Letters, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Jan. 14 letters to the editor

The 40th anniversary of MLK Jr. Day

As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 15, we once again honor the many contributions of Dr. King in the journey toward ending racial discrimination in this country.

Among Dr. King’s many significant accomplishments was his work in promoting the passage of the Civil Rights Act, which brought the people of the United States closer to equal justice.

Dr. King, a champion of nonviolent activism, helped to organize the March on Washington in 1963. He inspired that peaceful gathering of 250,000 people with his historic “I Have a Dream” speech, providing a major impetus for Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act the next year. This act was a “second emancipation,” according to Dr. King.

Sixty years ago, on June 19, 1964, the Civil Rights Act was passed, after having been stalled for 114 days in the Senate by segregationist lawmakers. The new law, signed by President Lyndon Johnson, prohibited several practices that were legal at that time, including racial discrimination in education and employment, as well as outlawing racially segregated schools, buses and swimming pools. The Civil Rights Act also paved the way for two major follow-up laws, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Law of 1968.

Martin Luther King Jr. — Time Magazine’s 1964 Man of the Year — was in jail the week that the Civil Rights bill was passed by the Senate. He had been arrested after he peaceably attempted to dine at a local restaurant that refused to serve people of color. Dr. King did, however, attend the bill’s signing two weeks later.

Despite 60 years passing, the Civil Rights Act has not been perfectly fulfilled. As we commemorate Dr. King and his work, we are reminded that there is still much to be done. We, the people, must stay dedicated to achieving the goals of this very important and historic act.

Susan Brown
Community Coalition for Social Justice

MCHS thankful for community donations

The Monongalia County Humane Society is incredibly proud that we have a community of passionate donors. MCHS would like to thank the citizens who faithfully donated pet food in our collection barrels that were placed at Giant Eagle (Green Bag Road and University Town Centre), Kroger (Patteson Drive and Sabraton) and Price Cutter located within Pierpont Centre from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, 2023, for the holiday season.

Through your compassion, generosity and love for the animals, 2,344 pounds of dry food, 798 cans of wet food and numerous treats were distributed among the pantries at Canyon Presbyterian Church, Catholic Charities, Christian Help, Clay-Battelle Area Family Services, Covenant Evangelical Methodist Church, Rock Forge Presbyterian Church, Salvation Army, Scott’s Run Settlement House, St. Ursula’s Food Pantry and Wadestown Food Pantry.

Your pet food donations truly make a life-changing difference for those animals and families in our community. Thank you for opening your heart to the dogs and cats and the people who love them.

We hope you have a wonderful new near, and we look forward to sharing the next one with you and your pets.

Heather Rogers
Monongalia County Humane Society

Turn the page on election misinformation

Distraction, misinformation, and empty promises just continue to get worse. Although it could be said that this happens on both sides of the political aisle, Republicans seem to be endorsing these practices more daily. Immigration is their current ploy, as evidenced by their recent show on the southern border — all to get your vote. They will say anything they believe you want to hear. To them, facts do not matter nor does the truth or the oath they took. Compromise is a dirty word unless it benefits them.

Immigration has been an ongoing issue for years, and both sides have used this as a campaign ploy. Trump promised a wall would solve the problem. It was a necessity to curb entry into the U.S. by those seeking a new life. Republicans promised only they could deliver a revised immigration policy. Little happened, even when they controlled both houses of Congress.

Everyone blames President Biden for no progress on immigration. He proposed the U.S. Citizenship Act and has made changes that eliminate the punitive, inhumane enforcement system then in place. Two Congresswomen, one Democrat and one Republican (a shockingly bipartisan effort in the House) submitted the Dignity Bill. There has been no action on either bill. To me, Congress is the problem, and we keep reelecting these people.

We will have a chance for change in 2024. It is time to learn the facts and elect individuals who care about the people they serve and not their next vote. We need people with courage and a backbone to stand up to bullies and not bow down to a cult leader. We need to stop listening to talk show hosts, political podcasters and following social media with political agendas. Let’s turn the page on misinformation and do the research to determine the truth and base our next vote on those facts. Then, we may see real progress on immigration and other issues.

Mary Ann Liberatore

What makes a great leader and what doesn’t

When considering great leaders, names like Washington, Lincoln, Churchill, Gandhi and King might come to mind, exemplifying courage, determination and vision. Despite their imperfections, they shared a vision similar to that expressed in the preamble to the Constitution, one seeking “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice … secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and our Posterity …”

Lincoln, in his address on the Gettysburg battlefield, echoed those ideals envisioning “a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Lincoln left us with hopes, often repeated, that “… these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

In stark contrast, some of today’s “leaders” have divergent notions of greatness: praising Putin as a real “genius” so “savvy” for his Ukraine invasion; Xi, as “fierce” and “very smart;” Un, as “very open and terrific.” Some of our contemporary political “leaders” describe their opponents as “vermin” who pose a greater threat to the U.S. than Russia, China and North Korea.

But, these perspectives undermine the very foundations of our democracy and its Constitution and offer the potential replacement of the rule of law with individual whim and demagoguery.

A disconcerting example comes from Hungary’s Orban, dubbed as “the man who can save the Western world,” and his party’s actions to seize control of the electoral process and media. These maneuvers serve as a concerning blueprint for autocrats seeking to undermine U.S. democratic institutions.

The task that lies before us requires increased devotion from all of us so that, as Lincoln hoped, this democracy “shall not perish from the earth.”

Tom Wilson