You heard right. Aaron Rodgers quoted Martin Luther King Jr. while defending his actions | Column, Nov. 10
While overseas earlier this month an Englishman asked me if I was a “woke” American. My two friends and I were the sole Americans on our little riverboat and, therefore, a novelty. Our country seems quite odd to our European friends these days, and they are trying to grasp the nuances of our present society. My answer was immediately “yes.” However, the question made me take a closer look at the usage of the word in today’s society. As the comment on the “woke mob” made by Aaron Rogers illustrates, it is a obvious that the “right” uses this as a demeaning, derogatory term. I’ve done a bit of research on the term and its present usage dates back to the ‘40s. It refereed to those who were well-informed and sensitized to issues of social justice in African-American communities. It is not surprising, therefore, that today’s “right/white” society has turned this term on its head when seeking to describe those of us today who seek social justice. I am very proud to announce to the rest of the world that some of us here in America (including some of us living in the Deep South) are “woke” in every sense of the word. I am not asleep.
Vickie Weiss, Treasure Island
A place to play
Dear Rays, Montreal won’t pay for your new stadium | Column, Nov. 3
The Tampa Bay Rays should get a new stadium in Ybor City. The new stadium would help the young team grow an even more committed fan base then they have now.
John Beggins, Saint Petersburg
A good start
As the Jan. 6 committee targets former President Donald Trump’s inner circle, Republican leaders repeatedly insist that it’s time for America to move on from Jan. 6, and that Democrats’ only motivation is to score political points. The U.S. government was attacked by insurrectionists waving flags, carrying posters and shouting, all using the name of Donald Trump, so it’s not so easy to move on — and why should we? — especially since the sore loser won’t shut down his rhetoric, continuously espousing the Big Lie that moved us to where we are today, a country divided by truth.
The biggest threat to America comes from within and the Republican Party would rather the truth of who instigated the attack on the Capitol be buried deep in our memories. Shame on them and everyone who made a conscious decision to turn their backs on truth and democracy to follow the ravings of one man whose only agenda is to raise himself to a level where no one can reach him. History books have a name for that: a despotic ruler. We can, we must do better. The Jan. 6 committee is a good first start.
Bob Bascelli, Seaford, N.Y.
Do unto others
DeSantis announces vaccine bills, doesn’t take steps to ban mandates | Nov. 9
Getting vaccinated for COVID is not a personal choice, just as stopping for red lights is not a personal choice. Both are for the safety of the individual and others.
Frank Lupo, St. Petersburg
My holiday wish: Haslam’s Book Store reopens | Perspective, Nov. 7
I very much enjoyed Roy Peter Clark’s piece on Haslam’s Book Store (especially the Lawrence Welk and Jack Kerouac insights) and join him in devoutly wishing for its return. My pleasant Saturday morning/afternoon experiences with that remarkable establishment date back to the 60s, when my parents would drive me down to the store so that I could excitedly paw through the stacks of used comic books that they were selling for, if I am not mistaken, a nickel apiece. The thrill of the hunt was indescribable — and really at a time when few people looked at comic books as investments, seeking only to enjoy the skillfully written and drawn flights of fancy they afforded.
In recent years, no Christmas shopping season would be complete without a stop at Haslam’s, whether for unique books, greeting cards or even just the remarkable assortment of stickers they had with which one could embellish/personalize a gift. In the decade just recently concluded, I discovered the magic of Herge’s Tintin. Only Haslam’s was able to offer all 20-plus titles in the series (which I then accumulated over several months and ended up reading, over the years, three times each) in the generously sized, beautifully created format offered by Little, Brown & Co. Even if they only opened for one more day, I would love to set foot in that printed word lovers heaven on earth just once more.
Tom Takach, St Petersburg