1. Letters to the Editor

Saturday's letters: We as a nation have lost the ability to make even the most unambiguous moral judgments

Published Jun. 29, 2018

Trump toxins are making the truth meaningless | Column, June 24

To see the swamp, look in mirror

Timothy Egan's lament on the death of truth in America was spot on. Unfortunately, it is also decades too late. Donald Trump's election showed us to be a nation that has lost the ability to make even the most unambiguous moral judgment, and his presidency is the frightful harvest.

But we must also face a cold reality. The lying that infests the country is blamed on many things — media fragmentation, political polarization, you name it. But from Congress to Wall Street to Main Street we have increasingly been willing to tolerate it as long as the liar is "our guy." From tax cuts that will pay for themselves, to imaginary WMDs, to climate change denial, we've been subjected to so many lies that the daily whoppers from our current president are now simply business as usual.

This did not start with Trump and neither did the mainstream media's weak-kneed response to it. What began as a well-intentioned attempt at fairness (and a less noble fear of "losing audience") quickly devolved into equal time for flat-Earthers. So, while we hear about distortion, inconsistency, exaggeration or misstatements, nobody ever seems to have the guts to get up and simply say, "This guy is lying through his teeth."

Then, of course, there are those who also know lies when they hear them, but rather like the sound of them. We can scoff at Trump, his incompetence and his lack of knowledge — or even curiosity — about almost everything. But we cannot deny that in many ways he is merely that face in the mirror staring back at us. If we really want to start draining the swamp of lies that surround us, we should start with that simple truth.

Buck Beasom, Tampa

Trump toxins are making the truth meaningless | Column, June 24

What about Obama?

To hear Timothy Egan tell it, presidential prevarication originated with the Trump administration. I guess that President Barack Obama's declaration that "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor" never happened. There seems to be a lot of selective amnesia in the attacks from the left these days.

John Weiss, Spring Hill

Office attack leaves 5 dead | June 29

Enemies of ignorance

President Donald Trump has called out the media as "the enemy of the people," but in truth the media is the enemy of ignorance. Blessings to the victims of the Annapolis newspaper shooting and the survivors — the wounded and those who had a byline the next morning.

Peno Hardesty, New Port Richey

NFL: Yes, he groped her | June 29

Yes, him, too

We have heard Jameis Winston's excuses before, along with his statements of holding himself to a higher standard. Does #MeToo not apply to him?

Jane Kaufmann, North Redington Beach

Suit: Check on gulf health | June 22

No oil rigs off our shores

As a life-long resident, I am deeply concerned about the fate of Florida regarding offshore oil drilling. Picture offshore drilling rigs surrounding our state, visible from the entire peninsula, including the Florida Keys.

When I was in Galveston, Texas, I observed firsthand what happens to a seaside resort town that exists alongside the infrastructure of heavy industry. Resorts, homes, businesses and sullied beaches live in the shadow of barges, tank farms and companies that construct, maintain and support oil rigs. The character and flavor of these beachside communities changes dramatically.

Is this what we want for Florida? We must save our state from this fate. Whether you boat, fish, shell, birdwatch, beachcomb, stargaze or simply enjoy sunrises and sunsets, don't let our quality of life end. Our children and future generations deserve to see our Florida.

Robert E. Barbanera, Fort Myers

Too much tweeting

Think before you tweet

They text, they tweet, they harm themselves and others, yet they never realize the extent of the damage they create before they hit "send."

They display personal hatred, dislikes, non-vetted false news, phobic feelings — the lists go on and on unabated. People up and down the line who tweet their "in the moment" thoughts need to step back and reread their text before sending it.

Would it not be wiser to wait, think about it, review its accuracy? How about using good grammar and sentence structure? Perhaps a spell checker? Alas, this penchant to text/tweet will continue to go backwards into the future, only getting worse.

Edward Pettit, St. Petersburg

License, register and insure | Letter, June 28

Rights of gun owners

I don't recall anything in the Bill of Rights that says firearms are to be licensed, registered and insured like automobiles. The fact that states, counties and cities may have laws that restrict our rights to own guns just means a court challenge is coming. It's only a matter of time. Driving an automobile on public roads is a privilege; owning a firearm is a right given to us in the Constitution's Bill of Rights.

Francisco Velez, Jr., Tampa

We all pay for neglect of
mental health care | Carlton column, June 29

Help those who need it

There are many folks who are hurting mentally and really want help. Where are the psychiatrists who will really listen and not just write prescriptions? Our state does need good psychologists.

Some violence could be avoided if help were available to those who really are asking and can't afford it or don't know where to go to be helped. Maybe that is the only way some folks react to get attention, and it is the wrong kind.

Sandra Groover, St. Petersburg


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  3. Career Foreign Service officer George Kent and top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine William Taylor, right, are sworn in to testify during the first public impeachment hearing of the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, Wednesday Nov. 13, 2019, in Washington. JOSHUA ROBERTS  |  AP
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  4. Top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine William Taylor testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, during the first public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. ANDREW HARNIK  |  AP
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  7. Two people use a pedestrian crosswalk on Fowler Avenue at 22nd Street in Tampa. LUIS SANTANA   |   TIMES
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  8. Hernando County community news Tara McCarty
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  10. $100 dollar bills with Benjamin Franklin's face SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA  |  Tampa Tribune
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