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Letters To The Editor 2/11/2019

February 11, 2019
YOUR OPINION

Priceless contributions

Editor: Kudos to Glynis Johns and Sandra Burgette Miller for their outstanding contributions to Black History Month.

Johns’ Black Scranton Project tells the story of African-Americans in our city during the 19th and 20th centuries. I was saddened, but not surprised, to hear about rampant discrimination in housing and employment that continued into the 20th century. Blacks were forced to live in miserable conditions downtown and the only jobs they could find were menial and paid poorly.

On the bright side, I learned about George W. Brown and his wife, Louise, who started the largest trucking company in eastern Pennsylvania in 1882. There was Lincoln Tillman, Scranton’s first black firefighter, who saved countless lives in his 52-year career. George Jones became Scranton’s first black mail carrier in 1894 when few blacks could read and write.

These are stories Johns shares with her audience. If not for her efforts, this part of our history would have been lost.

When Sandra Burgette Miller asked relatives about her family’s history, she was told, “We come from Waverly.” Not satisfied with that, she began a research project and discovered that in 1848 her great great-grandfather, Thomas Burgette, fled the south and rode the Underground Railroad until he reached the safety of Waverly. Burgette was one of several slaves that residents of Waverly welcomed. Miller was so moved by her ancestor’s bravery that she wrote a book, “Tell’ em,” to inspire other African Americans. She later turned her book into a play, “Tell’ em, One Man’s Struggle from Slavery to Waverly, PA.”

Johns and Miller have made a major contribution to Scranton’s historical record. They are truly passionate about the history of African-Americans in Northeast Pennsylvania and share their findings so we can all learn from the past.

JOAN HODOWANITZ

SCRANTON

GOP radically extreme

Editor: The extremism, nationalism and isolationism that have taken over the Republican Party in the name of patriotism undermine the cornerstones of our democracy, our institutions and the rule of law.

It jeopardize our nation’s future. On the international stage we are in danger of becoming a first-world power with a third-world morality and our allies already say they can no longer depend on us. On the political front our pundits tell us that we could face a constitutional crisis within the next two years.

Even on the economic front economists tell us that our short-term economic gains that have been achieved with deregulation and tax cuts indicate that the next recession, which will happen eventually, could be worse than the 2008 downturn.

The Republican Party needs to shed its extremist elements and bring itself and the country back to the political center. Failure to do that already has driven long-term members like myself and several friends to leave the party. It will, in the future, become a party on the periphery. Worse yet, failure to change may irreparably damage our democracy.

RALPH T. ALLEN

SCOTT TWP.

 

High-level security threat

Editor: As a former Navy enlisted man and an officer I am concerned with the threat to national security President Trump poses.

His attacks on our intelligence agencies and cozy relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin are un-American.

Recently, Trump dismissed the input of his intelligence chiefs about the threats posed by Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and the Islamic State terrorist group. Trump continues to question the assessment of our intelligence agencies that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. Trump started an ongoing trade war with China, which adversely impacts the global and U.S. economies.

He erroneously believes North Korea is not a nuclear threat to the United States. He wants to pull our military out of Syria, which would allow ISIS to reconstitute itself and allow Turkey to attack our allies, the Kurds.

According to Rex Tillerson, former secretary of state, Trump doesn’t like to read. According to John Kelly, Trump’s former chief of staff, Trump shows impulsive decision making. According to White House sources, it is difficult for Trump to comprehend and process complex information, such as intelligence reports and military scenarios. He does not concentrate well on matters. He is a threat to our national security and should be voted out of office.

DONALD MOSKOWITZ

LONDONDERRY,

NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

Room for improvement

Editor: I believe that the new “Democratic socialist” members of Congress have their hearts and souls in the right place, but not their heads and minds.

Like them, I believe that our federal government should do more and spend more to help make the lives of our citizens better, just like our traditional allies do. However, there has never been a truly “socialist” economy that was able to produce enough wealth to meet the basic survival needs of its citizens. It never has worked. So, it is foolish to call yourself a socialist. It just gives conservatives a new insult and put-down to try to make you look bad.

A lot has been said about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal to tax the yearly-income of those earning more than $10 million per year at 70 percent. We need to start taxing total wealth because that’s where we can get enough revenue to pass a Canadian-style national health insurance program to cover and greatly help most Americans. That’s where we can get the revenue to declare a “war on cancer” and spend enough to find cures for all forms and kinds of cancer.

It is possible that we might have a much more equal and truly “socialist” society one day. But we will have to evolve and transform spiritually, emotionally and mentally into much more loving, caring and compassionate people before we are ready for that. Right now, we are simply too individualistic, too selfish, too self-centered and too self-absorbed for it to work.

As the philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin observed, humankind is currently at the spiritual, emotional, and mental level of a 12 year-old child. I include myself because I make mistakes and I fall short of being the kind of person who I can be and should be.

STEWART B. EPSTEIN

ROCHESTER, NEW YORK

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