Well, actually, Ben Sasse is a man with a plan | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Tuesday’s letters to the editor.
Ben Sasse is an outgoing U.S. senator and the incoming president of the University of Florida.
Ben Sasse is an outgoing U.S. senator and the incoming president of the University of Florida. [ ALEX BRANDON | AP ]
Published Jan. 10

This man has a plan

But what’s the plan? | Letter, Jan. 9

The letter writer largely does not dispute Ben Sasse’s assessment of the current political situation but faults him for not providing an implementation plan. At this point, that is neither necessary nor appropriate. Implementation is a separate issue that can be addressed in the future only after agreement is reached on what a proper solution should be. Sasse has provided his vision of what a good solution should look like. That is his contribution and what readers should be evaluating.

Moving beyond that requires an examination of the four-step problem-solving process: Step 1: Realize the problem exists; Step 2: Identify what a proper solution consists of; Step 3: Figure out how to make that happen; and, Step 4: Implement the intended outcome.

Sasse has provided Steps 1 and 2. Steps 3 and 4 cannot begin until there is agreement on 1 and 2. Only after agreement is achieved is it necessary to identify how it can be implemented. That may be the province of others. Sasse is serving as a visionary or as an architect. “Contractors” are necessary to carry it out. These roles are often separated. In business, the difference would be between strategic leadership and operations management. In time, Sasse may take a role in Steps 3 and 4, but that in not now required for him to publish his blueprint of what success would look like.

Alan Balfour, Temple Terrace

Listen to understand

But what’s the plan? | Letter, Jan. 9

The letters to the editor on Monday regarding Ben Sasse are a logical reminder of a famous quote by Stephen Covey, author of the classic book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”: “People don’t listen with the intent to understand. They listen with the intent to respond.” I think all three letters are an accurate commentary on society.

Harriet E. Browder, Clearwater

So much for the ‘liberal’ arts

DeSantis moves to shift New College towards conservatism | Jan. 7

With the appointment of several prominent conservatives to “oversee” New College, Gov. Ron DeSantis continues his unabated attack on education in the “free state of Florida.” He vows to fight “philosophical lunacy” in the schools, apparently including this prestigious school’s progressive curriculum. He opposes “the imposition of trendy ideology.” His spokesperson, in a stunning display of Orwellian Newspeak, states that this “new leadership” will result in “innovation and excellence” that will be “nation-leading.” Christopher Rufo’s statement that, “We are recapturing higher education” clearly demonstrates the ideological motivation behind these appointments. Once “captured,” I fear that the destruction of this fine institution will be complete.

Don Bateman, Tampa

Honor but don’t sanctify them

Don’t revise this history | Letter, Jan. 8

I request that the letter writer himself not “revise history.” In his adulation of our Founding Fathers, he seems to have lost the very salient fact that slavery was key to the wealth of those Founding Fathers who enslaved people. Their ancestors arrived here as immigrants, bearing gun powder and disease. They stole millions of acres from the Indigenous people, and in order to farm this land, they imported Africans taken from their own homelands. Those Africans, who were enslaved for perpetuity, built much of this country. Without them, I think it might have been many of the Founding Fathers who would have been subsistence farmers with 40 acres and a mule. I honor our Founding Fathers. They were courageous. I benefit greatly from living in this land. But tell the whole story. They were not saints.

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Fern Williams, Zephyrhills

A first-grader with a gun

Age of first grade Virginia class shooter presents rare legal hurdle | Jan. 7

I wonder if the NRA still feels the “only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” if the “bad guy” is 6 years old? A teen was recently killed in St. Petersburg with little outrage raised in any our of local communities. Read any newspaper in any city across America and you will see people of all ages dying of homicide at a high rate and yet our country can’t come together and admit we have a gun problem. Sadly, politics and money take priority over human lives.

Neil Armstrong, Parrish

A soul-searching trade?

McCarthy elected House speaker in rowdy post-midnight vote | Jan. 7

Kevin McCarthy’s extreme desire to become speaker of the U.S. House reminded me of Mark 8:34-38: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” He may feel that it was a good trade?

Arthur Harris, Clearwater

The politics of restorative measures

Mayors of Tampa, St. Petersburg in the hot seat about their administrations | Jan. 3

St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch states “morality” trumps finance and economics in his decision-making. That is an open-ended view and makes it hard to predict what his policies and practices will be during his time in office. One reasonable interpretation is that he will implement the recent reparative committee recommendations that cover all areas of human and governmental activity in St. Petersburg. To take it a step further, his stance suggests that he thinks a history of wronging Black residents can be addressed by making Black residents whole by restorative measures. If this interpretation is close to the mark, there will be some real political stresses and battles in the near future.

James Gillespie, St. Petersburg