Our Pledge To You

Letters to the Editor

Let your voice be heard in condemning anti-Semitism

People gather at the Republique square to protest against anti-Semitism, in Paris, France, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019. In Paris and dozens of other French cities, ordinary citizens and officials across the political spectrum geared up Tuesday to march and rally against anti-Semitism, following a series of anti-Semitic acts that shocked the nation. The board reads: Together against Anti Semitism. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) ORG XMIT: NYOTK

People gather at the Republique square to protest against anti-Semitism, in Paris, France on Feb. 19. In Paris and dozens of other French cities, ordinary citizens and officials across the political spectrum geared up to march and rally against anti-Semitism, following a series of anti-Semitic acts that shocked the nation. The board reads: Together against Anti Semitism. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

On Feb. 20, 1939, 20,000 Americans rallied in New York’s Madison Square Garden to celebrate the rise of the American Nazi Party. The event is featured in A Night at The Garden, a short documentary film that just premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

In a chilling parallel, on Feb. 17, 2019, 20,000 Americans rallied in Chicago’s United Center as Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam teamed up with a Holocaust denier and anti-Semitic ideologue to attack the Jewish religion and falsely blame numerous ills of modern society on Jews.

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Statistics are grim. Anti-Semitic attacks and other hate crimes against minority groups are on the rise in our country and virulent rhetoric is often the precursor to broader expressions of physical harm.

The only way to stem this dangerous tide is for all of us to stand in solidarity. Let your voices be heard by condemning this recent rally and all acts of bigotry.

Recently, prompted by a social media outcry, rallies against anti-Semitism attracted crowds of thousands in Paris and other French cities following a series of aggressive acts with Jewish targets, including the defacing of 80 gravestones.

But in our own city, a deafening silence was the community response to Farrakhan’s resurrection of age-old blood-libel-type canards.

We have seen how social media can sometimes foster hate, but it can also be a powerful tool in combating societal evil.

It is exactly 80 years since the hateful New York rally and days since the Chicago rally.  Please be an “upstander” today.

Fritzie Fritzshall, president, Illinois Holocaust Museum,
Auschwitz Survivor

Susan Abrams, CEO, Illinois Holocaust Museum

Peril for the next generation

Legalization of cannabis, for whatever reason, would cripple the next and future generations! Pot-smoking by adolescents has now been documented, in the American Journal of Psychiatry, October 2018, to permanently impair adolescents’ thinking and learning abilities, reading comprehension, verbal and math skills, problem-solving, and ability to stop or change harmful habitual behaviors. It results in lifelong brain damage.

Though alcohol is legal for 21-year-olds, as everyone knows, it is abused by teens who think it’s cool and fun to party. Some teens use pot despite its being illegal. Whatever age restrictions might be put on the legal use of cannabis, it will still send the message to teens that it’s legal and, therefore, many more teens will then use it. The researchers found pot has more devastating consequences than alcohol.

Teen brains have not matured enough to think about the possible consequences of behaviors before engaging in them. Even occasional recreational use of marijuana would interfere with the development of that mental capability. THC, the active ingredient in pot, remains in the body’s fat cells. Its metabolism and release over time continues to hinder the person’s learning and development. Thus, there is no “zero risk” when it comes to pot, for the recreational or the habitual user.

Jean M Alberti, educational and clinical psychologist, Glen Ellyn

Old-fashioned hypocrisy

l am really confused, For eight years during the Obama presidency, Republican politicians and the vast conservative media on an almost daily basis complained about large budget deficits and the growing national debt.

Now, however, with a so-called conservative Republican president, huge budget deficits and a national debt heading toward 25 trillion, fiscal responsibility in Washington no longer seem to matter to conservative Republicans.

Do fiscally conservative policies really matter? Or is it just a case of good old-fashioned political hypocrisy by Republicans?

Victor Darst, Huntley