Florida moderates, vote in the primary to squeeze out extremists | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Tuesday’s letters to the editor.
A St. Petersburg voter enters the Lake Vista Recreation Center on the day of the Florida presidential primary, March 17, 2020.
A St. Petersburg voter enters the Lake Vista Recreation Center on the day of the Florida presidential primary, March 17, 2020. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Jun. 8

Vote in the primary

I’d be a Republican if it weren’t for the Republicans. So might many other African Americans. | Column, June 6

I take it that Robert J. Walker has registered as an independent to show his dismay for extremism. Many Republican moderates nowadays register as independents. Doing so prevents them from controlling the choice of the Republican candidate and thus makes it likelier that the Republican candidate in the general election will be an extremist. If moderate voters stop registering as independents, they then could vote in the primaries. In that case, extremists would lose in the primary and disappear from the general election ballot.

Jim Perry, Tampa

Make your voice heard

Let’s teach civics, not propaganda | Editorial, June 6

This editorial was informative and points to the fact that citizens can go to the Florida Department of Education website to view the K-12 standards being revised and add commentary to each of the proposed benchmark standards. I encourage all citizens to do just that. It takes a short amount of time where people can express whether the benchmark of the standard should be left unchanged, moved, revised or eliminated. These are check items followed by a comment box. You can choose just K-5, 6-8, 9-12 or all of the K-12 benchmarks and standards. Please do so.

As a retired civics/U.S. history teacher I began teaching “civics” to fifth-graders in the 1990s and then middle school from 2003-2017. The benchmarks are sophisticated and wordy and in some cases too mature for the age level indicated. You can suggest moving them to another level as there are numerous opportunities for guided discussions, and a student’s background knowledge will be critical as to the outcome of those lessons and discussions. Some of these benchmarks are better left to 11th- and 12th-graders or college level as they require life experience to understand appropriately. Please take a moment to visit the DOE website: — Civics and Government Standards Review 2. See first hand what is being proposed and give your input while you still have a say in the future of Florida’s student education. You will be glad you did.

Carol Hess, Hudson

The facts are gone

Get the facts before debating virus origin | Washington Post editorial, June 7

It’s unfortunately past the time to “get the facts before debating virus origin,” as this Washington Post editorial prescribes. The facts have been either hidden or destroyed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Robert Karp, Tampa

When lies become ‘truth’

Conspiracism observations | Column, June 7

Peggy Noonan’s column on conspiracy theories rightfully points out the problems with social media. The rest of the piece is a laundry list of conservative bogeymen that completely ignores a few of the primary drivers of today’ problem, Fox News, right-wing talk radio and Donald Trump. Fox News and right-wing talk radio has, since its inception, been attacking anything and anyone who does not toe the narrative that they wish to push. What started out as attacks on things like the “lamestream” media and the fake war on Christmas then became more aggressive, calling anyone who disagreed with George W. Bush “communists,” “socialists,” “anti-American,” “treasonous” and so forth.

Conservative Republican John Boehner, in his recent book, describes how Fox News was becoming more conspiratorial back in the early 2000s, and how when he wanted to talk to Murdoch about toning that down, realized that Rupert Murdoch was the chief driver of the conspiracies.This has continued throughout the 2000s, with the misinformation, disinformation, creation of enemies (for example, the Clintons), and flat out fake news repeated over and over and over. And anyone who knows history knows this playbook, repeat the lies often enough and they become the truth. Then you add to this already volatile mix Donald Trump as president. Someone who, on an almost daily basis and from the bully pulpit of the presidency, spread more misinformation, disinformation and lies — and attacks anyone who doesn’t express fealty to him. And this is reinforced by the Fox News and right-wing talk radio propaganda machines. This, along with the internet, are the real drivers of today’s problems of conspiracy theories and dividing this country.

Todd Tanney, Clearwater

Mid-level management

Key job went unfilled | June 6

Times Political Editor Steve Contorno did a good job enlightening the citizens of Florida regarding our lack of health care leadership. Good job as well to all 67 county health departments for picking up the slack when those above them were missing in action during the pandemic. It does seem to fall upon competent mid-level management to overcome negligence and a lack of oversight at the top. The top officials in Tallahassee seem to be much more committed at focusing their attention on rigging the system so they can keep their jobs than they are at actually managing the system to properly do their jobs.

Brian Valsavage, St. Petersburg