Proof of inoculation
When I traveled out of the country in the 1960s and 1970s I had to carry my International Certificates of Vaccination booklet with me, as most countries required proof of vaccination against smallpox back then. Certain countries required proof of yellow fever vaccination, others cholera or typhoid. It was not an inconvenience to carry this yellow booklet with my passport in order to travel overseas. If I wasn’t vaccinated appropriately, I would have been refused admission to (or back to) that country.
John Grant, Clearwater Beach
I knew Jim Crow
The shared promise of Juneteenth | Editorial, June 19
I grew up in Jim Crow America. It was a way of life that was “normal,” with all its untruths and distortions. In order to justify slavery, Americans were taught that Black people were inferior, more like animals. Those beliefs became part of our American story. And those beliefs are floating around in our collective conscience today. Actions of the past create the present. Germans were complicit in the Holocaust. If we can look at George Floyd dying under a cop’s knee and justify it, then we are complicit. We have to have the courage to see the truth of slavery, of our government’s support of slavery, and the hateful aftermath in order to confront our own distorted thinking. The truth must be taught.
Fern Williams, Zephyrhills
A feel-good story
Waffle House manager makes sure worker gets to graduation | June 15
What a wonderful, feel-good article! It seems that there are so many negative stories in the newspaper lately — shootings, COVID-19, politics, to name a few — and this was a little story of kindness. This was such a positive story of people caring about others and working together to make graduation special for one of their employees. We can all learn from reading this and, hopefully, practice what we have read.
Marilyn Warner, Clearwater
Electric cars do pay taxes
How about a better way to pay for roads? | Editorial, June 20
I read the opinion about better ways to pay for roads. I had a couple issues. Yes, electric cars pay no gas tax. People take this as they pay no tax at all. Take a look at your power bill. I pay a gross receipts tax, a municipal franchise fee and a municipal utility tax to the tune of more than 17%. Gas powered cars sure are not paying those taxes that support our state and local governments. And the editorial says: “Think what that extra weight will do to the roads.” State tag renewal fees are already based upon weight. A vehicle that weighs more, pays more. I understand the desire to properly fund roads but blaming our current and future ills on electric cars is short sighted. You can more easily blame federal CAFE laws requiring better gas mileage. So yes, continue to look for better ways to fund the roads but electric cars do pay taxes and are not your bogeyman.
Bob McCabe, Largo
Social media candidates
Ranked choice voting might be just the ticket | Editorial, June 17
The significant and fatal flaw in ranked-choice voting is the assumption all the voters know and understand the differences/positions of each candidate. This last election shows us that the majority of people don’t educate themselves on the choices. They simply follow what they read on social media, which is usually inaccurate and highly prejudicial. Ranked voting will give us the best social media-hyped candidate, not the best qualified candidate.
Rick Boyd, Seminole
A white male’s thoughts
Uncomfortable truth in Mrs. Niedermeyer’s class | Column, June 17
I almost stopped reading columnist Leonard Pitts’ piece about Mrs. Niedermeyer’s class. I immediately assumed the dark humor was another over-generalization of a topic currently dominating the hyperbolic right-wing media. At least this was the reflexive thoughts of a white male. I certainly agree that the topic is necessarily uncomfortable and tragic when the lesson is the history of slavery and civil rights. But as I continued to read, I understood the point was the discomfort directed at white America. The ubiquitous ignorance of the students’ lack of knowledge of a reality-based history class — could be their reality. And after our Capitol was actually breached by insurrectionists, the invasion of black-geared storm troopers into a “subversive” classroom hardly seems impossible.
William Falcone, Brandon
Weak and small
Biden wiped the smirk off Putin’s face | Column, June 18
The contrast could not have been clearer between the July 16, 2018, meeting between then-President Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland and the summit on June 16, 2021, between now-President Joe Biden and the Russian strongman in Geneva, Switzerland. The body language was reversed. In 2018 the former president sat slumped in his chair, rubbing his hands in front of his lap like a scolded school boy while Putin sat up straight, broadcasting his confidence for all to see. Facing President Biden, Putin sat slumped in his chair and looked weak and small, and I’m sure Putin’s translator had to be well-versed in America’s more colorful expressions.
Brian Walkowiak, St. Petersburg