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Sunday's letters: Best patriots are global citizens

The global citizen myth | Dec. 15, Perspective

Best patriots are global citizens

In this opinion piece, Jakub Grygiel directly sets global citizenship and national interest as antagonistic viewpoints. This is a false dichotomy and entirely misses the point of global citizenship.

His main thrust is that by teaching global citizenship, we train students that it's their job to fix inequality in the world. He argues that citizens, by definition, are part of a group, and if they're patriotic, they stand on the battlefield or public square to protect that group. Ergo, by fostering global citizens, we are undermining national interest.

Yet his "ergo" is a logical fallacy. Inequality in the world has not come from national interest seeking. Americans (or French or British) citizens seeking their national interest have not created inequality. Rather, greed seeking its own self-interest has created inequality. Greed's self-interest and national self-interest sometimes get intertwined because moneyed interests control a nation's armies and trade policies. But moneyed interests acting through a developed country's laws is not the same process as that developed country's citizens collectively seeking their self-interest.

The most effective patriots seeking the interest of the largest number of their fellow citizens must be global citizens. A global citizen is someone who, while keeping a sense of his or her own traditions, can recognize that the world is full of other people and cultures. Those other peoples and cultures must be understood by the global citizen if the global citizen is to further his or her own country's well-being.

Inequality created elsewhere in the world when a powerful entity shapes U.S. policy is not in American self-interest because that inequality is socially destabilizing — it "comes home to roost." Global citizens who buck their government and business titans to address this inequality will prove to be the best U.S.-serving patriots of all.

David Lewis, Temple Terrace

In flood fix, consumers come first Dec. 19, editorial

Rates should come down

If it is true that Florida pays $4 in premiums for every $1 in flood insurance claims (with the bulk of our premiums paying claims in other states), then we are setting the bar pretty low in expecting private insurers to hold current insurance rates.

Yes, this would be preferable to the tenfold increase proposed by the federal government, but at least half of current premiums would be profit to private insurers. Let's raise the bar and shoot for cutting current rates in half.

Joseph Swanson, South Pasadena

Inquiry sought on state jobless website Dec. 13

From bad to worse

The Department of Economic Opportunity has failed to meet the needs of unemployed Floridians. I applied for unemployment benefits in September, and as of late December have not received one dime of unemployment compensation.

The online system was bad before the new computer system was installed in October, but now it is worse. The DEO online claims process is totally useless. When you call for assistance, they have a message that says: "Call back later." There is no paper filing alternative.

I finally called my senator. The next day I got an email from a DEO representative assigned to help, but all that person did was stall by sending an email saying it will be a few weeks (until January) before I could "request benefits claim." This is unacceptable. DEO executive director Jesse Panuccio should be fired, or at least be required to file for his salary each week through the dysfunctional unemployment system for which he is responsible.

J. Jones, Tampa

Revival of theater, and a downtown Dec. 18, editorial

Dominating downtown

It is delusional to think that the remodeled Capitol Theatre is going to revive a downtown Clearwater that is dominated by a business enterprise that doesn't pay taxes on a large portion of its property.

The article in Thursday's Times has its first quote about the grand reopening from none other than Nancy Cartwright — a famous Scientologist. What a surprise. I wonder why the opening act wasn't Chick Corea. Must have been a scheduling conflict.

Downtown Clearwater is one thing and one thing only — "Enterprise Scientology," and therefore should be properly renamed L. Ron Hubbardville. If they paid taxes on all of their properties, and their sales, and their employees, then the city we currently know as Clearwater might be revived. Until that day, it will remain a private downtown for Scientologists like Nancy Cartwright.

Gordon Charles Williamson, Clearwater

Woman hospitalized after bear attacks her Dec. 5

Poor solution on bears

I have been reading updates on the recent capture of the female Florida black bear involved in attacking a Seminole County woman as she walked her dogs in her neighborhood. The woman was severely injured.

Two bears that "fit the description" of the attacking bear were killed and their DNA sent for evaluation. Later the tests showed no match. Then the 250-pound female who did attack the woman was captured with two of her three 11-month-old cubs (one fled), and they were sent to Busch Gardens to be kept. The cubs will be released in the spring and the female will be sent to another facility.

Florida black bears were just delisted from the state threatened species list last year. There are perhaps a few over 3,000 bears in the state. Every effort should be made to help maintain genetic diversity and variation within the population. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission should certainly have had plans and been aware that situations like this might occur in neighborhoods, especially when you have a mix of people, dogs and an adult bear with cubs. To just kill bears because they "fit a description" and are in the same area is a poor solution.

Douglas Land, St. Petersburg

'You can keep it' | Dec. 13, PolitiFact

Name game

In the glorious history of the United States, some of our presidents have had nicknames — "Teddy" (Roosevelt), "Silent Cal" (Coolidge), "Ike" (Eisenhower and "Honest Abe" (Lincoln). As we progress into the 21st century, perhaps we should add another president to the list: "Untrue Barack."

Jim Hayes, Clearwater

Sunday's letters: Best patriots are global citizens 12/20/13 [Last modified: Friday, December 20, 2013 4:57pm]
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