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LETTERS

Letters to the editor: June 3, 2020

Staff Writer
Austin American-Statesman
Steve Smith holds up a sign Sunday outside of the Capitol grounds in Austin. Thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest police violence against people of color. [BRONTE WITTPENN/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]\r\r

What will we learn

from Floyd’s death?

George Floyd died from police criminal malfeasance. It is, however, a function of unaddressed racism, economic injustice and political corruption.

Structures tethered to hubris buckled under the stress of complacency. COVID-19 provided the jolt. Health systems and supply lines falter on the backs of overworked, underpaid at-risk employees. Critical infrastructure is D-.

“American Exceptionalism” shoots the messenger daring to state the obvious. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump fiddles and Tweet rants.

Taken from the Second Letter of Peter, an old spiritual warns: “God gave Noah the rainbow sign, no more water but the fire next time.” Martin Luther King Jr. observed during his 1966 CBS Mike Wallace interview: “A riot is the language of the unheard.”

Will we learn from our sins of omission and commission? Hope so.

Nationwide, angry demonstrators shout: “Let him breathe!” Let us breathe, too, cleansed by the power of sincere introspection and loving forgiveness.

Barry Zavah, Alpine

Pitts translates coded

language on race

Re: May 29 letter, “Needless race baiting poisons our discourse”

I disagree with the writer, who calls for the removal of Leonard Pitts from the Statesman’s op-ed pages on the grounds that his writing “only inflames the situation” and “unnecessarily injects invective language” when Pitts called for Sen. Mitch McConnell to use the n-word aloud when referring to President Barack Obama.

Mr. Pitts is not to blame for the invective and inflammatory language. It does not originate with him. It originates with Mr. McConnell. Those of us who have listened all our lives to powerful white men using careful, respectable language to insult and control black people can hear the hidden meaning. Mr. Pitts merely translates, breaking Mr. McConnell’s code into clear speech for those who cannot — or will not — hear it themselves.

Mr. Pitts plays a vital role in the national conversation about race, and he continues to deserve publication in the Statesman.

Rachel Keeney, Austin

Actually, some people

need health reminders

Re: May 31 letter, “We don’t need officials telling us to wash up”

The writer does not want or need the government or anyone else to inform him — or, apparently, anyone else — of basic hygiene and personal responsibility. Unfortunately, not every American is as well-informed as he. Most people know that you should not look directly at a solar eclipse. But some don't. Most Americans know that if you are going to cheat on your wife with a porn star, you should use a condom. Some do not know that. Most people know that ingesting bleach would not be a good idea. But some people suggest it could prevent a deadly disease.

Maybe some day all humans will have the same degree of intelligence and capacity for understanding. Until then, a handful of bad apples will continue to ruin things for the rest of us.

Steven Medlock, Austin

Why not give people

the vote-by-mail option?

There’s been lots in the press and media lately about voting by mail. I am well over 65 and did this recently. It is very easy and customer-friendly.

The Republicans, led by the president and our Texas Attorney General, have said that it is a source of fraud, but have supplied little to no evidence of this.

Voting by mail has been used for some time by U.S. citizens overseas, including our military and diplomatic staffs, and by five states. I am unaware of any problems with this. But why am I not surprised that the Republicans adamantly oppose voting by mail, just like they do with a number of other important issues supported by a majority of U.S. citizens, like reasonable gun controls.

Why not let our citizens make their own decision on whether they feel safe going to vote in this dangerous time of the coronavirus?

Al Giles, Austin