrant who wrote the love song, God Bless America, to his adopted country, thankful for the opportunities this country brought him. On such a day, it seems fitting that we all reflect on who appreciates what freedom means anyway. Who among us has struggled like our forefathers against all odds to be free? Isn’t it those that we are now looking upon as intruders?
I wonder if we had to struggle half as much as they for these same freedoms, would we have a different attitude? And what will awaken us to appreciate what we have in America? Are we just entitled to those freedoms? Maybe we should all have to struggle in some way or another to reach the point of view that nothing here is free. Someone is paying in some way or another, either in the past or in another place. If nothing else, we need to take a really good look around us and see what’s really going on.
Susan Fuller, Tampa
Not just a women’s issue | Letter, July 6
Who should have a say?
Why is it if a man impregnates a woman, and she decides that she wants an abortion, the would-be father has absolutely no say so in the matter? Abortion, for any reason, is a right under the current law. I believe that abortions should be allowed but only up to a certain point. They should not be allowed as a form of birth control. Birth control products and medical procedures have been around for many years. Condoms, vasectomies, the tying of tubes and birth control pills are valid methods of prevention. Abortion is not.
Keeping your legs crossed and keeping your pants zipped are also ways to prevent pregnancy, but we know that isn’t happening. Rape, incest and endangerment of health are valid reasons for abortion, even if the Catholic Church doctrine disagrees. But to wantonly engage in sex without concern is just as bad. Sometimes there should be consequences for one’s actions. The child could always be placed for adoption. The willful killing of an unborn baby simply because you don’t want it is simply wrong.
Wayne Parlow, Ridge Manor
Pre-existing condition protectionsin danger | Column, June 29
I have a very dear friend with a master’s degree who is a teacher in a Christian school. The facility pays minimum wage, and the job offers no health care benefits. When the Affordable Care Act was passed, my friend was able to purchase a plan that provided not only affordable health care, but enormous peace of mind to this dedicated middle-aged worker.
I was astounded to hear that this friend voted for Donald Trump, who had promised throughout his campaign to destroy "Obamacare." "Why," I asked later, "would you vote against your own most important personal interest?"
"Everyone including the pastor of my church insisted this was the right thing to do," was the answer.
Trump and his political allies want to drop pre-existing conditions from health coverage. Gov. Rick Scott, former House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Attorney General Pam Bondi have joined the Republican plan to end this coverage.
We can all remember when Trump stated that he could shoot and kill someone in broad daylight on Fifth Avenue in New York, and his voters would not waver in their support. Amazingly, a form of this audacious claim has not only proven true, but has spread throughout the entire Republican party.
I have never met a single American who doesn’t understand the need for health insurance including pre-existing conditions, yet Republican party operatives are able to kill millions of their working class voters’ chances for health insurance and get away with it. I don’t understand why people vote against their own most important personal needs.
Philip Courter, Crystal River
Political views are a partof you | Letter, July 5
Time for new friends
Political views are part of us. This letter mirrored my feelings, which I’ve had a hard time expressing since the last presidential election. We can’t choose our family, but we do choose our friends. And things change: Friendships can take a turn at any moment, and politics play a role just like anything else in a relationship. The good news is that circumstances bring us together with new people, and we make new friends. I will gladly take the place of one of your "former" friends.
Marylou Bride, Spring Hill