TODAY'S PAPER
Good Morning
Good Morning
OpinionLetters

Needed: Unity, peace and compassion

Demonstrators stage a protest near the Saint John

Demonstrators stage a protest near the Saint John Paul II National Shrine, where President Donald Trump planned a visit, in response to the death of George Floyd while under police custody on Tuesday in Washington, DC. Credit: Getty Images/Alex Wong

Monday night, the president had peaceful protesters tear-gassed and fired upon with rubber bullets so he could hold a Bible for a photo op by a church [“Trump threatens to deploy the National Guard,” News, June 2].

The ones looting are in the minority and they are opportunists taking advantage of the cover of the protests. Governors, mayors and local police have to deal with those factions. The president should not be a human flamethrower. His words should be ones of unity, peace, compassion and understanding. He should not be suggesting that our military should be firing upon other American citizens.

President Donald Trump should respect dissenting voices and peaceful protesters. He should stand up to systemic racism and encourage the media to do its job. And he should call for calm rather than tell local governments to “dominate the streets.”

Trump is not a Republican. He, like the looters, is an opportunist. He always has been. As New Yorkers, we have seen firsthand the way he has used his power and financial advantages to undermine ordinary citizens. He is not a different person because you gave him a new title. It’s time to disavow this man. It’s time for this to end.

David Shaw,

Valley Stream

I am a deeply troubled 75-year-old white guy. My heart is weighed down by yet another deadly example of racial intolerance in our country. I do not condone violence and looting, but I would be lying to say I don’t understand it. Desperate people do destructive things. What was the Boston Tea Party all about? In our history books they are heroes. What is so different? We are the British in this case. Let us not focus solely on the violence and looting. It is a convenient distraction from meaningful discourse about long-standing, pervasive racial discrimination in America.

Regardless of ethnicity, religion, social class, gender and any other differences there may be between us, I see us all as equal. What makes me better than you? Absolutely nothing. My inspiration and guidance is from Jesus. He provides a powerful “how to” book for all of us, Christian or not. It is especially painful to me that, while we are overwhelmingly Christian in America, we have rejected His teachings and maybe even twisted them to justify discrimination. What is wrong with us? How do we speak to Jesus and request his favor while at the same time we discard His words?

Over my 75-year life, I have seen many lows and also some highs in the quest for equality for all people. As a young man in the 1960s, I thought that we were on a steady path toward equality for all. Yet in 2020, we have not fixed the fundamental moral flaw in our country: ingrained prejudice against those who are different from ourselves.

I ask all well-meaning Americans to stand up and be counted in condemning discrimination of all types, and especially at this crucial time in condemning racial discrimination against people of African descent.

Rich Morante,

Yaphank

It’s encouraging to see law enforcement taking a knee in peaceful support of protesters [“Cuomo, de Blasio announce city curfew,” News, June 2]. Is the world finally getting Colin Kaepernick’s message? NFL players should take advantage of this mood and protest similarly in support of a movement he started. The NFL didn’t kill him, but it did kill his career.

Steve Birkeland,

Bayport

It’s not just black lives that matter, it’s black futures. We, the people, need to invest in black futures. In America, white futures are taken for granted. Whenever we have seen people of color “make it,” many never assume that the cards were in their favor so we question their background, their adversity, the odds they beat to get where they are. Then we congratulate ourselves for bringing their stories to light and thinking we’re not racist. This is so ingrained in our American mindset that we fail to see how wrong we’ve been. We get offended when black acquaintances, co-workers and friends who we call family feel betrayed. Our hearts break at “them” seeing “us” in “that way,” because it’s not what’s in our hearts, but it’s been in our minds whether we realize it or not. That’s when it hit me.

The way people of color are seen is the burden they carry every day. I say it’s time to share the burden and see ourselves for what we’ve collectively perpetuated even if it’s just staying static in the way we think. It’s time that our mindsets match what’s in our hearts.

Laura Rothenberg,

Rockaway

I realize that the majority of police officers are “good guys,” as my heart bleeds from the racial injustice in this country and its long history of ugliness and disparity.

Diane McGuire,

Northport

Only state, school boards hold power

A recent letter, “Cut town’s school budget before vote” [May 29], was inaccurate as the Oyster Bay Town board has no jurisdiction over school budgets, school spending or school taxes. In fact, only state government and school board members have such power.

When it comes to the Town of Oyster Bay’s budget, residents should know that the town board cut spending, reduced the workforce, cut debt, and returned $4 million to homeowners through a property tax cut. While this helps, town government only accounts for 13% of the property tax bill, while school spending accounts for 67%, and other levels of government make up the remaining 20%.

Joseph Saladino,

Massapequa

Editor’s note: The writer is Oyster Bay Town supervisor.

Columns