Letter writers are respected

I am grateful to this newspaper for supporting our nation’s cherished tradition of free expression. A civil exchange of ideas is fundamental to democracy, and I respect the dedication of those who take the time to write letters to the editor.

Unfortunately, in today’s world we are vulnerable to manipulative news sources whose overarching purpose is to gain readership through sensationalism, rather than shed light on the truth.

In his letter of June 2, Gerald Monnin accurately quotes CNN host, Don Lemon saying, “The biggest threat in this country is white men.”

What did Lemon base this on? Data. White males have committed most of the mass murders in this nation since 1900. What does it mean? Not much. Sixty-three percent of the male population identify as non-Hispanic white. One would expect that white males might commit mass shootings at a rate proportionate with their group size in the U.S. population.

These sorts of conversations distract from serious debate on the causes and solutions to gun violence in our society. Some 2,366 people have been killed and 8,701 wounded in mass shootings since December 14, 2012 when a very disturbed young white male killed 20 children, six adults and then himself.

Ephraim Mattos took offense at Don Lemon’s words, and Mattos’s response went “viral” powered by the media. There is background behind both men’s words. Serving as a Navy Seal, Mattos sacrificed much in three recent wars. Lemon, an African-American, is a survivor of the horrific legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, a fact in our history too often neglected. Powerful media broadcast both men’s words stirring up emotions wide and deep, but did little to shed light on a tragic and persistent problem of gun violence.

The context around words adds meaning. We know this. At one time or another, most of us have said words we regret to someone we love. We may have even shot off a private email to an intimate friend with language not meant for public discussion (the context of Peter Strzok’s comments about Trump supporters). We know that when we calm down, we can communicate better with others.

America, we need to calm down. We cannot let a manipulative press divide us. We have urgent problems to work through. Frank and fruitful discussion requires understanding. We need to speak and listen carefully as if our lives depended on it. They just might.

Dorothy Singer

rural Defiance

U.S. House did what it could

While Mr. Trump decries Democrats in Congress for refusing to bend to his will, the House of Representatives has racked up many accomplishments. In contradiction of the recent presidential tweet claiming that “Democrats are getting nothing done,” the House has passed approximately 50 bills and resolutions since January.

Notably, just since mid-May, the House passed legislation addressing a number of problems Mr. Trump himself has professed concern for. This includes bills to lower prescription drug prices, protect patients with pre-existing medical conditions and address a range of veterans’ issues. In fact, Democrats brought a detailed infrastructure plan to the recent meeting, which was supposed to focus on that topic.

Regrettably, Mr. Trump chose to cancel that meeting in favor of an angry press conference that was clearly planned for the timeslot all along.

In addition to the items mentioned above, the House of Representatives has passed HR 7, The Paycheck Fairness Act; HR 1500, The Consumers First Act; HR 1331, The Local Water Protection Act; and HR1585, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019. These and other important measures have received scant attention in the news media, belying Mr. Trump’s frequent claim that all except FOX give Democrats favorable coverage.

To be fair, none of these noble causes has any chance of becoming law in the foreseeable future. That’s because — best efforts in the House notwithstanding — the Senate has become a boneyard for meaningful legislation under Mitch McConnell’s leadership. Not a single companion bill to those listed here has been introduced. McConnell seems to take pride in his refusal to meet Democrats anywhere along the road, let alone halfway.

Disaster assistance to flood-stricken states was even held up for weeks by a lone, stubborn Republican congressman.

So don’t be fooled by the peeving and moaning designed to convince us that Congress cannot write and pass worthwhile legislation while also meeting their constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the President’s actions. The House continues to advance on both of these fronts, even as The White House and Senate display their dedication to stonewalling.

And as usual, our own Bob Latta continues to rubberstamp everything his higher-ups require.

Marion Hanson

Defiance

Hard work is valued

In the June 2 Crescent-News, Ed Singer had a very well written letter. Dorothy, his wife, also has very good letters.

Values of hard work and economic well-being are shared by all Americans. Rural populations are especially hurt by the steady transfer of wealth.

So many businesses have closed their doors — Elder Beerman, Sears, and Peebles of Bryan will close in January 2020. With these stores closed, or about to close, we have Kohl’s. I consider it number one, Marshalls number two.

Rose Ann Kunesh

Defiance

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