Respect was appreciated

My father, John Chafin passed away June 23. He was a veteran of World War II and a good and humble man. With the pandemic guiding all of our lives and activities his funeral was restricted to just our family, which, for us kids was fine.

He was buried in Sherwood cemetery, and during the procession from Defiance to Sherwood we passed through Brunersburg. I was impressed that all the oncoming traffic pulled over as we passed, but, one man in particular caught our attention. He was riding a motorcycle and as we crossed the bridge over the Tiffin River, he got off his cycle and saluted the motorcade.

I don’t know if he saw the flag draped over his coffin, but, I cannot express the gratitude the entire family felt seeing this sign of respect. I do not know this man’s name and know that my words of thanks may never reach him but thank you. You have no idea what that meant to a grieving family.

Mike Chafin

Girard, Ill.

Portman should stand up for ‘justice’

Sen. Rob Portman should join Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in calling for the inspector general of the Department of Justice to investigate Attorney General William Barr.

Barr announced that the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, was resigning. But Berman stated he was not. Barr, the chief law enforcement officer, was caught lying.

Also, Barr has no legal authority to remove a U.S. attorney. He abused his authority.

Barr announced that Jay Clayton would replace Berman. Yet, Clayton has no litigation experience. Clayton is unqualified for a position in which he would lead criminal prosecutions. Barr’s action undermines the people’s trust in law enforcement.

Barr then said Trump made the decision to fire Berman. Impeached Trump then denied he was involved. Next, the White House announced that impeached Trump had indeed fired Berman. The conflicting accounts and harebrained reversals raise questions of failed leadership both at DOJ and the White House and prompt a review of this interference in law enforcement.

Berman then would not agree to leave the office until a respected, competent, experienced, and lawful replacement was chosen. Barr was forced to accept Berman’s deputy U.S. attorney at SDNY, Audrey Strauss, as successor. Berman was able to checkmate Barr’s political interference into SDNY’s work.

Portman, himself, is also known for his contempt of the rule of law — he violated his oath to the Constitution and his impeachment oath to do impartial justice: he covered up Trump’s abuse of power and obstruction of Congress by voting not to have an impeachment trial, which is unconstitutional. He valued his party’s power and control instead of our constitutional system.

But Portman can begin redemption by standing up for the rule of law now and calling for Barr to be investigated for abuse of power, contempt for truth in matters of law, degradation of DOJ’s impartiality, political interference in matters of justice, and eroding the people’s trust in law enforcement.

Portman, stand up for our nation’s world-inspiring justice. Defend the public’s trust in our justice system. You have nothing to lose — you might yet gain a footnote in history as a man who, during the end of the most corrupt administration and the most un-American, power-greedy, Republican Senate majority in our history, finally discovered his patriotism.

Sarah Maxwell

Archbold

Racism comes in different forms

Recent allusions to “white racists” in America prompt me to identify two general species of that animal. First, there are the yahoos who view those whose melanin content exceeds their own as aliens to be met with suspicion. Their racism is based on ignorance. The best that can be said for them is that they tend to be honest about their prejudices.

Then there are the more sophisticated racists who fancy themselves as “progressive.” Perhaps self-abasement regarding their “privilege guilt” yields them a perverse pleasure. Accordingly, their sentiments are rooted in vanity, though you can bet they’d claim higher motives. This tribe is often the more insufferable since they insist that all of us “supremacists” follow their example, and work 24/7 to expunge (perhaps via reparations) the “original sin” of slavery, ignoring in the process the possibility that we European types may actually have done some significant good over the past few centuries.

What both varieties have in common is a refusal to admit that variations within racial categories far outweigh differences among them. That’s what makes them racists. As a social and moral individualist, I reject either form of racism, or indeed any notion of collective guilt (or entitlement) as unAmerican, immoral, and unjust.

Permit me to elaborate further.

Though a catalog of the historic contributions made by white people to the betterment of the human condition (philosophy, the arts, technology, abolishing slavery, etc.) would be encyclopedic in length, my own role in these achievements has been negligible at best. Thus, despite being “white,” I feel entitled to none of the compensation which might accrue to these efforts, and am owed nothing by those who do not share my pedigree.

Likewise, I had nothing to do with any of the countless atrocities visited by the “white race” upon our fellow humans, and so feel absolutely no obligation to the victims of these wrongs (or their descendants) solely because I happen to share a particular biological trait in common with the perpetrators.

As an individual with free will, I am responsible for my own and solely my own actions; and the only original sin I accept is the one committed by Adam and Eve. And that was expunged by the sacrament of baptism. However, my neighbor may differ from me, I recognize his (or her) humanity, and so demand from him (her) the same measure of personal accountability.

Robert Kohl

rural Defiance

No joking matter

Experts were saying America might experience a second wave of Covid-19 during the customary flu season this fall and winter. It’s now clear we never passed the first wave. After flattening the curve into a high plateau, the rate of increase has reached numbers that surpass the initial outbreak. Last Friday, a record of 45,255 new infections were reported.

So far, the United States has suffered 2.5 million confirmed cases and above 125,000 deaths. With about 4% of the world’s population, the United States accounts for 25% of the world’s deaths from Covid-19.

Texas, Arizona, Florida and others have reached new highs. Many cities and some entire states are running out of hospital beds as the dire conditions of New York City’s hotspot recur in the South and West. Economic reopening plans are back on hold.

Trump, who pushed states to open to boost the economy, brushes off rising numbers. “When you do testing … you’re going to find more cases. So I said to my people, slow the testing down, please.”

That inspired many quips: We can stop unwanted pregnancies by not taking pregnancy tests! We can remove undocumented migrants by not checking their documents! The absurdity becomes apparent to all except the president and his allies. Those overcrowded hospitals make it clear — testing is not the problem.

By turns, we’ve been told he was kidding, that he doesn’t kid, and that he was sarcastic. But these are not joking matters. We must test even more widely to prevent still more infections because a high percentage of them will prove fatal.

Nonetheless, federal funding for testing is on week-to-week deadlines with no ramping up.

The White House and other Republican officials continue to downplay the impact of the pandemic as they urge us to return to normal life. We lost precious weeks in January and February while this all was termed a hoax or a minor strain of flu. We found ourselves dangerously short of supplies, ill-equipped to deal with hotspots, slow to establish the contact tracing that would make a safe reopening possible.

Trump told his Phoenix crowd that “someday” his pandemic response would “be recognized by history.” He said, “China flu… It’s going away.” Sadly, Arizona now faces hospitals at 100% of ICU capacity. Republicans think it’s the perfect time for the Supreme Court to overturn Obamacare and deprive 23 million Americans of health insurance.

Ed Singer

rural Defiance

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