Let’s find the center of American politics | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Sunday’s letters to the editor.
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Published Sept. 18, 2022|Updated Sept. 18, 2022

Let’s re-center our politics

Are we deeply divided or just poorly represented? | Perspective, Sept. 11

Professor Stephen Neely is dead on. I think this country needs to seriously reassess its political parties. Genuine, old-school conservative Republicans want little to do with so-called MAGA Republicans. Honest liberal Democrats likewise want little to do with the extreme progressives who still claim that party’s affiliation.

The “moderate majority” is where we need to re-center. The "radical" right and "radical" left need to form their own parties and go it alone — perhaps as the Separatists and the Socialists? The “moderate majority” can then revamp and improve the traditional Republican and Democratic parties and move on from the ugly, unproductive partisan politics now slowly dismantling our democracy.

As a life-long Republican, I find that very few high-profile congressional Republicans, especially from here in Florida, speak for me or reflect the type of leadership I can respect. Our best days only lie ahead if we require the radicals and their extremist “leaders” to stand on their own.

Kelly Mione, Seminole

Chilled and censored

Fla.’s largest school system blocks LGBTQ History Month declaration | Sept. 9

Between the rampant book removal and now this, schools seem to move around their "non-discrimination" policies pretty easily. A few days ago, Miami-Dade School Board voted 8-1 against celebrating LGBTQ month or teaching two Supreme Court cases regarding LGBTQ rights in a 12th grade course, even though their attorney said both proposals were within the new law. School board members assured folks that celebrations could still happen and teaching the court cases could still occur because parents can use the "opt-out" choice for their child. Oh, ok. Hidden. Chilled and censored. Wonder how that makes the LGBTQ kids and families feel? And now, the school board makes another decision for all the students, again denying parents the ability to choose and students an opportunity through experience. Fear and bigotry should not direct the education of children. Voting is critical; check affiliations and endorsements of all candidates, particularly school board.

Jan Dahm, Gulfport

Pay teachers as the pros they are

The good news about the teacher and staff shortage? We can fix it | Column, Sept. 15

Teaching is the core profession on which all other professions depend. Many of us have been inspired by teachers or made career choices that were sparked in a classroom. Education helps develop understanding, rationality and honesty. Effective teachers create our future. An educated society is stronger.

Unfortunately, teachers are paid less than their non-teacher college-educated counterparts. Over the last 18 years, the Economic Policy Institute has monitored teacher pay. Alarmingly, the trends in teacher wages and compensation has worsened. According to a NORC Spotlight on Education survey, only 18% of Americans would encourage a young person to become a K-12 teacher, citing low pay, lack of resources and a stressful work environment. Teachers deserve to be paid as the professionals they are. For the sake of the future of our society, we need to do right by our teachers.

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Sharon Janis, Largo

Issues that matter to me

Roberts joins in on Supreme Court whining | Column, Sept. 13

The Tampa Bay Times editorials and opinion pages are much appreciated by this reader. Current news is often overwhelming in quantity and quality. Editorials and the opinion columns invite further consideration of issues important to me. The environment, climate change, the cost of water, the school system and this column about the Supreme Court and our political leaders all lead me to the same idea. That is, vote for those politicians who practice what they preach, and who will make choices in the government that you agree with. Independent newspapers are one of the most valuable resources we have. Thank you to the Times and to the public who contribute their thoughts and opinions. Know who you are voting for.

Leigh Dallas, Lutz

Not fair and balanced

Chief Justice John Roberts defends legitimacy of court | Sept. 11

I wonder what alternate reality Chief Justice John Roberts is living in? He thinks that the Supreme Court’s legitimacy should not be called into question because people disagree with the court’s rulings. Newsflash: Now that the court has been stacked with a majority of conservative-leaning justices, it is no longer balanced, discourse within the court is necessarily skewed, and fair adjudication, as we have already seen in the overturning of Roe v. Wade, has flown out the window. This decision has already had unintended consequences of the heartbreaking, controversial and divisive kind. Now women’s health care is hanging in the balance, depending on where we live, and this is just the most obvious example of non-justice for all. Had the nomination of the moderate Merrick Garland not been blocked by conservative Republicans with the flimsiest of excuses, Roe might have had a fighting chance to still be in place. The court, by its unbalanced makeup, is indeed a tool of political conservatives whether Roberts disagrees or not, and everyone who leans liberal is likely to be unhappy with the court’s decisions. Of course, we should question the court’s legitimacy, not because we dislike their decisions, but because constant conservative decisions may do more harm than good to our democracy that is rooted in fairness and balance.

Betsy Clement, Dunedin