Peace wins the day | Oct. 20
Unpopular opinions need airing
It was troubling to read that the Times apparently celebrates and condones the actions of the University of Florida students who were able to "shout down a white nationalist."
As distasteful as Richard Spencer’s message may be, if we teach our children that it is acceptable to deny someone with an opposing view the right to speak by disrupting that person’s speech, rather than presenting a well-reasoned counter-argument, we are doomed as a nation. The day will come when the wrong message is the most popular and those who seek to counter that message with a well-reasoned argument supported by facts are denied the ability to do so by the same methods that your paper apparently supports. What do we do then?
Jim Burt, Tampa
Peace wins the day | Oct. 20
Free speech under attack
Contrary to the editorialized headline, peace did not win. The raucous voices of protesters and the threat of violence stifled, if not obliterated, the free speech rights of white supremacist Richard Spencer. While Spencer’s beliefs are repugnant by any measure, shouting him down and threatening violence is equally repugnant.
This sets a precedent that might well indicate approval of such tactics to shut down any speech that any group might find distasteful. More than likely this will be used more broadly to stifle more mundane political speech.
This is nothing to be proud of.
Bill Northrop, North Redington Beach
Protesters’ display of hate
The real hatred in this article is demonstrated by the protesters whose faces were contorted with rage as they hurled loud verbal abuse to disrupt Richard Spencer’s event. How can you describe as "peace" the assault on Spencer’s constitutional right to speak?
Perhaps you think the protest was peaceful just because the protesters did not resort to violence. If protesters want to "stop the hate" as the sign says, they should start with themselves. If you don’t agree with the message, just stay away.
Mary Ballowe, Seffner
Kelly defends Trump’s call to soldier’s widow | Oct. 20
President’s callous acts
As I watched John Kelly talking about his slain son at a news conference, I asked myself: Why did he even feel that he needed to be there? But then it struck me — President Donald Trump. The president couldn’t take the criticism from the press for having taken so long to send condolences to the families of the soldiers killed in Niger. He lashed out that he was better than his predecessors (especially President Barack Obama) in that he sent letters to the families of every soldier killed on his watch. He proceeded to mention how Obama had not sent a letter to Kelly when his son was killed and even encouraged reporters to ask Kelly about it. How low can one get that you put your assistant in the position of having to defend you by having to recount the death of his own son? How unfeeling and callous.
However, while I understand Kelly’s emotion, his criticism of Rep. Frederica Wilson, who was a close friend of Sgt. La David Johnson’s family, was uncalled for. Wilson said she overheard the conversation on a speakerphone while sitting in the family car going to the airport. She was shocked by the president’s language as were the other members of the family. The accuracy of what was reported by Wilson was confirmed by the other members of the family.
Rene Tamargo, Tampa
Support young Dreamers
Since the Trump administration announced plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, it seems that Congress has gotten serious about finding a solution for Dreamers. There are now at least two bills in the Senate, the Dream Act and the Succeed Act, and one in the House, the Recognizing America’s Children Act, that would give these young Dreamers the relief they deserve.
I say "deserve" because these young people have already been contributing to our economy and to our communities. The DACA program allowed them to work, and now 95 percent are doing so and paying the local, state and federal taxes that come along with being a wage earner. Other DACA recipients are in school and are looking forward to the day when they get a job. All of these kids went through background checks, and the three bills I mentioned would require even more.
These Dreamers were brought here when they were very young through no fault of their own. Because of that, and for all they’ve given to our communities since they arrived, they deserve our compassion. I hope our representatives in Washington, including Sen. Marco Rubio, will consider supporting one of these bills.
Daniel James Scott, Tallahassee
Saving America, Part 1: term limits | Oct. 18, commentary
Prescription for change
I could not agree more with Adam Goodman and his opinion on "saving America."
Far too many legislators remain in office too long, and with that position they tend to be out of touch with their constituents’ needs. Just look at all the problems facing our country that could have been avoided had the issues been addressed many years ago. Immigration issues are not new, nor are infrastructure maintenance and job training, to name a few.
We are seeing the results of those in local, state, federal office and those on the Supreme Court who have gained power and money and who have lost contact with middle- and low-income household needs.
I hope Goodman shares more insights and that people give his opinion considerable thought before the next election.
Also, please exercise your right to vote. If you don’t vote, I don’t think you can complain about the actions of our elected officials.
Sandy Engelman, Inverness