Rescue democracy, Senator Manchin
“The right to vote is fundamental to our American democracy and protecting that right should not be about party or politics.” These are the words of Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, and they are absolutely correct. There should be no partisan quarreling about an issue that is central for our American democracy.
Why, then, will he vote against the For the People Act that will override or at least inhibit Republican-led state legislatures’ efforts to disenfranchise millions of our fellow American citizens by passing Jim Crow type laws? He states that the For the People Act will only exacerbate the partisan vitriol and division that we are experiencing today.
Again, in Senator Manchin’s own words: “American democracy is something special, it is bigger than one party.” Yes, American democracy IS something special, it IS bigger than one party, and you, Senator Manchin, are in a uniquely powerful position to keep it alive.
Jeanne Goldberg, Bonita Springs
Find empathy on race issues
I am dismayed by the recent letters to the editor regarding Dr. Thornhill’s column. The writers have criticized Dr. Thornhill and the newspaper for including truthful information about racism in the United States. The tone of the critical letters was that of white people reacting adamantly to ideas that the country in which we live and love may not always have been welcoming and might also have been violent and discriminatory toward our fellow citizens.
To accuse Dr. Thornhill of being a racist indicates that the writers have not done much homework about the meaning of the word, nor have they extensively studied the history of African-Americans in the U.S. Those of us who are white tend to become defensive when we are faced with the truth about the treatment of our neighbors of color; no one wants to be accused of being a racist!
Dr. Thornhill’s column has raised the ire of some readers; the way to quell that ire is to re-educate yourself about the history of racism in the U.S. as well as familiarize yourself with contemporary issues for people of color. Join a book group, and get involved with others who are doing anti-racist work in the community. Stop blaming the victim; start by searching your soul for empathy and compassion.
Helen Leddy, Fort Myers
White privilege and its absence affect lives
I’m writing because two letter writers recently took exception to Dr. Ted Thornhill’s column, The Racial Reality. Both were outraged that he wrote about discrimination in America, both believing that it is in our past.
I differ from the writers’ conclusions. Although many discriminatory laws no longer exist, policies, practices, beliefs and attitudes continue to cause discrimination against people of color.
I suggest the writers think about “white privilege.” When I shop my white skin allows me to browse in stores without being followed or harassed. If I apply for a loan and fill out a form with proof of income, I can expect a loan within a few days. If I want to buy a house and have money and good credit, I can decide on a house in any neighborhood. Not so with people of color.
The writers might check on towns classified as “sundown” and how redlining practices still affect housing. To learn about racism, a class, On Sacred Grounds is a good place to start, sponsored by many Episcopal churches including St. Mark’s on Marco Island, free.
Shirley Woolaway, Naples
Our country is in political chaos. Our very democracy is threatened because politicians just want to stay in office.
I feel it is time for we the people to be Americans first and seek that we be treated as people and Americans and not just as political pawns. God bless America.
Joseph Irvin, Fort Myers
Consider impact fees
I quote from a News-Press headline “Lee property values at $131B. New construction soars locally to $2 Billion in 2020.” Great news, huh!
Now for the rest of the story. How many roads could have been improved; how many parks could have been upgraded; and on and on, if Lee County commissioners had approved impact fees?
My opinion, and I think that of many in Lee County, is that the commissioners, excepting Commissioner Mann, are close political friends with a number of builders in the county and beyond. Friendship is nice, but why are they worried about new homes and new residents at the expense of current residents?
The impact fee subject has come up often over my 12 years living here, but it always seems that the builders win out over the residents. The argument from the builders is that it would increase the cost of new homes. So? It is a white-hot sellers’ market according to presenters at Market Watch 2021. Isn’t it time for current residents to get some of that value?
Raymond Brooks, Fort Myers