Think for yourself is letter of the month | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Sunday’s letters to the editor.
A view of Library West at the center of the University of Florida campus in Gainesville.
A view of Library West at the center of the University of Florida campus in Gainesville. [ University of Florida ]
Published May 8, 2022

Think for yourself

April letter of the month

Editor’s note: The April letter of the month reacted to a story about Gov. Ron DeSantis signing a bill limiting tenure at Florida public universities.

There is so much worry about perceived indoctrination of our kids by agenda-laden teachers, math books, CNN, etc. The solution is easy: teaching your kids to think critically serves them well. We always encouraged our kids to think critically, question everything and see if any idea seems reasonable. Rather than trying to shield kids from subjects such as slavery (and societies’ role in its historical effects even today) or any one of a dozen ideas, I encourage parents to have their kids seek out information from many sources. Our kids should learn about capitalism, socialism, Marxism, comparative religions, slavery and feminist issues, to name just a few. Teach them how to analyze what they are learning and form their own opinions. Those lessons will last a lifetime so they may analyze when something doesn’t pass the “sniff test.”

Far from indoctrinating our kids, exposing them to different ideas at an early age encourages curiosity in the world around them. It creates citizens of the world with skills they will no doubt need in this increasingly partisan landscape of fear, uncertainty and doubt. Knowledge is power. Better to have learned kids interested in discussing at the dinner table what they learned at school to understand it better than a bunch of sycophants who do not question what they are spoon-fed at the trough of misinformation.

Thomas M. Schaefer, Madeira Beach

I had an abortion

Here’s one way Floridians could protect abortion rights | Editorial, May 4

I am old enough to have gotten pregnant before abortion was legalized. I was barely out of high school. I was estranged from my parents. I had no money, no support and was in a toxic relationship. I was so not ready to raise a child and be a mom. I tried a talked-about remedy to force a miscarriage. It worked. It was an excruciatingly painful, terrifying, extremely lonely experience, but I was one of the lucky ones. I knew someone who died from trying to self-abort.

If I had had that child, we would have been on welfare. My child would have been called a welfare baby and us a drain on society by the same people who would want to prevent my life from ending up any other way.

Safe, legal abortion not only saves lives but allows a woman to live the kind of life she chooses, just like a man does. How can it be legal that an issue (in this case pregnancy) caused by 50 percent men and 50 percent women punishes 100 percent of women and 0 percent of men?

Shannon O’Leary-Beck, Clearwater

My sister’s horrible case

Here’s one way Floridians could protect abortion rights | Editorial, May 4

My mother and I decided my sister should have an abortion. We came to that tragic conclusion because as a psychiatric patient at a state hospital in Florida, and having the mental capacity of a 5-year-old, she couldn’t make the decision on her own. This was not an easy decision. But it was the right one, given the daily pharmaceutical nightmare raging through my sister’s body in an attempt to control her psychosis and a host of other physical ailments.

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While excruciating, that decision was necessary because a Catholic doctor removed Mary from birth control pills when he took over her case. He did so without the permission of my mother, her legal guardian. It was done without considering what might happen should my sister, a 42-year-old sexually active, mentally disabled woman, carry a baby to term. Certainly, she didn’t have the faculties to reason that out. My mother and I were forced into one of the most difficult decisions of our lives for no other reason than it supported his belief.

Well, here’s what I believe. Putting my sister in that situation was a sacrilege. But with our decision, we prevented the birth of a child who, in all likelihood, would have been mentally or physically disabled. And that was a blessing.

John Heagney, Tarpon Springs

What should happen

Here’s one way Floridians could protect abortion rights | Editorial, May 4

I am the proud father of three and proud grandpa of six. Here is what I believe each state must do:

1. Provide top quality prenatal care for the mom and baby from conception to birth and beyond;

2. Provide top quality pediatric care from the birth to young adulthood;

3. Provide top quality adoption services for the mom and baby.

This, I believe, is the minimum that must happen.

Ross P. Alander, Tampa

Dollars for Disney

Who’s the real Mickey Mouse in DeSantis vs. Disney? | Editorial, April 21

Disney is in the business of selling entertainment. The more Disney World passes that they sell, the more the company profits. Disney management understandably wants everyone to visit their theme park, regardless of people’s sexual orientation, gender identity or religious beliefs. If our governor acts to discourage visitors to Florida and Disney World, that is bad for Disney’s bottom line, pure and simple. Disney management should speak out to benefit their stockholders, period. Corporations are citizens and are entitled to their opinions.

Mike Allen, Dunedin