Wanting to help, but not sure how
In the protests over the brutal death of George Floyd, one small but significant thing changed. I am white and was pleased to see whites walking with blacks. Several commentators on TV and Spike Lee in a Times Free Press article also noted the diversity of the protesters. It is a small step in the right direction. I was encouraged to see, for the most part, respect for the police and by the police in Chattanooga.
I am moved to do something. Marching is out because I cannot walk far, and I'm old enough to have COVID-19 concerns. Besides, marching should only be phase one of making things right. So what can I do to help?
Four hundred years of institutional racism will not be erased with one good deed. There is no checklist or manual for one white woman to effect change. But I want to do something useful. Voting is not enough. This is not a philosophical question. It is a sincere ask: What specifically can I do to help?
Purple Heart for front-line workers
In the May 31 TFP, a ranter had a wonderful idea. The writer said: "I would suggest legislation to create an award comparable to the Purple Heart for front-line coronavirus workers who died of the disease."
My question is, can we make this happen? It would be wonderful recognition to those who fought a war against coronavirus and lost their lives trying. I am a Vietnam veteran and would be proud to honor these heroes in such a way.
Let's start a movement! I would also like to thank the unknown ranter for coming up with such a great suggestion.
Panhandling is way out of control here
How about enforcing the city's law on beggars? I am sorry for them, yes. But at every freeway exit, grocery store and sidewalk of strip malls? I will not frequent an establishment that allows this. And the exit ramps and other streets? You can't even enjoy a walk downtown ... .
Redeem USA principles; oust the president
Trump proclaims himself a "war president." A real war president, a genuine leader, endeavors to unite the whole country during wartime. Trump actively seeks to divide it, to pit Americans against each other with malicious tweets, misleading "news conferences" and bizarre conspiracy theories. He has promoted selfishness and hatred instead of sacrifice and hope.
Lockdown orders to contain the pandemic elicit cries of "Our freedoms are being ripped away from us." Trump actively supports this self-centered attitude. You didn't hear such squealing during World War II when the freedom to obtain things like coal, meat and gasoline was severely curtailed to help defeat the enemy.
Many of the president's supporters emulate his most destructive and self-absorbed qualities. He gains their adulation and maintains their loyalty by vilifying Americans who disagree with him, thus distracting them from noticing the economic warfare he's been conducting against them.
This president habitually trashes the Constitution, shirks responsibility and ignores the 10 Commandments.
His maladministration is routinely enabled by a formerly honorable Republican Party which championed patriotism, accountability and Christian values.
To redeem our republic and the principles for which it stands, Trump and his sycophantic Republicans must be defeated in November.
Despite poll, we need vote by mail
Tennessee's Republican leaders have been steadfast in their refusal to allow expanded vote by mail during the pandemic. Their reasons range from concerns about potential voter fraud — I'll politely call this a "false narrative," as voter fraud related to absentee or mail-in voting has been proven repeatedly to be statistically nonexistent — to the purely political argument that the federal government shouldn't be telling states how to run elections. (Federal agencies like the FDA and OSHA exist because, as a nation, we decided that every American deserves the same level of protection of their health and safety.)
Since Gov. Bill Lee and Secretary of State Tre Hargett have a pattern of relying on specious arguments to politicize this public health issue, look for them to adopt another one — namely the recently published ETSU poll indicating that Tennesseans are more likely to oppose than support vote by mail, which has widespread support nationally.
I'm not suggesting that the poll is flawed. But it's important to note that it was taken at a time when the GOP is in the middle of a multimillion-dollar social media campaign to discredit vote by mail. In Trump country, that campaign is clearly working.
Allison Reilly Gorman
Despite coronavirus, cancer fight goes on
At the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, we know almost everyone is just one degree from cancer. For me, it was my mom, a breast cancer survivor.
Now, unfortunately, we have the coronavirus in common.
We can't forget that before this pandemic started, it was already estimated that 14,780 Tennesseans would die from cancer this year. What's worse is that we know right now because of coronavirus, some cancer patients' treatments have been postponed. I don't write this to scare anyone. I write to help honor survivors and those lost to this disease by letting everyone know we can still raise awareness about cancer issues.
One easy but meaningful way to do this is by dedicating a Lights of Hope bag to a loved one. These bags will adorn the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C., later this year.
If anyone would like to get a Lights of Hope bag for someone they love, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org. The bags also can be ordered at acscan.org/lightsofhope. Please consider joining me to make sure our leaders acknowledge and address the needs of cancer patients.
Sarah E. Roach
Poultry slaughter worse than smell
In response to the May 11 TFP report, "Worker at Pilgrim's Pride poultry plant tests positive for COVID-19":
There has been a lot of debate over the Pilgrim's Pride poultry plant in the last few years. As the Southside has grown, the main complaint heard from city residents has been its smell. In the time of COVID-19, the newspaper has raised concerns about the poultry plant's safety precautions and its concern for its workers. But for me, the stench from Pilgrim's Pride doesn't just come from the fumes emanating from its building, or the treatment of its workers; it comes from the inhumane treatment of the slaughtered animals.
With the renewed concern about the treatment of workers, it would be unethical to overlook the abusive nature of this plant's treatment of animals. Chattanooga has always prided itself on being a greener, more ecologically focused city, and our vegan community is large and organized. I hope my fellow Chattanooga residents will see that the Pilgrim's Pride poultry plant is more than just an obnoxious odor but a blight on this progressive town.
Put yourselves in police shoes
Maintaining law and order is the most important and one of the most stressful jobs in our community.
After a citizen breaks the law and responds to police with violent aggression, he has forfeited some of his rights. We have allowed such a proliferation of guns on the street that law enforcement must sustain a state of heightened vigilance. The police must enter neighborhoods where the residents turn a blind eye to the lawbreakers in their midst. Only the police have to fight fair? Put yourself in their gumshoes.