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  1. Letters to the Editor

Tuesday's letters: Voters deserve better choices

Primary elections

Voters deserve better choices

If this presidential election cycle has taught us anything, it's the need for an open primary system, countrywide. No more coronations. No more extremist candidates. No more running to the far left or right in order to appease a base.

Imagine a primary where people don't vote for an R or a D, but an idea or policy. Imagine an election where we have candidates who talk about real solutions to real problems. We cannot and will not get that until we no longer vote strictly according to party and leave out half of the voting public. The moderate half.

As currently constituted, we have a candidate who was given an unfair early advantage with so-called "super delegates." This all but eliminated any real chance at a fair primary vote. The Democratic primary was a coronation, not an election. This may have been part of the reason why a good man like Joe Biden didn't run — not just the tragic death of his son, Beau.

Then you have the other party that nominated an extremist. The base reacted to his red meat propaganda and voted accordingly. No real policy debate, no real plans to fix real problems. Just divisive and at times hateful rhetoric. That kind of campaigning fires up a large crowd, sure. But it does very little in determining a candidate's plan for our future.

Had the thoughtful, "no party affiliation" been allowed to vote, I am all but certain we might be having genuine, thoughtful debate about trade, Obamacare, ISIS and immigration reform. Not name-calling, innuendos and speeches weighted down with superlatives. Maybe, just maybe, we'd have choices like Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Vice President Joe Biden.

It's too late to do anything about it now; we're stuck with these two. But it isn't too late to fix it for 2020.

Allan Love, New Port Richey

U.S. politics: Win/lose and no middle ground Sept. 1, commentary

Column ignored a solution

Thomas Friedman analogizes the Democrat-Republican impasse to Sunnis and Shiites or Iranians and Saudis. In other words, it's intractable. He prefers Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump as president, but concedes that her election would presage zero cooperation from Republicans in Congress and a loss of faith on the part of liberal Democrats if she openly sought Republican support for her agenda.

Needless to say, a President Trump would face the same hostility from Democrats on Capitol Hill, and from many Republicans as well.

Friedman offers no solution beyond a vague hope that a new Republican Party will emerge after the election. He might have considered endorsing the Libertarian ticket of Gary Johnson and William Weld. Both are former two-term governors, but their real value as candidates is that they owe nothing to either major party. To complete Friedman's analogy, they have no natural enemies. They are neither Sunnis nor Shiites.

Robert Lockwood Mills, Sun City Center

Trump and immigration

Tailored messages

Donald Trump's visits to Mexico and Arizona were fascinating, not because of his standing on immigration but because of his ability to display divergent postures on the same subject matter, within hours, depending on the identity of his listeners.

He sounds scripted and reasonable on the subject in the presence of Mexico's president, but off the rails in front of his rabid base. Is he using specific, purposeful tools to gain an electoral victory or, as one person asked, "Does he have chaos in his brain?"

If he becomes the leader of the free world, which mind-set can we expect as he makes decisions affecting mankind? Risking the havoc resulting if it is chaos that exists in his intellect is truly unacceptable.

Arthur Eggers, Tampa

QB sits for anthem in protest | Aug. 28

Anthem honors military

Colin Kaepernick and his supporters miss the point of why most people stand and show respect for the national anthem. The vast majority of Americans (including me) associate the national anthem with the U.S. military. Almost every time the average American hears the national anthem (aside from the Olympics), you see military personnel presenting the U.S. flag.

He may say it has nothing to do with the military, and to him I am sure it does not. But that is like saying the Confederate flag has nothing to do with slavery or the swastika is not a Nazi symbol but an ancient Indian symbol. He, along with his supporters, may not think he is trashing the military, but in the minds of the majority of Americans, he is.

Martin Kleiner, Tampa

Walk in their shoes

I am a retired police officer from Detroit. If Colin Kaepernick is so concerned about police brutality, I suggest — since he is fixed financially for life and young enough — he quit football and join a big city police department and walk in the shoes of the police officer. He will find a whole new perspective. He will find that a huge majority of police officers are never involved in "brutality." Sometimes force is necessary and, yes, sometimes someone gets injured. Most of the time, the injuries incurred are the direct result of the person's own actions and misdeeds.

I agree wholeheartedly that any officer who misuses his authority and causes unnecessary injury should be punished. That does not mean that every officer should be punished for the actions of one or two police officers.

Wayne Parlow, Ridge Manor

Mourners share city's gratitude for Higgins Sept. 1

Excellent coverage

The Times did a marvelous job covering the story of Monsignor Laurence Higgins. Your reporters, Richard Danielson and Anastasia Dawson, did an especially fine job covering the funeral. The article included every important detail and was beautifully written. As one of Monsignor Higgins' longtime parishioners, I appreciate that very much.

Suzann Corral, Tampa