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Old South vs. New South

EDITOR: Sen. Ted Cruz is correct when he asserts that Democrats started the Ku Klux Klan. Other Republicans have pointed out that Democrats sided with the South in the Civil War, defending slavery. For a century, the “solid South” promoted and defended Jim Crow and segregation. That is history.

What Cruz, Jeff Bust (“I’m a deplorable and glad I voted for Trump,” Feb. 9) and others ignore is that those attitudes in the South have been part of Republican doctrine for more than half a century. That party fought modern integration, affirmative action, Martin Luther King and the Voting Rights Act. Richard Nixon embraced those attitudes as the Republican candidate for president in 1968. He won the election with this “Southern strategy.” The current “solid South” is Republican.

Two thousand years ago, Saul of Tarsus began his political career hunting the followers of Jesus. But Christians don’t hate him for that. He is honored for who he became — St. Paul, the organizational genius of Christianity. You should be known for who you become, not who you were. I’d bet that most of today’s Klan members are Republicans.

PHIL WEIL

Santa Rosa

An injustice

EDITOR: I just read Saturday’s article about Rosa Ortega receiving eight years in a Texas prison for voting illegally. Really? Brought here as an infant. Pays taxes, owns property. Could die for her country in the military. But voting by mistake gets her eight years in prison?

The Texas attorney general has absolutely no sense of justice. Kill someone while driving drunk and serve six years. Cast one ballot out of 130 million and you get eight years and deportation. Her four kids don’t matter just as long as he can carve another notch in his desk.

What happened to logical deduction? Should she be penalized? Yes. But this non-caring, one-sided justice shows just how short we are on properly educated, ethical and moral politicians. As long as their life is going along OK, why spend time looking at anyone else’s situation. This is not justice. It’s lazy, self-righteous political grandstanding.

JOHN SKINNER

Fort Bragg

President’s reading

EDITOR: So the boy president says there was no news coverage of terrorist attacks (“White House terrorism list is fake news,” Editorial, Sunday). My question is this: Does he ever read a newspaper?

JODY WILSON

Healdsburg

No on Measure A

EDITOR: Sonoma County once again wants to fix its roads and pensions with a general tax instead of addressing its budget issues. In this case, it is a cannabis business tax on the March 7 special election ballot.

The county wants up to 10 percent on gross receipts or $38 per square foot from growers in addition to the sales tax from consumers. If we allow this tax, it won’t be long before vineyards and farms are unfairly taxed.

We want the cannabis business to thrive and come out of the shadows to benefit the county, but not this way. The tax should only be used for the administration of licenses and enforcement. I’m voting no on Measure A.

DOUG WILLIAMS

Sebastopol

Civil discourse

EDITOR: I’m distressed by the polarization and nastiness of the national discourse. Can’t we have a reasonable discussion without resorting to calling the president an idiot or crazy or insane? Let’s talk about the issues and not the person and have a conversation about the potential consequences, both positive and negative, of any presidential action. Let’s really listen to one another.

By the way, I voted for Hillary Clinton. I realized the morning after the election that there was a big part of the population with whom I was completely out of touch. I’m trying to put myself in their shoes — by thinking more and reacting less. I’m trying to understand this from their viewpoint.

I also know that there were many people who were just as dismayed by the election of Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 as I am by that of Donald Trump. However, we need to go beyond feelings and reactivity and think about what we say and how we say it. Is it helping anything to be negative and resort to name-calling? Does it change anything?

I believe it’s important to respect the office of the presidency, even if one doesn’t respect the person in it.

KAREN KRESTENSEN

Santa Rosa

Assessing terrorism

EDITOR: Thank God for Leonard Pitts. His Sunday column outlines the pattern of white terrorism and how it is dismissed and minimized by people claiming to be anti-terrorist (“White terrorism not as bad as Muslim terrorism?”).

We must continually ask ourselves, who is included? Does anti-terrorist include white nationalist terrorism? Does pro-rights include the rights of women, immigrants, people of color, gender varieties and the disabled? Does pro-gun include the right of people of color to defend themselves? Does pro-life include starving people, orphans, refugees and gun victims? Usually not.

For those of us raised in a privileged skin color, I highly recommend “Post Traumatic Slavery Syndrome” by Joy DeGruy, and “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander as great reality checks. It is to everyone’s benefit to work for connection and inclusion.

BRIAHN KELLY-BRENNAN

Sebastopol

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