Sunday’s letters: July’s letter of the month is ‘Time for more civil debate.’

Published August 9
Updated August 10

July letter of the month

Time for more civil debate

"Politics" is an activity which involves power and control, arriving at decisions based on differing interests. Normally, leaders weigh the needs of the individual with the abilities of the country. Can America afford a social welfare system? Can we process immigrants in a timely manner? How much taxation will different tiers of society accept?

There are millions of issues our legislators must discuss and bargain, some of which are guided by the Constitution and many that are not. Congress is in charge of creating the bills, passing them to a president who signs them into law, and then, if necessary, adjudicated by the judicial branch. When the process breaks down, so does our democracy.

This political process of working for the American people has morphed into a game where two divisive groups vie for supreme control. While the importance of negotiations and discussion was the survival and welfare of the whole community, our "politics" has moved into a realm of winner take all, similar to a reality game show. We tune in to see the latest conflict and try to figure out truth or fiction. This is not growing a nation. This is a circus, similar to those held in the Roman Empire, hiding real issues.

It is time for all to remember how to exchange ideas, deliberate with civility, and reach compromises that move our nation back on track.

Lillian Guttman, Tampa

9519 Senator Lindsay Graham, of South Carolina, known for his hawkish posture on foreign policy and frank commentary on all things political, is the latest member of Congress to fawn over President Donald Trump. In the span of a few short months, Graham has gone from warning Trump that firing Special Counsel Mueller "would be the beginning of the end of his presidency," to a muted partisan utteranceó"the President would risk undermining the Republican Party during Novemberís midterm election."

This is disturbing on many levels. Chief among them is the suggestion that a few rounds of golf with the president, followed by dinner with him and his most ardent political cronies, namely Sean Hannity, is all it takes to get a sitting senator to abandon his sacred oath to protect and defend the Constitution. This is the GOP at its worst. You cannot claim to stand behind the Constitution when in the light of day you are standing on it.

Jim Paladino, Tampa

9501 I read your editorial regarding the sculpture at the Pier and Iím confused. Your last paragraph reads "As construction continues, residents should remain engaged in ensuring that this landmark, which will adorn the waterfront for generations, enhances the city without cheapening St. Petersburgís most beautiful asset." Huh? What do you wish us to to do? Bow down and give praises for a glorified, multi-colored, floating handkerchief on steroids? Iíd feel better telling friends and family that St. Petersburg finally fixed their storm water problem. I donít get it. I guess Iím not supposed to.

Harriet Browder, Clearwater

9526 Mr Polivkaís column points out the continuing failure of privatization and tax cutting. Our long-term healthcare has gone being a nationwide model to 46rd in the nation. As we continue the republican policies of cutting back on social services to feed tax cuts and turning over more and more services and oversight to for profit companies things will only get worse. Privatization has always failed to deliver the savings and level of services they promise. Two prominent failures the prison system and medicare advantage plans. Prisons conditions have gotten worse and the contracts they sign with Florida encourage more arrests to fill the prison. The medicare advantage plans were suppose to save medicare money. Instead the cost medicare more than the traditional plan. We are mortgaging our future for exclusionary saving.

Christopher Radulich, Apollo Beach

Julyís letter of the month

The winning letter addressed the problems of extreme factional politics.

Time for more civil debate

"Politics" is an activity which involves power and control, arriving at decisions based on differing interests. Normally, leaders weigh the needs of the individual with the abilities of the country. Can America afford a social welfare system? Can we process immigrants in a timely manner? How much taxation will different tiers of society accept?

There are millions of issues our legislators must discuss and bargain, some of which are guided by the Constitution and many that are not. Congress is in charge of creating the bills, passing them to a president who signs them into law, and then, if necessary, adjudicated by the judicial branch. When the process breaks down, so does our democracy.

This political process of working for the American people has morphed into a game where two divisive groups vie for supreme control. While the importance of negotiations and discussion was the survival and welfare of the whole community, our "politics" has moved into a realm of winner take all, similar to a reality game show. We tune in to see the latest conflict and try to figure out truth or fiction. This is not growing a nation. This is a circus, similar to those held in the Roman Empire, hiding real issues.

It is time for all to remember how to exchange ideas, deliberate with civility, and reach compromises that move our nation back on track.

Lillian Guttman, Tampa

Republican politics

A politician falls in line

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, known for his hawkish posture on foreign policy and frank commentary on all things political, is the latest member of Congress to fawn over President Donald Trump. In the span of a few short months, Graham has gone from warning Trump that firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller "would be the beginning of the end of his presidency," to a muted partisan utterance ó "the president would risk undermining the Republican Party during Novemberís midterm election."

This is disturbing on many levels. Chief among them is the suggestion that a few rounds of golf with the president, followed by dinner, is all it takes to get a sitting senator to abandon his sacred oath to protect and defend the Constitution. This is the GOP at its worst. You cannot claim to stand behind the Constitution when in the light of day you are standing on it.

Jim Paladino, Tampa

An imperfect but better site
for art | Editorial, Aug. 8

What are we to do now?

I read your editorial regarding the sculpture at the Pier and Iím confused. Your last paragraph reads "As construction continues, residents should remain engaged in ensuring that this landmark, which will adorn the waterfront for generations, enhances the city without cheapening St. Petersburgís most beautiful asset." Huh? What do you wish us to do? Bow down and give praises for a glorified, multicolored, floating handkerchief on steroids? Iíd feel better telling friends and family that St. Petersburg finally fixed its sewer problem. I donít get it. I guess Iím not supposed to.

Harriet Browder, Clearwater

Florida slips on long-term
care | Column, Aug. 9

Privatization fails again

Larry Polivka points out the continuing failure of privatization and tax cutting. Our long-term health care has gone from being a nationwide model to 46th in the nation. As we continue the Republican policies of cutting back on social services to feed tax cuts and turning over more and more services and oversight to for-profit companies, things will only get worse. Privatization has failed to deliver the savings and level of services promised. Two prominent examples are the prison system and Medicare Advantage plans. We are mortgaging our future for exclusionary saving.

Christopher Radulich, Apollo Beach

Dad: Law triggers injustice | Aug. 10

Repeal stand your ground

Although I have little sympathy for those who turn a verbal situation into a physical one, particularly when they are 20 years younger and physically superior to their adversary, there is no legitimate need for a stand your ground law, in this state or this country. Just as there are bullies who will jump at the slightest provocation to physically punish a weaker opponent, there are, obviously, people who are looking for situations they can escalate and finish with deadly force. Whether this lawís best intention is to protect the innocent, its worst effect is to plant the seeds of righteousness and an assumed justification to use deadly force when it may not be necessary. That, coupled with a concealed carry permit, is all that is necessary for a frightened and angry person to act very regrettably. We have a legal system in place that allows local prosecutors and jurors to examine every fact and extenuating circumstance that is brought forth in these cases. A petty dispute between two perfect strangers that results in injury or death must be thoroughly examined by the proper authorities. Although I stand strongly with the Second Amendment, I believe this law undermines the legitimacy of all who support gun rights. People, particularly with concealed carry permits, who brandish weapons in public situations should be reviewed for their competency based on the actual urgency of the specific situation with predictable consequences for violations.

Steve Hemingway, Tampa

TSA bans smoking in Ray-Jay | Aug. 2

Good to go smoke-free

Kudos to Raymond James for being the first major league sports venue in Tampa Bay to ban smoking. Smoking causes many different types of cancer, lung diseases and bronchial disorders, as well as burning holes in clothes, furniture and bedding. People who smoke not only ruin their health and that of those around them, but also cause all consumers to pay increased health insurance premiums as a result of their bad habits. Letís hope that Amalie Arena and Tropicana Field will soon follow Ray-Jayís lead!

Doug Haskitt, St. Petersburg

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