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Opinion | The Republican Attacks on Voting Rights

Opinion | The Republican Attacks on Voting Rights

To the Editor:

Re “Biden Portrays a Right to Vote as Under Siege” (front page, July 14):

The answer to President Biden’s question to the Republican lawmakers “Have you no shame?” is yes, they have no shame. Democratic politicians should not make an assumption that they are working across the aisle with a political party of integrity, one that plays by the rules, respects the norms and cares about the American people. That is not the Republican Party of today.

Republican lawmakers care not at all about democracy, only about obtaining and keeping power. And they are willing to do anything to that end. They lie to their constituents, especially promoting the “Big Lie” about election fraud in 2020. They suppress voting rights. They gerrymander to such a great extent that they negate the voices of many Democratic voters.

It is time the Democrats realize whom they are dealing with, and act accordingly. They need to be aggressive. The right to vote is what our democracy is about. There is nothing more important. There needs to be an exemption from the filibuster for voting rights.

Ellen Sussman

To the Editor:

The Senate appears unlikely to agree to even a carve-out suspension of the filibuster in order to enact voting rights legislation. And Democratic lawmakers in Republican-controlled state legislatures have few tools to prevent the passage of new voter suppression laws. Legal challenges will take years to work their way through the courts.

Democrats need to counter by committing their time and money to grass-roots state-by-state efforts to register new voters, to assist voters in obtaining proper ID and to ensure that anyone wishing to vote can get to a voting site. One need only to look at the success of Stacey Abrams’s Fair Fight in Georgia as a model to expand voter participation.

Joseph R. Ades
Irvington, N.Y.

To the Editor:

President Biden’s query to the G.O.P., “Have you no shame?,” is a textbook example of a rhetorical question.

Robert E. Lehrer

To the Editor:

Re “Delta Variant Widens Gulf Between ‘2 Americas’” (front page, July 15):

As the Delta variant races like a Western wildfire across the “red” states of the Deep South and Southwest, it becomes increasingly obvious that one man — and one man alone — is responsible for the extent of Covid’s mass casualties. That man is Donald Trump. The ex-president no doubt fancied himself too macho to wear a mask. He feared, in all his vainglory, that he would look weak.

Before long, Mr. Trump deftly politicized the wearing of masks, rallying his troops to stand up for their rights and reject them. And now, predictably, we have the politicization of lifesaving vaccinations.

Donald Trump is singularly responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of human beings, many of them his followers. He could have embraced the use of masks and his legions would have stood four-square behind him. Instead, many of these skeptics are dead. I can’t imagine the regret that someone experiences in the waning moments of life when one realizes that his or her impending death was preventable.

Opinion Conversation
Questions surrounding the Covid-19 vaccine and its rollout.

Bob Fried
Allentown, Pa.

To the Editor:

Re “Tennessee Virus Official Who Urged Shots for Teens Says She Was Forced Out” (news article, July 14):

Ninety-six years after the infamous Scopes trial, the state of Tennessee is at it again. In 1925 the state fought to keep the science of evolution from influencing children. Now the state’s top official responsible for immunizations says she was fired for encouraging teenagers to get vaccinated.

This act is a wake-up call for the nation. For a segment of the American population science is irrelevant. Clear expressions of the importance of vaccines in protecting the health of all Americans will not move them. They will respond only if compelled to vaccinate themselves and their children.

Just as we require a number of childhood vaccinations to attend public schools, we must now require Covid-19 vaccinations for teachers and all students over 12 to attend schools and college.

Sidney Weissman
The writer is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

To the Editor:

Re “Advice for Artists” (Opinion guest essay, July 9):

Viet Thanh Nguyen provides some very useful and welcome advice to students who may perceive a conflict between their dreams and what their parents have in mind for them. But it is also important to recognize that finding out what those dreams are can often take time.

Students should not feel the pressure we often impose upon them to come to college with their futures already mapped out in their minds. That is what the journey of an education is all about, especially one rooted in the liberal arts. This is best accomplished by providing students with a first-year seminar where they encounter worlds and viewpoints unknown to them, all with the goal of learning who they are and what they are meant to achieve.

During my almost three-decade teaching career, I have witnessed students come alive in such courses in ways they never imagined. Most important, the arrow goes both ways. I have seen students discover that they were meant to be not only writers and artists, but doctors, mathematicians and engineers, as a result of such courses.

And quite often it isn’t until many years later, reflecting back on what they learned, that the realization occurs. We need to make sure that everyone — not only students — understands that dreams change. The most important thing is to have them at all.

Lisa M. Dolling
Villanova, Pa.
The writer is a teaching professor of philosophy at Villanova University.

To the Editor:

Viet Thanh Nguyen gives good advice on strategies for young creatives to address the expectations of their parents. But he leaves out an important demographic: the doctors, lawyers and engineers who were not brave enough to stray or found fulfillment in their careers, but continue to harbor creative interests.

I chased my parents’ vision of the American Dream, going to Harvard and Stanford and becoming a doctor. But in that quest, I unconsciously suppressed the creative parts of myself until I rediscovered the humanities in medical school.

So maybe there is also a third path: to do both. It’s never too late to make societal contributions in our professions by day, and be storytellers and dreamers, too.

Arifeen Rahman
San Jose, Calif.
The writer is a resident in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Stanford.

To the Editor:

Re “Restaurant Shuts Down for a ‘Day of Kindness’ After Customers Make Its Staff Cry” (, July 14):

Long before I earned my Ph.D. and became a public historian, I was a bus girl at a restaurant just a few doors down from Apt Cape Cod. Pouring water and clearing plates for “rich people” taught me just as much about power, labor and class as any of my graduate school work.

But as an academic I learned that while individualized solutions — like the day of kindness for the employees of Apt Cape Cod — can help workers at one restaurant, at other places horrible bosses cause as much stress as bad customers.

Stronger protections for the most marginalized might not do anything to curb the bad behavior I’ve experienced and continue to witness from entitled summer visitors, but at the very least it will ensure that workers can earn a living wage, support their families and have a couple of days off a week to enjoy the beach.

Kimberly Probolus

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