Stephen Douglas played a major role in Illinois history. His portrait should remain

Our recognition that “Black lives matter” ought not require erasing a piece of the American story that makes us uncomfortable.

SHARE Stephen Douglas played a major role in Illinois history. His portrait should remain
House Speaker Mike Madigan, left in 2015; Stephen Douglas, right, in undated photograph. 

House Speaker Mike Madigan, left in 2015; Stephen Douglas, right, in undated photograph.

Seth Perlman AP; Sun-Times archives

Removing portraits and statues of Stephen Douglas of Illinois is an overreaction to a genuine concern about confronting the virus of racism in our past.

There is a great difference between those who founded and led this country, including slaveholders up until the Civil War, and those Confederates who rebelled and fought against this country.

We cannot erase Douglas’ place in our history by covering or removing his portrait.As noted in a Sun-Times story, the base of his statue is engraved with his “dying message to his children, ‘...to obey the laws and support the Constitution of the United States.’ ”It is for us, today, to clarify, explain, celebrate and question with integrity the entire record of this major figure in our state’s narrative.

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

Our recognition that “Black lives matter” ought not require erasing a piece of the American story that makes us uncomfortable.Let’s not be distracted from confronting the virus of racism in our present time, in our culture, our institutions, and whatever yet lingers in our own hearts.

Rev. Martin Deppe, Ravenswood Manor

Missing masks on Metra

On July 9, I came into the city via Metra to run an errand. I caught the first morning train from Lemont, and being prudent, I wore gloves and a mask.When I arrived at Union Station, I went to purchase my return ticket.

The ticket agent wasn’t wearing gloves, and her single-use face mask was dangling ineffectively from one ear. As she spoke to me, it was obvious she was eating something.She was confused as to what zone Lemont was in, and even after loudly asking for help from an unseen co-worker, she still fumbled over which ticket to sell me. When I took the ticket from her, I was thankful I was wearing gloves.

Later in the afternoon, I returned to Union Station hoping to find something to eat before catching the first evening train back. In case I needed to make a future trip into the city, I decided to buy an extra ticket.That agent wore neither gloves nor a mask, and he too was confused as to which ticket to sell me. I had to “remind” him to give me my receipt.

It is Metra’s policy that all riders must wear a mask. Isn’t it also a city and state requirement? Are Metra employees exempt, or just poorly trained?At least the second agent wasn’t eating! The first instance was merely unseemly; a second instance would have been grotesque.

John Vukmirovich, Lemont

Curbing crime

Video doorbells to help curb crime are nice in theory, Father Pfleger,but criminals will just start breaking them.

A more realistic approach is to stop the gang banging,stop glorifying that life through popular culture. If you’re going to shame racists, shame gang-bangers too, with the same enthusiasm.

Jim Lanham, Joliet

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