Letters to the Editor

Schaeffer column on tribalism draws responses. Also, thoughts on respectful firefighters, McConnell, border wall

President Donald Trump, right, shakes hands with Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, left, before a ceremonial swearing in in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. SUSAN WALSH AP
President Donald Trump, right, shakes hands with Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, left, before a ceremonial swearing in in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. SUSAN WALSH AP

Expansive identity

Because of our experience as Peace Corps volunteers and staff living and working in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Fiji, and our experience since of knowing immigrants as good friends and family, we have a much broader idea of identity than what Cameron S. Schaeffer described in his recent Herald-Leader commentary (“Tribalism and media prejudice ruining America”, Feb. 16).

We know it’s possible for immigrant citizens to feel connected to and contribute to both the United States and their countries of origin. It is even possible for those who are American-born to be connected to and contribute to the United States and another country. We know an immigrant from Libya who has lived in Lexington for 35 years and says, “I value this country in a different way than people who were born here because I have seen both sides. There is nothing wrong with loving two countries.” Another says, “I am from South Sudan but I am also American. It’s both of me. I have to stand in the middle.”

Let’s be willing to recognize the broader idea of identity of our immigrants in Lexington. Let’s welcome their energy and talents and draw them into what author bell hooks calls Kentucky’s “culture of belonging.”

Angene and Jack Wilson, Lexington

Capitalism often unjust

While I applaud Cameron Schaeffer’s call for more civil and less dehumanizing public discourse both among our leaders and the media, his recent Herald-Leader commentary was pretty strident in its own right.

Though he made several points open to challenge, I would like to address his assertion that, “The essence of socialism is dehumanization because it destroys capitalism, the natural economic system of individual, free human beings engaged in voluntary trade and commerce.” Our history has demonstrated that capitalism unrestrained tends to produce vicious injustices, although regulation can also go to extremes. One is reminded of the Russian saying, “Under capitalism men exploit men; under communism it’s the other way around.”

American capitalism is less burdened by policies grounded in compassion and justice than most other modern industrial democracies. This is evident in our stark economic inequalities and maldistribution of services. Poverty and lack of access to housing or health care are also dehumanizing.

T. Kerby Neill, Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice, Lexington

Schaeffer’s double standard

Discrediting accuser Christine Blasey Ford without believing why Brett Kavanaugh was accused shows prejudice on the part of Cameron S. Schaeffer. First, off, Ford exhibited more courage than Kavanaugh. Ford submitted to and passed a polygraph test, which Kavanaugh refused.

Every conservative media outlet was discrediting Ford, while painting Kavanaugh as the victim. This tactic is used continually to enable sexual predators and discourage the real victims from coming forward. No wonder most sexual assaults go unreported. Many conservatives’ attitudes prove they’re enabling those predators. If Schaeffer isn’t just another enabler, why doesn’t he condemn President Donald Trump, who boasted about groping women? Blasting the media for pursuing the truth shows his lack of credibility.

Schaeffer is right to call out tribalism; but his double standard really shows. When a white supremacist group holds a rally wielding torches while chanting “Jews will not replace us”, that shows tribalism at its ugliest. Where was Schaeffer’s courage to call out those barbarians?

As to his condemnation of socialism, I have four words: Russian President Vladimir Putin.

For the record, anyone against racial diversity is a self-proclaimed bigot.

R.P. Kress, Nicholasville

Trump, McConnell flip-flop

Ordinarily, I would not believe such a thing was possible, but it happened: When President Donald Trump was just thinking about declaring a “border emergency” to raid earmarked funds, Sen. Mitch McConnell didn’t think it was a good idea. Now, McConnell has swallowed his pride, morals and principles and is not opposed to this out-of-bounds method of funding Trump’s wall. Neither politician ever again can be believed because of their pivots. Mexico was supposed to fund the wall, according to Trump, and McConnell was opposed to declaring a border emergency (until he was for it). What politicians will do for self-preservation. On the same note, many Americans consider that Trump made a deal with the Satan of the Kremlin when he and his family were seeking the presidency. Keep supporting these loons and soon we’ll be saying goodbye to America the Free.

Gerald Lance Johannsen, Carlsbad, Calif.

Firefighters show respect

I want to thank my fellow workers and friends at the Lexington Fire Department for the job they did on a fire on Glengarry Way last month. Even though the fire was out of control when they arrived, it was knocked down as fast as possible. I really want to thank them for the respectful way they handled Doby the cat, who had perished in the fire. They brought him outside and covered him with a towel and placed him in a spot where he was in no more danger of harm. After the fire was done, they very respectfully carried him to my neighbors’ truck up the street and placed him in the truck. There were a few tears shed when they placed him in the truck. Once again, Lexington Fire Department, a great job.

Earl Blythe, Retired firefighter, Lexington

Pesos, please

The acting chief of staff to President Donald Trump, Mick Mulvaney, has said that “the president has asked every single cabinet secretary, and the Office of Management and Budget, to go out and find money” for his wall. I hope one of those old white guys are the secretary for Mexican money. Then the president can actually keep a promise.

Mark Waggoner, Lexington

Wall no emergency

Why is the border wall suddenly a “national emergency?” President Donald Trump had two years to push this through when he had control of the House, Senate and the presidency. Then he had two months after the November election during which something could have been accomplished. Instead, he waited until now to demand legislation.

Perhaps this is all to take the attention away from the investigations surrounding his presidency.

Look up the definition of emergency. This isn’t one.

Margaret Thompson, Lexington