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True heroes' statues can replace old ones

President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of

President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Rep. John Lewis during a White House ceremony on Feb. 15, 2011. Lewis died Friday after a long battle against cancer. Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster

Why is there such angst over taking down statues of Confederate generals and politicians? Because they were true heroes for their cause? Because they are a part of the country’s history? Because they had a huge impact on our country? Can’t the same be said for Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Osama bin Laden? And yet there are strikingly few proponents for erecting statues to those notables in their countries. Why not? They fought against us. They were antithetical to our documented values. In fact, they lacked only one commonality with the Confederate “heroes.” They were not traitors. What if we take down the statues that lionize our fallen traitors and erect statues of real American heroes: the late Rep. John Lewis, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington and Sojourner Truth, to name a few.

Thank you, John Lewis [“Indomitable icon of justice,” News, July 19].

Frank DeRosalia,

Port Jefferson Station

Europe’s taxes cover more than ours

Perhaps letter writer John McKeown should do the math, as my parents once did [“Forget ‘free’ tuition — I’ll pay for college,” July 20]. Relatives from Europe were visiting while I was in college and were shocked that if my father lost his job, I would have to drop out of college. Since the families had similar incomes, they grabbed a calculator. The Europeans paid their taxes and were then done paying. My parents paid their taxes, then paid for college, then paid for medical, then paid for a car (many Europeans don’t own cars because public transit is excellent), and then paid for other things that the relatives got for free. Total family outgo was about the same, regardless of whether it was for taxes or direct expenses. I paid my student loan, plus interest, for 20 years. McKeown would likely be paying far less being “taxed every year of my 40-year career” because of the number of people who would be taxed for it but don’t go to college.

Karen Meyer Campbell,

Copiague

Lindbergh Blvd. should be renamed

As the nation comes to grips with ugly racist attributes of some icons of the past, Long Islanders should consider renaming Lindbergh Boulevard in Uniondale [“Reconsidering controversial statues,” Letters, June 28]. Charles Lindbergh, of course, was lionized for his solo flight across the Atlantic, but he was an anti-Semite, a supporter of the Nazis and a fascist. Every time I drive on the artery that honors his name, I think of how his racism, pro-Hitler sympathies and America-first isolationist policies, to me, helped delay our support for those brutalized by the Nazis, extended the war and contributed to the loss of lives in Europe.

Sanford Krieger,

Port Washington

Stop playing politics with COVID-19

We were caught flat-footed by COVID-19, as was almost every country. A few U.S. states took the brunt of it and people stayed home, socially distanced and wore masks, finally bringing the spread under control. There was a glimmer of hope, but now, thanks to people refusing to wear masks, reopening too early and protesting en masse, that hope has faded [“Rift as virus cases surge,” News, June 29]. We must stop playing politics. Republicans, starting with the president, must urge their constituents to take this pandemic seriously, and Democrats have to stop pretending that it’s safe for demonstrators to gather by the thousands in the streets. Nothing in the Constitution defends citizens’ rights to endanger others, and no cause, no matter how just, indemnifies protesters from infection.

Gary Taustine,

Manhattan

State must repeal ‘Walking While Trans’

Imagine a world where your existence is a crime punishable by death, where walking to the grocery store is a perilous task and standing on a street is considered loitering and reason to be targeted by police.

For many transgender women, this is a reality faced every day. It is not uncommon to hear news stories of trans women, especially women of color, who are harassed or murdered. The Walking While Trans law in New York relies on police use of profiling and allows officers to question and arrest anyone who is just merely standing on a street.

Walking While Trans must be repealed immediately as a part of the ‘Say Their Name’ reform package. The State Senate and Assembly must bring this repeal to the floor for a vote and pass it thus granting trans women the protection from law enforcement they rightfully deserve.

We must not allow another trans woman’s name to be added to the ugly statistics of hate crimes and murders. The time to act is now and stop these murders from occurring and that power is in the hands of our state lawmakers. Everyone should be equal in the eyes of the law, but unfortunately this remains untrue in today’s world; one giant step toward achieving this equality, safety and fairness is through repealing the Walking While Trans law. Act now and save lives.

David Kilmnick

Hauppauge

Editor’s note: The writer is president and chief executive of the LGBT Network.

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