Sunday Letters: Rep. John Lewis and his message of hope

SHARE Sunday Letters: Rep. John Lewis and his message of hope

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. | AP file photo

This past August I had the great privilege of hearing iconic civil rights leader U.S. Rep. John Lewis speak to students and faculty at Loyola’s School of Law about his youth in the segregated south, his leadership role as an activist with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and his work as a U.S. congressman. He shared with us his optimism about the future of our country, the importance of making “good trouble” to necessitate change, and the need to work together to create a loving, inclusive community. Congressman Lewis received two standing ovations during his talk; many in the audience were moved to tears by his inspirational message of hope.

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I was saddened but not surprised to read that our president-elect recently attacked Congressman Lewis on Twitter for his remarks about the legitimacy of the presidential election due to presumed Russian hacking. (The hypocrisy of the new president’s criticism is laughable given the fact that for years he perpetuated the “birther” movement that questioned the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s presidency.)

Let us not forget the civil rights movement and what “good trouble” has accomplished in this country over the years. Whether you are one of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who will take to the streets to peacefully protest the Trump presidency and his stances on women’s issues, health care, and climate change, or you choose to respectfully express on social media your disapproval of his disparaging treatment of minorities, women, and the disabled — your voice really does matter.

Elisabeth Brookover, Lincoln Park

End of an era

President Obama’s final news conference was sadly the end of an era. We witnessed a president answering questions and talking to the American people in a civil, intelligent, thoughtful and clear way. Sadly, for the foreseeable future, this type of setting will not be repeated.

The incoming president, who achieved the presidency by appealing to the ugly and dark side of America, has not shown the judgment or temperament to hold such a press conference. While campaigning for the presidency, when not denigrating those who disagreed with him, he said anything and everything to strike a chord with certain groups to gain favor.

We learned that what he said and promised could be changed from moment to moment. He now asks the American people to forget the ugly campaign, unify, and follow his lead.

Unfortunately, many Americans find it difficult to forget so easily how he gained the nomination. He has degraded and talked about individuals in an insulting manner.  It is the height of hypocrisy and shows a lack of character and integrity to now ask that this behavior be ignored and shoved aside.

Unfortunately for our country, we are in for bumpy ride. We will have a president who doesn’t have a presidential bone in his body, who will throughout his tenure be embroiled in controversy and strife. We are going to witness drama like never before and go from an age of enlightenment to an age of darkness. In other words, the theater of the absurd.

For the sake of the country, this writer hopes he is wrong, but I would not bet on it. We can survive, but it is going to take all the resolve and strength we can muster.

Ned L. McCray, Tinley Park

Compassion needed

Chicago police do not need more training. They already know what should be done. What they need is more compassion and caring.

Barbara A. Miller, Portage Park

Reject DeVos

Donald Trump once mused, “I love the poorly educated,” and he’s demonstrated this with his nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. DeVos struggled to answer questions related to key aspects of the educational system. She appeared puzzled by the mention of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which requires schools in all fifty states to provide appropriate education to students with disabilities. She has neither administrative nor even parental experience with the student loan process. She lacks the ability to differentiate between the concepts of “proficiency” and “growth”.

DeVos cannot even make up for her experience shortcomings with a confident vision for American education. Her testimony was filled with vague, noncommittal answers, raising concern students will be left to fend for themselves in cases of for-profit university abuses (like Trump University), and campus sexual assault investigations.

If DeVos does not have enough confidence in her ideas to articulate her positions, why should we have confidence in her to properly lead American education? If she will not do her homework (how ironic!) to prepare for the biggest job interview in her life, why should we expect her to be up to the enormous responsibility of managing the billions of dollars in the Department of Education’s budget? I urge all Illinois citizens to call on Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth to vote “no” on this appointment.

Sara Kurganov, Lisle

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