Democratic socialism unfairly maligned


Marc Thiessen’s editorial Feb. 28 excoriates Sen. Bernie Sanders as an embracer of communist tyrants, warning us against putting him in the White House (“A Cold War, a Miracle on Ice, and now a meltdown”).


Sanders is a democratic socialist. Since the 1950s’ witch hunts of McCarthyism, this country has been phobic about anything that contains the word “socialism.” To quote Wikipedia, “Democratic socialism is defined as having a socialist economy in which the means of productive work is socially and collectively owned or controlled, alongside a democratic political system of government. Democratic socialism rejects self-described socialist states just as it rejects Marxism/Leninism.”


This country is currently a mixture of capitalism and democratic socialism. Medicare, Medicaid, public education, public welfare, the military, public safety, the prison system, food and drug operations, water safety and many other tax-funded programs are socialism.


Do we want to privatize these activities into privately owned programs? I find that idea terrifying.


Sanders rightly gave credit to Cuba for its public education system and Americans went to Cuba for health care. Why not? It seems guilt by association is again rearing its ugly head.


Mira Frederick, Sarasota


Accord in Afghanistan belonged on front page


"US, Taliban sign accord to end Afghanistan War": This headline appeared on A6 in the Sunday edition of the Herald-Tribune. This historic development has eluded us for 19 years. One of President Donald Trump's campaign promises was to end these endless wars and bring our troops home.


Rather than acknowledge this successful endeavor with a front-page headline (as would have been the case if Barack Obama were still president), this monumental story was relegated to an inner page. No surprise — just another example of media bias!


Bill Millner, Venice


GOP fundraiser shows arrogance of power


I wish to thank Vice President Mike Pence for his gracious visit to Longboat Key on Friday. Instead of tending to the people’s business, and working hard to oversee the efforts to contain the coronavirus (a responsibility he had held but for one day), he chose instead to attend a GOP fundraiser on Longboat Key.


Truly someone who recognizes how important appearances are to a population that is looking for leadership and reassurance.


I wish to also thank U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan for selflessly hosting a fundraiser, causing significant disruption to the lives of his fellow Longboat Keyers and the business interests on our key. It is they who faced the fallout from closing down Gulf of Mexico Drive, only so that Buchanan could indulge the interests of his fellow oligarchs and his own sense of self-importance.


Such is the arrogance of power and indifference to the welfare of those whom they represent.


Lawrence Sank, Longboat Key


Rely on professionals during health crisis


Coronavirus will keep spreading, whether or not we like to think that. It may reach epidemic proportions in the United States, or it may not.


The U.S. government has a Public Health Service, overseen by the surgeon general. The public health clinics are all over the country, serving both rural and urban areas.


These clinics, manned by doctors, nurses and health educators, should be given untold resources so they can educate Americans about the effects and realities of this virus and conduct triage.


Politicians do not understand viruses and viruses are not political. Doctors, nurses and health educators understand viruses. They understand what America must do now. We need to use our public health professionals to keep our country on track.


The American people need facts and services, not gossip, rumor or political tricks. The surgeon general has a duty to see that the job gets done.


Nancy R. Wilson, Sarasota


Foes using virus against president


Is COVID-19 a health threat? Of course it is. But it’s not as great a threat as the H1N1 flu was in 2009.


Millions of Americans were infected by this flu and more than 1,000 were reported dead before President Barack Obama declared an emergency. It took six months for him to respond.


President Donald Trump responded to the coronavirus immediately.


All media (including this newspaper) and Democratic leaders have weaponized coronavirus stories. Did the Herald-Tribune print a front-page story about the first death from H1N1? I think not.


Sharon C. Smith, Venice


Give up handshake for less germy greeting


Handshaking is an ancient custom going back to the fifth century B.C. in Greece. But in this era of coronavirus threat, it makes sense to stop gratuitous handshaking.


I suggest acknowledging a person by making a snappy small circle in the air with the right hand at face level. Try this nontactile greeting.


James J. Griffith, M.D., Sarasota