Let’s find the center of American politics

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Refocus our policy

Are we deeply divided or simply misrepresented? | Perspective, September 11

Professor Stephen Neely is dead. I think this country needs to seriously reassess its political parties. Genuine old-school conservative Republicans have little to do with so-called MAGA Republicans. Likewise, honest Liberal Democrats have little to do with extreme progressives who still claim affiliation with this party.

The “moderate majority” is where we need to refocus. The “radical” right and the “radical” left must form their own parties and go it alone – perhaps like the separatists and socialists? The “moderate majority” can then revamp and improve the traditional Republican and Democratic parties and move on from the ugly and unproductive partisan politics that are slowly dismantling our democracy.

As a lifelong Republican, I find very few top congressional Republicans, especially from here in Florida, speak for me or reflect the kind of leadership I can respect. Our best days await us only if we demand that the radicals and their extremist “leaders” stand alone.

Kelly Mione, Seminole

Chilled and censored

Florida’s Largest School System Blocks Declaration of LGBTQ History Month | September 9

Between the widespread removal of books and now this, schools seem to get around their “non-discrimination” policies quite easily. A few days ago, the Miami-Dade school board voted 8 to 1 against celebrating LGBTQ month or teaching two Supreme Court cases about LGBTQ rights in a 12th grade class, even though their attorney said both proposals were in line with the new law. School board members assured people that celebrations can still take place and that education about court cases can still take place, as parents can use the ‘opt out’ option for their child. Oh okay. Hidden. Frozen and censored. Wondering how that makes LGBTQ kids and families feel? And now the school board is making another decision for all students, again denying parents a choice and students an opportunity through experience. Fear and fanaticism should not rule the education of children. Voting is essential; verify the affiliations and endorsements of all applicants, particularly the school board.

Jan Dahm, gulfport

Pay teachers like the pros

The good news about the shortage of teachers and staff? We can fix it | Chronicle, September 15

Teaching is the basic profession on which all other professions depend. Many of us have been inspired by teachers or made career choices that were sparked in a classroom. Education helps to develop understanding, rationality and honesty. Effective teachers create our future. An educated society is stronger.

Unfortunately, teachers are paid less than their college-educated non-teaching counterparts. For the past 18 years, the Economic Policy Institute has monitored teacher compensation. Alarmingly, teacher salary and compensation trends have deteriorated. According to a NORC Spotlight on Education survey, only 18% of Americans would encourage a young person to become a K-12 teacher, citing low pay, a lack of resources and a stressful work environment. Teachers deserve to be paid like the professionals they are. In the interest of the future of our society, we must do the right thing for our teachers.

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Sharon Janis, Largo

The issues that matter to me

Roberts joins Supreme Court whining | Chronicle, September 13

The editorials and opinion pages of the Tampa Bay Times are highly valued by this reader. The news is often overwhelming in quantity and quality. Editorials and opinion columns invite closer examination of issues important to me. The environment, climate change, the cost of water, the school system, and this column about the Supreme Court and our political leaders all lead me to the same idea. In other words, vote for politicians who practice what they preach and who will make choices in government that you agree with. Independent newspapers are one of our most valuable resources. Thanks to the Times and the public who contributed their thoughts and opinions. Know who you are voting for.

Leigh Dallas, Lutz

Not fair and balanced

Chief Justice John Roberts defends the court’s legitimacy | September 11th

I wonder what alternate reality Chief Justice John Roberts lives in? He thinks the legitimacy of the Supreme Court should not be questioned because people disagree with the Court’s rulings. Newsflash: now that the court has been stacked with a majority of conservative-leaning judges, it is no longer balanced, the discourse within the court is necessarily biased and a fair trial, as we have already seen in the annulment of Roe v. Wade, flew out the window. This decision has already had heartbreaking, controversial and divisive unintended consequences. Today, women’s health care is at stake, depending on where we live, and that’s just the most obvious example of no justice for all. If moderate Merrick Garland’s nomination hadn’t been blocked by conservative Republicans with the slightest apology, Roe might have had a chance to stay in office. The tribunal, through its lopsided composition, is indeed a tool of political conservatives, whether Roberts disagrees or not, and anyone who leans toward the liberal is likely to be unhappy with the tribunal’s decisions. Of course, we should question the legitimacy of the Court, not because we dislike their rulings, but because consistent conservative rulings can do more harm than good to our democracy which is rooted in the fairness and balance.

Betsy Clement, Dunedin

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