Absurd to equate Donald Trump, opponents of Vladimir Putin

A March 3 letter attempted to equate Vladimir Putin’s killing possible challengers to states’ efforts to keep Donald Trump off the presidential ballot. The writer referred to the states using “any means possible, including frivolous legal maneuvers.”   

Such an equivalence is absurd for several reasons. First, unlike Putin’s antagonists, Trump has been given several fair trials and indeed, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that a single state cannot bar his candidacy.  

Second, while Trump and his attorneys are experts at making frivolous legal arguments, the 14th Amendment’s attempt to keep Constitutional oath-breakers from holding office is not a “frivolous legal maneuver.” This letter writer (or any Trump supporter) cannot seriously think that upholding the Constitution allows a president to do any of the following:  

  • Pressure state secretaries of state to change votes;  
  • Approve a scheme to submit false electoral votes from several states;  
  • Tell supporters, whom he knew were armed, to march to the Capitol and “fight like hell;”  
  • Falsely tell his supporters that the vice president had the authority to alter the election outcome;  
  • Watch his supporters attack police; threaten the vice president and legislators; erect a gallows; and ransack the Capitol for hours, while doing nothing to stop it.  

Despite presenting no evidence in over 60 trials, despite his own attorneys and Justice Department officials telling him the truth, Trump still lies about the election being stolen. We know from sworn testimony, given by those closest to him, that as early as July 2020 the plan was to claim victory no matter what.   

They obviously knew from history that a lie, repeated often enough, would be believed by gullible voters.   

The question now for the American electorate is whether there are enough gullible voters to think that Trump should be trusted to serve another term as the leader of our great country, which — to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin — is a republic, if we can keep it.  

Roy Goldman, Atlantic Beach 

Congressional reps shortsighted on Ukraine

Ukraine is entering its third year of war with Russia and has mounted a fierce resistance to the invasion, preventing the Russians from taking over. 

But Ukraine’s success is now in danger. The U.S. has suddenly stopped providing the country with aid needed to defend itself. 

The Senate recently passed a bipartisan aid package to supply $90 billion in aid to Ukraine, Taiwan and Israel and humanitarian aid to Gaza, with two-thirds of that going to the Ukrainians. 

However, that bill is now stalled in the House. Will our local Congress members stand up for Ukraine and our other allies? 

Republicans for Ukraine have been rating the performance of House members on Ukraine. It gave Rep. John Rutherford an “Excellent” rating for his support of Ukraine and Rep. Michael Waltz a rating of “Okay,” while Rep. Aaron Bean and Rep. Kat Cammack both drew “Very Poor” ratings. 

The views of Bean and Cammack are very shortsighted. Ukraine’s fight against Russia is very much to our benefit. If Ukraine falls, Putin will likely next target the Baltic states, Finland, Poland and other countries. Many of these states are NATO members, so the U.S. would have to come to their defense. 

That would essentially mean that our military personnel in Jacksonville would be going to war and dying for the mistakes of Bean and Cammack. Remember, World War II started because the world did not stand up to Adolf Hitler when he invaded Czechoslovakia, leading Hitler to believe that he could invade Poland without any consequences. I think Bean and Cammack are making that same mistake. 

So, when it is time to vote, remember that Rutherford and Waltz stood by Ukraine and our other allies, while Bean and Cammack did not lift a finger to help them. 

Terry D. Bork, Jacksonville 

Analysis of independent voters 

We’ll hear a lot about independent and undecided voters in the coming months. 

It’s my understanding that about 97% of these voters, plus or minus maybe 3%, so identify because: (A) they don’t want to reveal their true political inclinations or affiliations — even to pollsters; (B) they regard both major parties as tainted due to the behavior of fringe elements and so no longer want to be publicly associated with either; (C) they don’t want to be targeted by party fundraisers and other well-meaning activists; or (D) they don’t like having to defend their true ideology or voting intentions in response to questions from friends, acquaintances, neighbors, workplace cohorts and even family members. 

Some might contend that it’s patriotic, admirable and just plain honest to be so in-your-face about one’s politics. Others more prudently see such combative engagement as reinforcing the shirts-and-skins polarization currently infecting our nation. 

As someone who is registered as having No Party Affiliation, I’m in the B camp. As for those D voters, they are either weary of mounting such defenses or unable to articulate a coherent argument for their candidate. But what of the remaining 3%, those who eschew party affiliation for other reasons? Yes, they exist, but I believe they comprise a negligible minority. 

Bob Fliegel, St. Augustine 

Mental health needs a game changer

As we’ve previously posted, our favorite quote comes from historian Daniel Boorstin: “The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” 

Just one horrific example illustrating this quote is found in the work of psychologist Bruno Bettelheim, who in the mid-20th century promoted what came to be known as the “refrigerator parents” theory. This idea blamed autism in children on parents (specifically mothers) who weren’t nurturing enough. 

Now discredited, the theory was widely accepted starting in the early 1940s through the 1970s. It was a guilt trip these dedicated parents did not deserve. 

If I hear one more time that “We have to be on the right path” or “It’s the way we have always done it,” I may become unhinged. We must think outside the box on mental illness. 

How this country deals with this crisis — and it is a crisis — defines us as a society. That is why it’s so important that dedicated and courageous young folks are now taking up the fight. It may prove to be the game changer our generation could not provide. 

After all, prejudice and ignorance should not be the answer to our mental health crisis. Rather, it should be education and understanding. 

Richard & Kathleen Marquis, St. Augustine 

Direct mail an important service

A Feb. 25 letter writer says he received a piece of junk mail in a bag from the USPS that was damaged and that it was for an oil change. With the modern machinery that the USPS uses, it’s true that there will be instances where this happens. However, this type of mail is what is called Every Door Direct Mail. 

It gives businesses the option to distribute their message to specific neighborhoods near where the business is located for a minimal fee. 

Damage to mail during processing is generally minimal. This type of mail helps keep the Postal Service a valuable entity financially and serves as a method to tell residents what local businesses serve them. If the writer does not want this mail, then that’s what the recycle bin is for. 

He doesn’t need to ask Congress to stop an important service that businesses rely on to stay in business. 

Bob Henning, retired letter carrier, Jacksonville 

Does terror beget terror? 

In a March 4 article regarding the conflict in Gaza, it was reported that Rania Abu Anza, a Palestinian woman, spent 10 years undergoing in vitro fertilization before finally becoming pregnant. Yet it took just seconds for her to lose her 5-month-old twins when an Israeli air strike hit her home, killing the children and her husband. 

Can any reasonable person condone this and think, “Well, they started it?” 

The Hamas attack was unquestionably horrific and an act of terror. But if one side kills innocents and the other retaliates by killing their innocents, are both now deemed terrorists? These actions will only create a deeper-rooted animosity toward one another. Destroying cities and killing innocents won’t kill an ideology. It feeds it. 

How many puns, innuendos and — sadly — ironic jokes have been made about peace in the Middle East? As we cry for the children. 

Gary Schuran, Middleburg 

Panhandling ordinance is necessary

I read on March 4 that the Cosac Foundation, based in South Florida, has chosen to sue the city of Jacksonville over an ordinance that outlaws panhandling at intersections. 

As one who drives the Jacksonville metro area daily, I believe this ordinance is needed to keep traffic flowing and pedestrians safe at intersections. The Cosac Foundation lawsuit takes money the organization should be using for their claimed mission. It only lines the pockets of attorneys. 

Jacksonville has two great organizations that serve the homeless: City Rescue Mission and Sulzbacher Center, as well as the Five-Star Veterans Center, which does phenomenal work for our veterans. Please support these local organizations, rather than an organization headquartered 320 miles from Jacksonville. 

Charles E. Brown, Jacksonville 

Kudos to Khan for hosting Jay Fund event

Many thanks to Shad Khan and the Jacksonville Jaguars for opening EverBank Stadium to the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation’s annual wine-tasting fundraiser. 

Held Feb. 29, the event raised $370,000 for the Jay Fund — a new record. This is truly a great charity that does incredible work helping children with cancer and their families with financial assistance. 

Bill Merriam, Jacksonville 

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