Letters to the Editor

Letters: Racism is a threat to democracy; No faith in AG after response to Spanier ruling

Racism is a threat to democracy

Stacey Abrams is the black woman who lost the tainted Georgia governor race last year to a white man who, as secretary of state, was also supervising the election. Explaining recently why she started Fair Fight Action, an organization against suppression of voting by blacks and other citizens, Abrams wrote: ”Facing an existential crisis of democracy, Americans cannot resign ourselves to disenfranchisement and dismay. We must find hope in the energy of voters. ... We shall not rest until this democracy is fully realized.”

I happened to be reading a book called “Frederick Douglass’ Civil War — Keeping Faith in Jubilee,” and I was struck by the continuity of the message of these two black leaders so far apart in time.

The author, David W. Blight , wrote that in the decade before the Civil War the great former fugitive slave, turned publisher of a crusading antislavery newspaper in Rochester, NY, performed “the duty of hope.” It was a bleak landscape Douglass viewed, including the cruel Fugitive Slave Act, the Kansas-Nebraska Act opening slavery to the territories, and the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision stating that blacks could not be United States citizens — that blacks were “so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”

Douglas wrote: “We should not as an oppressed people grow despondent...”

In 2013, castrating the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority declared, “Our country has changed.”

Hope? Yes. The threat of racism to democracy is real.

John N. Rippey, Zion

No faith in AG after response to Spanier ruling

The status of children as the most vulnerable members of our society creates opportunities for unscrupulous individuals to advance their own interests, at the expense of others, under color of protecting children. Nineteenth century cartoonist Thomas Nast’s “The American River Ganges” depicted crocodiles with bishops’ miters for heads menacing American schoolchildren. Attorney General Josh Shapiro tweeted on April 26, “Their swift actions after the Notre Dame fire show us that ‘some things in the past’ have value to them.” The context of “their” and “them” is not just the abusive priests and their enablers that Shapiro cited, but the entire Catholic Church.

Scott Harshbarger ran for Governor of Massachusetts, and fortunately lost, after winning child sexual abuse convictions against the Amiraults under highly questionable circumstances. The office of Dade County State Attorney Janet Reno (later Attorney General of the United States) won a child molestation conviction against Grant Snowden, a questionable verdict that was later overturned. Josh Shapiro is now appealing, under color of protecting children, a federal court’s dismissal of the charges against Graham Spanier. The fact that a federal judge had to step in to enforce the Constitutional prohibition against ex post facto prosecution does not inspire faith in Pennsylvania’s judicial system, and Shapiro’s response undermines that faith even further.

There is plenty of time for Pennsylvania Democrats to remove Shapiro in the 2020 primary, and the Republicans to put up a strong candidate to unseat him. Both actions need to be pursued vigorously.

Bill Levinson, Wilkes Barre
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