Friday, April 27, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: Nazism has no "new face"

What Jewish kids learn from witnessing hatred | Column, Aug. 17

Why we teach the Holocaust

Each summer, the Florida Holocaust Museum updates a different section of our permanent exhibition, adding new artifacts and technology. As it happens, we have been working on "The Rise of the Nazis" section over the past few weeks. If anyone has pondered on the relevancy of teaching about the Holocaust in 2017, the events of Charlottesville, Va., should make that clear.

I've been asked over the last few days to talk about the new face of American white supremacy. While no expert in contemporary Nazism, I do not see a new face. The neo-Nazis of today marched through the University of Virginia campus, thrusting lit torches into the air while screaming racist invectives. Who could witness that scene and not immediately be transported to scenes of lynchings, pogroms and autos-da-fé of the past?

People throughout the centuries tried to justify their own hatred and bigotry by exploiting the fears and prejudices of their contemporary societies, using the tools they had at their disposal to try to make hate palatable to the general public. The "new face" of fascism in America is no different. While they may refer to their narrative as competing or "alternative," it is not new. It is the same narrative of hate, coated now in 21st century clothing.

At the Florida Holocaust Museum, we use the lessons of the Holocaust to help identify the ominous echoes of history. We believe that the best way to combat prejudice and bigotry is to educate about the terrible consequences of unchecked hatred.

In that spirit, the museum has partnered with Eckerd College to present Frank Meeink, author of Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead. I invite our community to join us in Eckerd's Fox Hall on Sept. 7 from 7 to 9 p.m. to learn more about the white supremacist movement and, more important, to find hope.

Elizabeth Gelman, St. Petersburg

The writer is executive director of the Florida Holocaust Museum.

UF should let Spencer speak Editorial, Aug. 17

A First Amendment martyr

Your editorial states that the University of Florida, in denying Richard Spencer's right to speak, placed campus security above the First Amendment. You reinforce this thought by calling in the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, whose executive director thought UF made a mistake.

Your editorial expresses the opinion that the state and UF can create a smart security plan, which would grant safe passage to all without creating a riot.

In response to that I have a suggestion. Why not have the Tampa Bay Times set an example by inviting Spencer to deliver his message on your front steps? After you see how that goes, share your learning experience with UF.

You conclude by stating that UF's decision to exclude Spencer made him a martyr for the First Amendment. That's okay with me.

There's no question in my mind that the right to free speech is well-entrenched in our society, especially in the political realm; all we have to do is to look toward our president, Donald Trump.

Joe Green, Brooksville

What Americans value

Both editorials got it right ("UF should let Spencer speak" and "Commissioners, just move the monument").

Editorials always boil down to a question of values of the heart. And these particular heartfelt and thoughtful editorials are worth a rereading.

Your conclusions in both reflect the cherished values of our democracy found in the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution.

Dan Tutoli, Seminole

Same sad story for Callaway, UF | Aug. 15

Hard to discipline athletes

This is not a sad story but, rather one that repeats itself almost daily: coaches and universities unable to adequately address the misconduct of athletes. Athletic programs at major universities produce significant sums of revenue, allowing expansions of programs, facilities and the hiring of "star" professors.

The salaries of coaches are in the millions and are dependent upon winning. To believe that coaches will adroitly address athletes' misconduct is simply not going to happen.

The "sadness" of this story and many others is that some athletes are never held accountable for their actions. UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen stated it best recently when he said that playing college football does not lend itself to being a student.

College coaches should not have a voice in addressing and/or meting out punishment for those athletes who have misconduct issues.

Larry Albert, Dade City

Statue could stay put | Aug. 17

Lincoln statues everywhere

A solution to the Confederate statue controversy would be to replace all of them with statues of Abraham Lincoln. After all, President Donald Trump likes a winner.

John Stansel, Lutz

Trump questions if McConnell should remain majority leader | Aug. 11

Where does the buck stop?

President Donald Trump now blames Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for not moving his legislative agenda.

Trump doesn't seem to realize that it is the President's responsibility to move the agenda by appealing not only to Congress but to the American people.

Instead of holding rallies to feed his insatiable appetite for recognition and approval, he should be using his much-touted salesmanship to sway public opinion.

If Trump needs to find someone to blame for the lack of legislative momentum, he should look in the mirror.

Ernest Bartow, St. Petersburg

Comments

Friday’s letters: Why just single-member districts are a bad idea for Hillsborough

Murman’s bad idea on districts | April 20, editorialSingle-member districts’ flawYour editorial opposing single-member districts in Hillsborough County is totally correct. I have served as Miami-Dade county manager twice. The first time (1976-198...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Thursday’s letters: A surgeon responds to story about a needle being left in a baby’s heart

All Children’s surgeon left a needle in a baby’s heart | April 22My view as one of the surgeonsI am one of the physicians discussed (but not interviewed) in this article. Whatever the motive for such an article, I disagree with many of the claims...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/26/18

Wednesday’s letters: How we plan to improve foster care in Hillsborough

Improving foster care inHillsborough | April 19, editorialOur plans for helping kidsThis editorial poses many good questions. The Department of Children and Families’ peer review report is expected to be released soon. And while we welcome the an...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/25/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for April 27

Stop Ridge Road extension, reader saysWhen I spoke at the Dade City meeting of the Pasco County Commissioners on my opposition to the Ridge Road Extension, three of them responded, but only when my three minutes of free speech expired, and I could sa...
Published: 04/23/18

Monday’s letters: Term limits don’t work

U.S. Senate campaignTerm limitsdon’t workGov. Rick Scott has begun his run for the U.S. Senate with TV ads promoting term limits for representatives and senators. Aside from the probability that this would require a constitutional amendment, I think ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

Sunday’s letters: Problems with high-speed rail

Thanks, Gov. Scott, for ghastly I-4 drives | April 18, Sue Carlton columnProblems with high-speed railIn her Wednesday column, the writer bemoaned the traffic on I-4 and blasted Gov. Rick Scott for turning down free government money for a high-sp...
Published: 04/21/18

Tuesday’s letters: Student journalists push to save their newsrooms and independence

Save student newsroomsAs professional newsrooms shrink, student newsrooms have become an increasingly important source of local coverage, holding not only our universities accountable but also local government. We write these articles, attending meet...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Saturday’s letters: Don’t weaken rules on fisheries

Florida fisheriesDon’t weaken rules on fish stocksMembers of Congress are proposing changes to an important ocean law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, that would adversely affect coastal states including Florida.Since it...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

Friday’s letters: We owe it to our children to teach them history

If we don’t understand past, future looks grim | April 19, Daniel Ruth columnThe history we owe our childrenIt’s not often I agree with Daniel Ruth, but this article was spot-on. I’m not sure when the schools started ignoring Germany’s World War ...
Published: 04/19/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun research can save lives

Gun ownershipCommon ground: Find the factsThere are many areas in the current debate about guns and gun ownership where both sides must agree to disagree. But there is one area where common ground ought to exist. That concerns the need for continuing...
Published: 04/18/18