The ladder to the American Dream
The story behind the deal | Sept. 27
We live in an era besmirched by misguided efforts to deny, purge or edit our history in order to maintain the ill-conceived facade of a nation that has always acted in the interest of “liberty and justice for all.” How refreshing then to read the poignant story of St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch’s father and the injustice that occurred 40 years ago in the name of urban progress, and see how current development plans commit to some measure of restitution to St. Petersburg’s Black community. To those who would deny history: Wholesale destruction of racial and ethnic communities occurred throughout our nation in the name of urban progress, notably in the latter half of the past century, including in my own village of Ybor City and Tampa’s Central Avenue.
In the same edition, we read of Tampa City Council member Luis Viera’s family saga and the values that Hispanics and other immigrants have consistently brought to our nation. Viera justly strikes out at those who, owing to prosperity and the fog of time, choose to distance themselves from their immigrant roots. As a lifelong proponent of education, I would simply add that education is the ladder to the American Dream and to ensuring a prosperous America. And helping others, especially those facing financial barriers, to conquer its summit is a meaningful way, not only to enhance the ranks of professionals and leaders in our community, state and nation, but to pay the debt we all owe our ancestors for their hardships.
Donna Parrino, Tampa
Something for nothing
Judge rules Donald Trump defrauded banks, insurers | Sept. 27
It’s perverse that the very same tens of millions of MAGA people who scream at the very mention of student loan forgiveness, any kind of relief to the poor and sick, Obamacare and aid to Ukraine because of their deeply principled “anti-something for nothing ethic” have no problem with Donald Trump’s stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from the taxpayers over decades. That’s what he’s done. When he lowered his own tax liability by lying about his properties’ “low value,” he stole from the taxpayers by putting a greater burden on them. And when he deceitfully inflated the value of those same properties to extract money from lenders by “leveraging his imaginary equity in them,” he set the stage to steal from them, their investors and shareholders too, through pension funds and other investing entities owned by regular folks. Much of this fraud has been known and reported by the country’s best journalists for years. Any could have known for years, had they picked up a newspaper or a book. Tens of millions of us did. We let what we learned guide our voting, instead of bigotry, hatred or anything like “derangement syndrome.”
Steve Douglas, St. Petersburg
A woman with courage
Cassidy Hutchinson’s new book
Earlier this week I ordered a copy of “Enough” written by Cassidy Hutchinson, assistant to former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows during the Trump presidency. She is someone who had close access to the president, the Oval Office and what transpired in the White House. On Monday, I watched MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow interview with Hutchinson. What an amazing person who at 25 had more courage and ethical conviction than the other older and more experienced people working in the Trump White House.
As a scholar of communication who for 45 years studied political rhetoric, I found Hutchinson to be honest, credible and believable, just as she was during the Jan. 6 congressional hearing. To be sure, she has endured a lot, being attacked and threatened by Trump’s allies.
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Nevertheless, Hutchinson has been consistent, giving us a very troubling picture of the lawless nature of what occurred in the White House during the last days and why she believes democracy may be destroyed if Republicans don’t stand up immediately.
On Tuesday, I watched Jake Tapper’s CNN interview of Hutchinson, and my admiration for her continued to grow. While Hutchinson is a Republican, this Democrat thinks she would make an ideal candidate for political office. I say this as someone who probably disagrees with many of her conservative views. Nevertheless, whether you are a Democrat or Republican, surely we can agree that our country desperately needs more principled, moral and thoughtful leaders like Cassidy Hutchinson.
Richard A. Cherwitz, Austin, Texas
A judge has judged
Did anyone notice “the ostrich in the room” at the second Republican debate? Candidates and moderators clearly had their heads in the sand on the issue of Donald Trump’s 91 criminal counts. Trump’s worst offense was that he was “missing in action” at the debate? Has white collar crime become a non-issue, or maybe even a badge of courage for the party of law and order? Like Richard Nixon, who said, “I’m not a crook,” Trump says the same thing about his financial dealings in New York, but a judge’s summary legal judgment says otherwise. What are serious, educated, law-abiding Americans to think about aspirational leaders of the free world who studiously overlook such a serious political and legal situation?
Kimball Shinkoskey, Woods Cross, Utah
Smartphones are dumb
Personally, I wish the likes of Samsung and Apple would market a personal device that keeps the “smart” and skips the “phone.” Today’s smartphone is much more intrusive and rude when compared with Alexander Graham Bell’s invention. I’ve witnessed the culture that Apple, yes Apple, created especially with the revelation of the Air Pods, taking rudeness, isolation and oblivious to another level. So many people today begin and end their day with buds in their ears, and that changes “hello,” “good day” and “good morning” to “what did you say?” when walking past another human. The smartphone hasn’t really instilled smartness, but rather a “me” vortex, saying anything at any tone, anywhere. Today making eye contact and a simple gesture or acknowledgment of another individual is old school.
Darryl David, St. Petersburg