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Issues must be addressed

By Staff | Aug 5, 2020

To the editor:

The following is an open letter to senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott:

On behalf of the 448 members of Pine Island ROAR (Rise Up, Organize, Advocate, Reform), a local grassroots advocacy organization in Pine Island and Cape Coral, we would like to make a statement regarding many important issues that are not receiving enough support or attention.

On the issue of police brutality, there are two proposed pieces of legislation before Congress. The House version is stronger than the Senate version, although both fall short of what is needed. It is apparent that we must legislate what should be obvious — that police cannot kill unarmed men and women in their custody or control by any means, and that their qualified immunity should not shield them from consequences. The militarization of our police force must end; police are not trained soldiers, military weaponry are excessive for law enforcement, and our streets are not their war zone. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that US police kill up to 10 times more people per million of population than any other nation (figures for N. Korea not available).

Another major issue lacking national leadership is the pandemic. It is now estimated that as many Americans could die year this year from COVID-19 than all American soldiers died in the whole of World War II. The United States has the worst pandemic response of any industrialized nation and no national effort to improve it. It is the responsibility of the government to protect the citizens of the United States. Our government must develop and implement a nationwide policy based on science and the successful experience of other nations in fighting this pandemic.

Systemic racism must be addressed. Defending Confederate Military Base names, memorials, and statues must end, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. Correcting the injustice of old laws must be examined. For example, after World War II, housing developments in new suburbs were created for returning soldiers, and housed the Baby Boom generation. Written into the deeds were the restriction that these homes could not be sold or resold to “Negroes,” effectively shutting out minorities from building equity wealth and stability for generations. There are many other examples of mid twentieth century laws creating disparity in credit lending, school admissions, job opportunity, union admission, and wage gaps that have deliberately resulted in black families being prohibited from building wealth; currently the average black family has less than 10% of the wealth as the average white family. These inequities must be corrected. Our very foundational principles of freedom and equality demand it.

While the United States seems to flounder hopelessly on the world stage due to these issues and myriad others, led by an administration known more for threats and insults than negotiation and diplomacy, our elected representatives seem to stand by helpless and ineffective.

Our nation deserves to reach its potential as a place of freedom, equality, prosperity, and peace.

Susan McGuire,

on behalf of the 448 members of Pine Island ROAR