Ben Sasse has a point. I only wish he had a solution | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Monday’s letters to the editor.
Ben Sasse of Nebraska talks during a University of Florida Faculty Senate Open Forum last year.
Ben Sasse of Nebraska talks during a University of Florida Faculty Senate Open Forum last year. [ DIRK SHADD | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Jan. 9

But what’s the plan?

America’s true divide: Pluralists vs. zealots | Jan. 4

Sen. Ben Sasse, the incoming president of the University of Florida, is convinced he has the solution to political dystopia, and I appreciate that he wants to begin a conversation. I only wish he’d made a better argument. His thesis is that our current politics is a contest between “civic pluralists versus political zealots” which he views as dangerous, and that Americans fail to see the true nature of this discord. There is some truth to his position, but it’s only complete when well defined and with “doable” solutions. He fails that test three ways.

First by simplifying the role of government to where it “exists to protect us from the whims of mobs and majorities”. A quick review of the preamble to the Constitution provides a more robust definition, including a charge to “promote the general Welfare”. Governing is far more complicated than he lets on.

Second, he fails to mention that the most aggressive challenge to pluralism and the most egregious example of zealotry is the unfounded 2020 presidential election controversy. As this is centered within his Republican Party, it would seem critical to find a way to purge his party of this zealotry before any meaningful pluralism can take place.

My last issue with Senator Sasse is in keeping with this failure, and it’s that there’s not a hint of an action plan or direction. Whatever good thoughts reside at the center of his thesis (indeed, there are some good thoughts) they are meaningless without an action plan.

Jon Crawfurd, Gulfport

United we stand

America’s true divide: Pluralists vs zealots | Jan. 4

Kudos to Ben Sasse for Wednesday’s articulate column. But this writer wonders how many readers dismissed this fine column based solely on the author’s name. Ben Sasse, a Republican senator from Nebraska, attempts to help us better understand that which politically divides us, but because of his previous political position, did we start to formulate an argument against his points even before we started reading the column? How many times has a friend or colleague dared to share a thought only to have the recipient formulate their rote rebuttal before they’ve even finished. Sadly, in the world of constant noise, we’ve lost our ability to listen. In this new year maybe we should practice a little more empathic listening and a little less partisan arguing.

Mark H Campbell, St. Petersburg

Government can help

America’s true divide: Pluralists vs. zealots | Jan. 4

I respect Ben Sasse, but he needs to understand that the role of government must be flexible. First you define the problems, then you seek solutions through government, the private sector and when necessary their partnerships. The focus must on the needs of citizens — all citizens. Using labels like communism and socialism to thwart critical programs that improve quality of life is self defeating.

Marc Yacht MD, Hudson