Heaven help us. We need a functioning democracy | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Thursday’s letters to the editor.
U.S. Senate Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to the media about the infrastructure bill on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
U.S. Senate Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to the media about the infrastructure bill on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. [ YURI GRIPAS | Abaca Press ]
Published Sep. 30

One crisis to the next

GOP must help on debt debacle it helped create | Editorial, Sept. 29

Senate Republicans plan to block a bill that would fund the government provides the latest mess in what used to pass for a functioning democracy. “Bipartisan” has become a term that is now rarely used in the U.S. We seem to just advance from one political crisis to the next. The answer to this problem will not fit into a television sound bite, or even into an op-ed column. We need to stop seeking political victories at all costs and vilifying the people who disagree with us. Instead, we need to work together to renew our political order. Then, sharing in the common good of a functioning political system, we can get back to the normal democratic life of creative debate, disagreement and compromise (a nearly forgotten concept).

George Chase, St. Pete Beach

The price of ‘freedom’

Anti-vaxxers? Goodbye and good riddance | Leonard Pitts column, Sept. 27

Our United States is suffering through a devastating pandemic, the worst in a century. One of the major reasons our “land of the free” is suffering so extensively are the “freedoms” some of our political leaders have put in place — prominent among them is the “freedom” to walk about unmasked and unvaccinated and the “freedom” to be held outside a hospital waiting for treatment because millions of people in the land of the free decided it was an imposition on their rights to protect others from a virulent virus and its delta variant. Women are still free to get pregnant, but Texas recently enacted a law that, in effect, forbids the termination of any pregnancy — even if it resulted from rape or incest. Not to be outdone Florida Republicans are quickly preparing to enact a similar version to protect the unborn. The heck with allocating enough money for the food necessary to sustain Florida’s needy children (more than 800,000 are food insecure) or to ensure medical care for our new arrivals and needy families. Despite the desperate state of many Florida families, our legislators will focus on making absolutely sure every fetus is delivered into a world lacking a shred of legislative heart. Clearly our land of the free is facing a host of daunting problems and we commoners are getting precious little help from the people who were elected to move the country forward. We need to unite and vote those who are violating their sworn responsibility to every American out of office.. Only then will our country be able to begin climbing out of the abyss and regain our standing as the land of the free.

Peter R. Betzer, St. Petersburg

A sad ditty

Florida sues Biden administration | Sept. 29

How can this be? I am Florida, and I am not suing the Biden administration, nor do I want to. I suspect, if we put our heads together, a lot of us could think of better uses for Florida and America’s money than paying for Gov. Ron DeSantis’ cruelty and political greed. Why does this silly song keep playing in my head? “I’m a little despot, short and stout. There goes your money, pour it out. Only things that I want really count. There goes your future, pour it all out.”

Anne L. Hall, St. Petersburg

One truth

Generals testify they favored keeping troops in Afghanistan | Sept. 29

You cannot have two truths. President Joe Biden made it very clear in an August TV interview with George Stephanopoulos that none of his generals or top advisers recommended to him that he needed to maintain a small troop presence in Afghanistan. Yet this week, I watched all three generals state that they believed troops should have been left in Afghanistan to provide stability and monitor terrorist activity. All three declined to say specifically what advice they had given President Biden. Which leaves us with the fact that either we have three top generals who lied to the president or we have a president who lied to the American people. In either case, there can only be one truth. There should be accountability for the 13 American troops, women and men, who needlessly lost their lives, hundreds of Americans and Special Immigrant Visa holders left behind, and a drone strike that killed an aid worker and seven children. Finally, Gen. Mike Milley testified that he had not read the books that quoted him regarding his calls to China. He is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Of all the people involved with this tragedy, shouldn’t he know how he is being quoted and portrayed to the public, the president and the rest of the military?

Mark Khan, Tampa