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Letters to the Editor

Shame on Tom Johnson for using ill-advised words in discussing Trump assassination attempt

Since the end of June when the United States Supreme Court handed down one defeat after another for democracy culminating in its breathtaking decision of July 1 in Donald J. Trump v. The United States in which the former president – and all future presidents – were granted absolute immunity before the law, we the people of the United States have been dealt one body blow after another.

To read, then, in our local online community news source the 41 words Tom Johnson chose to use in his Tuesday, July 15 Fair Game column to make an ill-conceived reference to the assassination attempt last Saturday of the former president by implicating the current president with innuendo is another low point for democracy. As not only a reader of this community news source, but someone who understands both the power and the responsibility inherent in the language we use, I cry, “Foul”!

I am a lifelong reader of poetry and philosophy, of politics and newspapers. The best writers know it is their duty to make their voices heard AND to leave space for their readers to learn something about who they are, about who they might aspire to be, and about what sort of world they might want to create for themselves and all the others out there in this one small world we share. But our language has grown coarse and grows coarser still because we are mimicking the worst impulses of what many have come to see as true leadership.

This is dangerous ground. We should reject it every time it is suggested to us as normal human behavior.

In the days after Saturday’s violence, David Remnick, an editor of The New Yorker, chose to remind his readers of the words Robert F. Kennedy composed and spoke before an audience of fellow Americans in April 1968 to address the assassination days before of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.:

“Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanish it with a program, nor with a resolution. But we can perhaps remember – even if only for a time – that those who live with us are our brothers (fellow citizens), that they share with us the same short movement of life, they seek – as we do – nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can. Surely this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men (and human beings), and surely, we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our hearts brothers and countrymen (fellow citizens) once again.”

Let’s be better. Let’s be kinder. Let’s get to work.

Sarah E Vogel

Laguna Beach

Red flags help pedestrians cross streets safely

I’ve just returned from a weekend in Seattle where I saw something new. At least, it was new to me. Modeled after other cities like Bridgeport, Conn. and Salt Lake City, Seattle has placed red flags in baskets on opposite sides of streets to help pedestrians cross both ways safely.

Waving my flag as I walked across a busy intersection, I couldn’t help but think about Laguna’s busy streets. Could red flags help prevent mishaps at the intersection of Forest and Ocean near City Hall? Could red flags help pedestrians cross Glenneyre at Mermaid near the library? Or, could red flags alert motorists that people were crossing PCH on their way to or from the beach?

Public safety is a key goal of city councilmembers or would-be members. Salt Lake reports each flag costs 50 cents. If you ask me, this seems like a cost-effective way to help protect pedestrians crossing Laguna’s streets safely.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

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