Letters to the Editor – June 22, 2021
In the news recently: “Florida Governor Signs New Bill Requiring K-12 Public Schools to Observe One Minute of Silence Every Day”
Make no mistake: I am a meditator and absolutely believe in the power of stillness as part of our way of life. Yet it is clear that requiring others to share my belief is inherently undemocratic. Among his many crimes against democracy, DeSantis takes the cake with this one.
So please don’t get me wrong either: he uses a moralizing context to steer away from an extraordinary power grab. Counties and municipalities are perfectly capable of governing the culture of their public schools. It is offensive and destructive for the state to intervene and dictate such practices.
Why should federal or state governments have authority over local culture? DeSantis does not care at all about the moments of silence imposed by the school. But he deeply likes the impact of his action on political polls.
How is democracy built? Surely from the foundation up, not from the top down. This is the premise of our whole system in America. But unfortunately, a host of authoritarians invaded, claiming domination.
Will we let them steal our freedom?
Mary Ruth, Gainesville
Billionaires should pay more
Recent news reports show that many super rich Americans pay little or no income tax. Tens of millions of Americans pay a much higher percentage of their income in federal taxes than the super-rich.
President Joe Biden has called for increased taxes, but only on the rich. Yet Republicans, led by Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell, oppose such increases, even for billionaires.
“Billion” for most people is just a large number, so let me explain just how much. If you started spending $ 1,000 every day since Jesus was born 2021 years ago, you would still have over a third of that billion left. But $ 1 billion is big money for Jeff Bezos, who Forbes says is worth $ 177 billion.
To cross $ 177 billion, Bezos would have to spend $ 240,000 per day, or over $ 87 million per year, for 2021 years. Do you think maybe Trump and McConnell should step aside and let Congress force him to pay a bit more tax?
Bezos, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg and countless other billionaires, including Trump, can clearly afford it. And, given our national debt, the country needs it.
Geoff Pietsch, Gainesville
Nine of the 10 Bill of Rights amendments are unconditional. The second, however, is subject to the condition that “a well-regulated militia (is) necessary for the security of a free state”.
The United States has a well-trained, well-equipped, loyal, patriotic and professional army. The United States does not have a “well-regulated militia”, and none is necessary to ensure its “security” against a potential invasion by an adversary.
Since the condition of the Second Amendment no longer applies, the conclusion that “the right of the people to own and bear arms” is no longer an absolute constitutional right. The Second Amendment has, in effect, the sunset itself.
The 10th Amendment, of course, limits the restrictions the federal government can place on the possession of “weapons,” but does not limit state governments in the same way. Going forward, it looks like our country will have to sort out the balance between gun rights and gun rights. security in our state legislatures and, to a lesser extent, in our Congress.
David A. Drake, Gainesville
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