Legislature ratchets up culture wars
The Florida Legislature is now in session and several proposed bills are working their way through committees and on to the general floor for passage. HB1055 proposes video cam for every classroom and microphones for "certain" teachers. Want to take a guess as to which "certain" teachers would be monitored: history, social studies, science, health education perhaps? SJR244 proposes that school board candidates for election would be partisan, i.e. the candidates must state their party affiliation after their name. There should be NO politics in the schools. Schools don't need more divisiveness. SB148 uses the phrase "feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress on account of his/her race, color, sex or national origin." Therefore, subjects that students or parents feel this way should no longer be discussed. HB1557 Parental Rights in Education allows parents to sue school if they disagree about their child's education. Yes, parents need to be involved in their child's education but litigation only exacerbates polarization. Interactive discussions are much more important than litigation. HB11 proposes that no one must hinder, impede, interfere with a law enforcement officer performing his/her duty. And if you provoke a cop, you may be charged with a misdemeanor. (Watch it if you're videotaping an interaction. That might be considered hindrance.) SB1298 would require all pro teams playing in a subsidized arena to play the national anthem before the games start or lose the funds. Really? I don't know of any games that have not had the anthem played beforehand. Just another overreach, unnecessary regulation. A possible election police force of 52 people has been proposed to fan out across the state to check for voter and election fraud. Gee, we already have that under the Secretary of State and county officials. There goes $5.7 million. Just recently in Osceola County, a college history professor was supposed to present to the teachers "The Long Civil Rights Movement" but it was canceled due to concerns of backlash from the state Education Board (read CRT). Dr. Raul Pino, an Orange County health official, was suspended due to an email that he sent out to employees bemoaning the low vaccination rate amongst their colleagues. Intimidation, harassment, censorship, muzzling, overreach, Big Brother. Instead of lowering the temp of culture wars, the current Legislature is ratcheting it up more. This must stop.
Beth Summer, Naples
Rebuttal to Biden defender
A letter in the Views section was interesting when they wrote “where the idea of shelling out $15 more for a tank of gas for an Audi SUV requires pangs of sorrow.” Have you given any thought to how higher fuel prices effect the person who has to drive to work every day to support a family? Have you considered what effect higher grocery prices have on working families? This administration speaks to higher wages but if prices for essentials are rising faster than the wages then there is no gain for working families. Speaking of the exit from Afghanistan, what past administrations are responsible for is not the point. The exit was poorly planned and executed, American troops were killed, the Taliban was given control, and now private citizens and U.S. veterans are the people who have taken up the role of getting U.S. citizens and Afghans who served honorably with our troops out of Afghanistan. Who were the first two politicians during the presidential election to cast doubt on the COVID vaccine?
Patricia Tobiasen, Fort Myers
Singing Valentine returns
Of all the ways to remember that special someone, none is more special and unique than when four gentlemen in tuxedos show up, unannounced, and deliver a singing Valentine. Quartets from the local Paradise Coastmen Barbershop Chorus will make deliveries to homes, offices and restaurants on Feb. 12, 13 and 14. Recipients will also receive a long-stemmed red rose and card from the sender. The chorus has been doing this for more than ten years and the revenue received helps them continue their work in the Naples community. Just recently the group raised more than $7,000 to benefit the Salvation Army Christmas Fund. For more information call 239-352-6366 or visit their website www.paradisecoastmen.org
Gray Poehler, vice president, Naples
Governor's COVID priority wrong
DeSantis must abandon his stance on recommending monoclonal antibody treatments over preventive vaccines.
Monoclonal antibody treatments, which were effective against delta, do not work against omicron which now accounts for more than 99 percent of new COVID cases. The drug manufacturers themselves, Regeneron and Eli Lilly, have confirmed it, and the FDA has halted distribution of it.
Gov. DeSantis is condemning the FDA decision, even hinting at legal action. Despite DeSantis’s claim that there is not “a shred of clinical data to support” the FDA’s decision, there is overwhelming data on the monoclonal antibodies’ lack of effectiveness against the omicron variant.
This is critical for all Floridians to know -- our governor is prioritizing a treatment that doesn’t work over vaccines that do.
Getting a COVID vaccine takes about a minute, followed by ten to 15 minutes of observation time. Getting monoclonal antibody treatments involves an infusion through an IV for at least an hour, followed by a minimum of another hour of observation for allergic reactions. The vaccine is quicker, far less painful, in plentiful supply, and effective.
This is political posturing at its most dangerous. COVID deaths due to the omicron variant are greater than they were with the delta variant. Unvaccinated people will die. Monoclonal antibody treatments will not save them.
It’s past time for DeSantis to adapt to a medical strategy that works. The health and safety of Florida residents should be his first priority.
Susan McGuire, Bokeelia
Praise of McConnell misplaced
The Cal Thomas editorial in praise of Mitch McConnell marked a new low for Thomas and for the minority leader’s speech as well. To criticize President Biden for his inability to bring us together is a far reach for the guy whose whole agenda during President Obama’s first term was simply to make sure Obama got no legislation passed and was not re-elected. He set out the same course for his “friend,” Joe Biden, obstructing every initiative the president offered in his first year.
While I agree Biden’s Atlanta speech was a little rough, many Democrats felt it was long overdue. To criticize his reference to George Wallace, Bull Connor and Jefferson Davis is laughable when you consider the question, “Which party would those three be members of today?” I would challenge Cal Thomas to answer the same question regarding the card he played invoking President Lincoln. There is no question that Lincoln was on the right side of history in his support of equality. And to suggest he would be in support of Senator McConnell today is gross lunacy.
Michael Kinghorn, Naples
This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Letters to the editor for Friday, January 28, 2022