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Space for free speech

EDITOR: Racial tensions in the U.S. have taken a troubling turn for the worse with recent events in Charlottesville,Virginia causing rising tensions throughout the country.

Freedom of speech is a principle lost on rioters armed with clubs and wearing ramshackle armor as they work to silence ideas they find offensive. White supremacism is a disgusting ideology, but the answer to this loathsome worldview isn’t found at the end of a bat but at the beginning of the Bill of Rights.

Gaye LeBaron’s Sunday column (“A ‘coming of age’ in Sonoma County’s political history”) recalls an event where Santa Rosa’s local government took the brave step of allowing Nazis into the public forum by preparing a safe environment in which two diametrically opposed groups could hash out their differences without the risk of projectiles and teargas.

The American principle of free speech for all made it possible for nonviolent discourse to occur in Santa Rosa, so why can’t such communication occur in Charlottesville? Creating environments at rallies where free speech is safe will prevent needless deaths like that of Heather Heyer and allow Americans a chance to voice opposition peacefully and effectively.

SAMUEL TOBACK

Waco, Texas

Feeling satisfied

EDITOR: I’m not going to call it whining and pouting, but I wouldn’t let my kids display the behavior that I witness in some letters to the editor. Let us instead call it dissatisfied.

The best way to act upon dissatisfaction is at the ballot box, which is what people did during the eight horrible years of Barack Obama’s presidency. More than 100 seats in Congress and state capitols nationwide flipped to Republican control, topped off, thankfully, by the election of President Donald Trump.

I could cite many reasons for this, but what sums it up best is most people don’t like politicians telling them what’s best for them. My biggest concern is our debt, which under Obama`s watch was run up as much as it was under all presidents before him combined.

Anemic GDP growth made it worse. Why was it anemic? Government, led by Obama, placed too many barriers on business.

I’m not letting Republicans off the hook. They need to work with the president to address these problems because we know the Democrats have gone off the deep end. But, for now, because the king and queen of the swamp (Obama and Hillary Clinton) are gone, I find myself singing a great song from the band Boston, “I’m feeling satisfied.”

T.K. McDONALD

Cotati

Take note of history

EDITOR: When I picked up my newspaper on Monday, I anticipated seeing on the front page a memorial of some sort reminding us of the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. I was dismayed to see only a small mention under today in history. Our newspapers can either unite or divide us by the information shared with the public. Help unite us by sharing in the history that brings us together, especially as we remember the signing of our Constitution 230 years ago Sunday.

DEBBIE LeBOY

Rohnert Park

Pyramid builders

EDITOR: Everyone seems to assume that Egypt used slave labor to build the pyramids. Why? Because Herodotus, the Greek historian, said so. Because we would. Surprise, surprise. Herodotus assumed Egypt used mass slavery because Greece did. Well, didn’t everybody? Actually, no. Not quite. Not Egypt.

Herodotus must have had a rotten tour guide. Egypt would never allow slaves near the nearly sacred astronomical observatories, the pyramids, from which they studied the procession of the equinoxes; not even had they used mass slavery, which they did not, just individual slaves, like war prisoners.

Never heard of the precession? Never mind. Neither have most Americans, including the hide-bound Egyptologists who actually believed that everyone before 2000 B.C. were hunter-gathers living in caves. They don’t know that most astronomy, math, pi, solid geometry, the zodiac and most science were given to Greece and Persia by Egypt. Or more likely the brilliant civilization that clearly proceeded it.

If you don’t believe any of this, join the lads who don’t believe gin lobal warming.

SALLY WATSON

Santa Rosa

MacArthur and Korea

EDITOR: As a member of the Marine Corps near the end of the Korean conflict, I remember Gen. Douglas MacArthur making a speech when he included and stressed the phrase “there is no substitute for victory.” Apparently President Harry Truman didn’t appreciate that statement, so he fired MacArthur.

During this uncertainty of leadership, China was emboldened and sent an estimated half-million troops across the Yalu River to engage American troops, and the progress ground to a halt. Truman worked for a quasi-armistice with a demilitarized zone separating the two countries. He was unsuccessful in completing the negotiations and the final agreement was signed six months later by President Dwight Eisenhower.

Many of us still believe that if MacArthur would have been left in charge there would not be a North Korea.

KENNETH LARSEN

Calistoga