An ounce of prevention
U.S. faces wave of omicron deaths, studies say | Jan. 19
I don’t understand why so many people say all the COVID information about masks and vaccinations is confusing. There really are only three things I think a person needs to know: 1. Why won’t COVID go away? Because too many people will not wear masks or get the vaccinations. 2. Wear a mask in public. 3. Get the vaccinations. How hard is that to understand?
Tom Perkins, Tampa
A new slavery
Slaveholder Influence | Jan. 16
This essay tries to blame political leaders of early America for today’s dysfunction in Black communities. The authors describe how 1,715 lawmakers enslaved people. The article demonizes ancestors who cannot articulate their beliefs and actions in proper context. Right or wrong, the world was very different from today. The bottom line is, these flawed men, slave owning and non-slaving owning, created the most successful nation on Earth.
Fast forward to modern slave owners who are enslaving women and children today. The “Global Report on Trafficking in Persons” by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), uses data from 155 countries describing current global “enslavers,” men and women from all races and countries, exploiting millions of people and earning human traffickers billions of dollar a year. The National Human Trafficking Hotline data shows such “enslavement” in America is rising and has benefitted from the porous southern U.S. border, preying on women and children forcing them into sexual and labor enslavement.
The United States recognized slavery was wrong and fought a civil war to stop it. The laws, principles and ideals developed by the “enslaving” Founding Fathers ultimately created a nation that demands equality for all. That is the best lesson learned from our history. Use your energy and resources to stop today’s enslavers. Make the world better for the millions who are suffering now. Enslavement is not an issue about race. It is an issue about humanity.
Stephen Howard, Tampa
Learn from history
Slaveholder Influence | Jan. 16
History is in for some revision with the Washington Post’s identifying some 1,700 previous members of Congress as slave owners. Combine those revelations with Nikole Hannah-Jones’ 1619 book project, and you’ve got big changes. So what do we do with them? Clearly it must change policies, perspectives and teaching of American history. This knowledge should make us better people. Look at Black Americans who see promise in our country despite a cruel history. If we all can’t benefit from new knowledge, then facts and history lose their healing power.
James Gillespie, St. Petersburg
A different country
Slaveholder influence | Jan. 16
I read this essay and wanted to say how different the country is today. We have had a Black President, a Black vice president, surgeon generals, Supreme Court justices, dozens of judges, Cabinet members and many members of Congress. America has risen above slavery, and we are inclusive with all races and heritages. Still, it is nice reading the history from 200 years ago and to appreciate how we have grown as a society.
Tim Keffalas, Tarpon Springs
Not a priority
Bill to require national anthem at pro sports events | Jan. 19
It seems that the Florida Republican legislators have nothing more important to do than worry about issues that have not happened in this state. Can’t they find something more important to address than pro teams playing the national anthem before games?
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Sandra Cavalier, Port Richey
A teachable moment
Pinellas teacher accused of Marxist lessons | Jan. 18
The kids of Dunedin are so fortunate to have Brandon Robinson, a wise man with good intentions toward them and our country, as a history teacher. As some under the political influence of far lesser examples try to bring on a new McCarthy era to beset and divide us and future generations, Robinson does his job in an ethical way and has the guts to beat back the tide of ignorance. The Soviet Russians and Communist Chinese always used “cadres” among their troops, factory floors and apartment blocks to spy on their neighbors and tattle to authorities. The effect was to sow mistrust and division among the people, and so make them more pliant to authority. What Robinson is teaching and the way he does it will make those children better thinkers and citizens, without a doubt. Good for Brandon Robinson and his courage and character, and lucky for us.
Steve Douglas, St. Petersburg