Why we celebrate July 4
Not everyone is free in America
I am 14 years old and was born in St. Petersburg. My grandparents came to America from India in the 1960s. The killing of George Floyd is like the straw that broke the camel’s back. The presidency of Donald Trump has exposed police brutality, systemic oppression of women, non-whites, the disabled LGBTQ+, and the racism that has been covered up for generations. I’ve learned that many of my peers, even though we cannot vote, support this president and his policies. But there are also so many others who are vocally opposing racism and oppression every day in small ways.
On July 4th, our country celebrated America’s independence from England. We celebrated the freedom of a country that was stolen from the natives here before us. In 1776, women were oppressed, black people were enslaved, and both remain oppressed today. It made me understand that not every person celebrates America’s freedom, because not everyone is free in America. We should remember this and fight every day to stop police brutality, mass incarceration and systemic racism where we see it. We must ensure freedom to every American. Racism is everywhere and this country was built on racist ideas. You cannot choose to ignore that fact anymore.
As a patriot who loves America, I am going to choose to fight to make America more just. You should be excited that many in my generation see the problem clearly and are ready to tackle it. And I will not celebrate the freedom of our country until that freedom is given to all.
Hema Mangat, St. Petersburg
Hamilton’s not just a show
The play “Hamilton” is based on the life of Alexander Hamilton, our first Secretary of the Treasury, who sold 80 percent of the first bank of the United States’ shares to investors.
The privatization of the central bank, which was strongly opposed by then Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (future U.S. presidents), has created immense unnecessary interest debt for the people—national debt.
For the sake of humanity, we have to stop “barking up the wrong tree.” Our government is not responsible for our economic woes; however, the Federal Reserve, which controls both our monetary and fiscal policies, is. Banker Mayer Amschel Rothschild once said: “Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who writes the laws.”
Alexander Hamilton’s patriotism should definitely be questioned; he certainly was not a student of history.
James Papastavrou, Oldsmar
Don’t play politics with coronavirus
Schools need to reopen when public health professionals are satisfied that it is safe to avoid spread of COVID-19. New information suggests airborne spread and additional long term complications to survivors. States that have forced reopening and not heeded health professional recommendations are at the crux of a resurgence of the virus and continued casualties.
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You cannot play politics with this disease. We must learn this lesson. Children will socialize, take masks off, interact as children do. Their risk of infection is high and they will bring that infection home. Of course educators, bus drivers, and other employees will be at risk. Schools should open when it is safe and only when it is safe.
Marc J. Yacht
The writer is the retired director of the Pasco County Health Department.