Letters to the editor for Wednesday, March 22, 2023

It's history, not woke indoctrination

I’m a little bit confused. The Republican legislators in Tallahassee are pushing forward with legislation to protect Confederate monuments. Our own Fort Myers Sen. Jonathan Martin in defense of the legislation has stated: “I think that history, good or bad, should be available for everybody.” The legislation says if monuments are relocated they must be on a site with prominence, honor and visibility. Aren’t these the same legislators that are so determined and afraid of educating children on the good and bad parts of Black history?

So, it’s OK to be glorifying the war in the U.S. over the owning of slaves but not OK to admit we had them? Perhaps we should let those books that explain our dependence on slavery, the Black history that led to that Civil War, as well as its subsequent history, in our classrooms. After all, good or bad, our history should be taught to our children in full. It is not woke indoctrination. Those who deny history are doomed to repeat it!

Joan Fanelli, Fort Myers

Obvious hypocrisy

In the article about the Florida GOP pushing legislation to protect Confederate monuments, Sen. Jonathan Martin, R-Fort Myers, states, "I think that history, good or bad, should be available for everybody." I must have missed the part where the reporter asked how he voted on the Stop Woke Act. The Florida governor and GOP are erasing history that they don't like from textbooks and banning books that tell about slavery or the Holocaust. I called his office to ask this question. Still waiting for a response. He needs to know that his hypocrisy is obvious to all.

Kevin Wagner, Lehigh Acres

Guns, monuments; not women

I wish I could be a monument or a memorial of a Confederate. If I was, I would be protected. I wish I could be a piece of metal. A cold piece of metal with a barrel, chamber, shaft, trigger and bullet. If I were, I would be protected. But I am a mere woman, a vessel relegated to the propagation of this man's world. I have no protection to regulate my own body. Laws are being made to make sure I have no rights when it comes to my own body. Yes, sadly guns and monuments have more rights than I do.

So I want to be something that men value, that they would protect with their lives. I want to be that gun, or that monument that they are fighting for in the Legislature. And if I were one of these, maybe I would not feel the pain of being a woman. A woman that has no autonomy, no rights, that’s why I want to be a gun or a monument, they have far more rights than I do. How sad.

Debra L. Hodroff, Estero

Not the 'Free State'

Florida Legislators: I am writing to all of you as you seem to only operate as a pack. I'm white, straight and have voted in Collier County consistently for the past 20+ years. Are you listening? Got your attention finally?I am alarmed at the lockstep partisan response to every whim of this current governor, senators and representatives to allow the following: Book banning in schools , liberal gun laws, limitation of women's rights, voting rights, denial of Black history and LGBTQ individuals. I'm ashamed to see the carnage that occurs in our schools, nightclubs and synagogues with nary a peep from our legislators. Hatred, censoring and name calling escalated in Germany 1930.Let's not be so ignorant as to ignore what happens under a hateful dictatorship. It's no wonder Florida is home to the majority of the January 6th terrorists.All of the above occurs regularly on your watch. You do NOT represent TRUE Americans. Our country was designed to respect separation of church and state, welcome diversity, and allow our universities and schools to present truth over censorship. Are you, our legislators, blind to the parallels in history? Be an upstander, not a bystander, which ever party you represent.Busy yourselves with the issues of governing fairly; stop promoting your own cultural and political agendas.This is not "The Free State Of Florida" anymore.

Sandra Button, Naples

Amusing liberals

I find it amusing that, in Saturday's Mailbag, liberal letter writers make the following claims: (1) That 8-year-olds are capable of critical thinking, and thus should be exposed in the public schools to instructional materials which proclaim the desirability of becoming homosexual or transsexual. (2) That 18-year-olds are incapable of making the simple moral decision of whether or not to use a gun to kill another human being. If claim #2 is true most of the time, then how in the world can claim #1 be given any credence whatsoever? Perhaps the age of rational/critical thinking is even higher than that of the letter writers!

Dave Bridgeman, Alva

Political soap opera

I do not need to be protected from immigrants by flying them via charter to Martha's Vineyard; I do not need to be protected from COVID vaccine by an overpaid quack physician spreading misinformation; I do not need to be protected from reality by a rewrite of history; I do not need our students to be protected from an education by an edict of what they will/won't be taught.What I need is property insurance, at an affordable rate, and unfettered by limits to legally confront insurance companies that could have avoided litigation if they paid legitimate claims.I need a roof, not a political soap opera.

Suzann Smith, Cape Coral

Kindergarten rules

Former President Trump reminds us that it is our right to "protest" when he goes to court.

Let's also remember, "Do not hit or hurt people or try to break things" are rules we learn in kindergarten.

Betty Tobin, Fort Myers

A woke awakening

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines "woke" as being aware of and actively attentive to societal facts and issues.Reasonably, anyone can be aware of societal facts and issues, whether Republican or Democrat. They can have different solutions to societal problems, and both be considered woke because their opinions are informed ones.Rather than convert the word "woke" into a meaningless but aggressive buzzword for whatever you disagree with at the moment, why not just do the unthinkable, discuss problems and come to reasonable solutions. We've done that before. Why not now?Enough with the woke -- OK?Dr. Joseph Harnett, Naples

Political retribution

As a former union member/officer for some 47 years, I was saddened to read the Florida Legislature's decree that raised the membership bar from 50% to 60% for teachers and health care professionals while retaining the lower criterion (50%) for public sector employee union certification. As opponents to this proposed legislation (HB 1445 & SB 256) noted, the two unions are comprised of different political factions -- teachers and health care folk tend to favor Democratic Party affiliation while public sector employees are more likely to embrace Republican Party ideology.

Why the different certification standards? (a) Union-busting of Blue voters; (b) Union favoritism of Red voters; (c) Political retribution against critics of Mr. DeSantis' agenda; (d) All of the above.

Should you write in "e. None of the above," you will need to present a logically constructed, persuasive, evidenced-based argument to receive credit.

James L. DeBoy, Fort Myers

Don't provoke governor!

I was shocked -- Shocked! -- when I saw the half page headline of the Neapolitan section of the March 19 paper on the significance of Ramadan. Are you preaching diversity? Are you indoctrinating our citizens to the ways of Islam? Are you grooming them to become radicalized, or maybe even terrorists?

What will our esteemed open-minded governor think? You should be more careful -- under our new laws the governor’s police may arrest you and fine you or even shut down your paper, or, at the least, replace your editorial board with the governor’s friends.

Ellie Wright, Naples

Busy signal on 911 call

A few hours ago, my neighbor's visitor had a medical episode that required Lee County Emergency Services. She called 911 and received a busy signal. One could only imagine how unsettling that was. She called back shortly thereafter, connected, and a paramedic unit arrived promptly. Was there a staffing problem on a lazy Sunday evening in March?Sounds like a situation that should require attention from our county commissioners. Are you listening, commissioners? Commissioners?

Raymond Brooks, Fort Myers

Aircraft disturb neighborhood

We have been tormented by low, loud, frequent aircraft for the last 2.5 years; the aircraft are incessant.

We do not live near the airport; we live approximately seven miles away. The aircraft over our neighborhood are at approximately 500 yards. It is not just a couple of jets either, it's 50, 60, 70 and more. The aircraft traffic has increased over 275% at Naples Airport. With the growth in Naples the airport is now located in the middle of many neighborhoods.

There is a negative health impact to people who live in flightpaths and near busy airports. There are planes using Avgas (leaded fuel) and with approximately 6,000 children who attend school nearby, that is worrisome. There are ultrafine particles coming from fuel exhaust that can travel up to 12 miles in the wind. Not to mention the noise pollution, the inability to relax and have peace and quiet in your home is unthinkable. Some of the associated health problems are high blood pressure, cardiovascular issues, anxiety, depression, hearing loss, sleep deprivation, and fetal distress all stated by the World Health Organization and the EPA.

We are taxpaying citizens and deserve to live in peace.

The ambience and tranquility of Naples is being destroyed!

Mary Tatigian, Naples

Moneybags diplomacy

There is so much history to this conflict that most readers are unaware of. That’s understandable. Ukraine is a long ways away and has little bearing on our daily lives. NATO is Putin’s archenemy and has been expanding to the very borders of Russia itself. Fact is, if our leaders had made it perfectly clear to Russia years ago that NATO would never accept Ukraine as a member, there would be no war today. All Russia wanted, all Russia needed, was a buffer from NATO guns on its border. Does anyone find that difficult to understand? Does anyone remember how we felt about Russian nuclear missiles 90 miles away from Key West 60 years ago?

The horrible Russian aggression against Ukraine is primarily a European problem. Just look at the map to see which countries are in danger of a Russian invasion. Of course the Russian military is inept and couldn’t even make it to Kyiv but that is not the point. The countries of Western Europe need to step up by proxy to defend Ukraine. Those very countries, the countries most vulnerable to potential Russian aggression, are the very countries former President Trump assailed for underpaying their NATO dues for decades. Why do they not try to take care of themselves? Because the United States has effectively said, “We will take care of you, don’t worry about it. We’ve got the money.“

I am sick of that moneybags diplomacy and so is the next president of the United States, Ronald Dion DeSantis.

Gary Marsh, Estero

A History major?

“While the U.S. has many vital national interests, becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them.” Such are the words of Ron DeSantis.Let’s apply that same thinking to a similar event from a previous period in American history: “While the U.S. has many vital national interests, becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Poland and Germany is not one of them.” The world is fortunate that President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill did not see it that way.

There are those who say Putin merely wants to eliminate the future expansion of NATO and to retake those countries he feels rightfully belong to Russia. His expansionist ideology is expressed in a 2022 statement, “Russia has no borders,” and tells another story.It’s also important to consider Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its violation of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. Three decades ago, the independent country of Ukraine was briefly the third largest nuclear power in the world. In exchange for Russia guaranteeing Ukraine’s security and independence, Ukraine agreed to and did completely denuclearize.

It’s important to recognize that Putin cannot be taken at his word anymore than Hitler was. Why would we think Putin would stop at Ukraine? It’s interesting to note that the History major at Yale is for students who understand that shaping the future requires knowing the past. I don’t believe there would have been one veteran who would have seen WW II as nothing but a territorial dispute, with little national influence on the U.S. And to think DeSantis was a History major at Yale.

Chuck Gass, Naples

DeSantis on Ukraine, vaccine

Trump and now DeSantis, giving cover for Putin, by characterizing Russia’s invasion of the sovereign country of Ukraine, as a “territorial dispute that is not a core national interest.” For the past two years beginning with disagreeing with the efficacy of the COVID vaccine, DeSantis has taken the contrary side of so many issues. It makes me wonder just who it is that is advising him on this strategy and I can’t wait to hear his attempt at clarifying his statement.

Roger W. Quagliano, Estero

Solution to partisan politics

OK, this may take a little chewing on or at least a bottle of wine while contemplating.

I think we can all agree there is a huge partisan divide in our politics because politicians continue to play to their bases. I think we can all also agree this divide is a big part of why things are not getting done and fueling the nonsense going on in our state and national capitals.

So, here’s little Jimmy Wall from Fort Myers solution to the bipartisan, gridlock and insanity going on in today’s politics. Only registered Republicans vote in Democrat primaries. Only registered Democrats vote in Republican primaries. Simple right! Hold on, before you start shooting arrows at this idea consider this: If Republicans voted in Democratic primaries, we would get more moderate. conservative candidates. If only Democrats voted in Republican primaries we would get more moderate, less far-right candidates.

I believe we would get centric or moderate candidates more focused on polices and issues rather than ideologies. I’m pretty sure campaign financing will follow electable centric, moderate issue-based candidates. This would mean, of course, we (both sides) would have to do the hard work of being more engaged in keeping those primary candidates to their campaign promises, rather than ignoring what’s said on the campaign trail once elected. Again, think about it: Is not centric, moderate candidates truly able to reach across the aisle what “We the People” want. This is one idea, anyone got another? Somehow, we must stop the insanity of playing to the respective bases and deal with issues.

Jim Wall, Fort Myers

Pro-life hypocrisy

I have a question for the pro-life advocates. This is just a what if, what would you do in this situation. A pregnant young girl comes to you and says, I will carry it if you take it. You being a loyal pro-life Christian says, of course. She says, okay. I need to tell you something. It’s a product of incest. I don’t know if it’s from my dad or one of my brothers. You say, ohhh ummmmm. Oh one more thing. The sonogram says it has severe abnormalities and will need 24/7 care. Need a second to think about it? I was watching an interview of a pro-lifer. He was touting all life is sacred. He was than asked what should be the penalty for abortion. Answer: Execution. You people don’t listen to yourself. Why are you constantly going after women? You must have flunked biology. That is not a one-person job. I can’t wait until plain vanilla is in the minority. And I’m an old white guy.

Charles Perkins, North Fort Myers

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Letters to the editor for Wednesday, March 22, 2023