Letters to the editor: Jan. 27, 2021

Letters To The Editor NEW

‘For the People Act’ deserves support

Voting rights are among the most fundamental rights in a democratic society.  Recent events, like the Jan. 6 U. S. Capitol riots, showed just how fragile voting rights are in society.  Despite an absence of evidence, hundreds of people breached the Capitol in Washington, D.C. to protest legitimate election results.  This is truly frightening because a democracy cannot function without the peaceful transition of power.  The events of Jan. 6 demonstrate there is much we need to do as a country to protect voting rights and restore faith in the voting process. 

An immediate action we could take is to pass H.R. 1, the For the People Act.  We applaud Missouri’s Congresswoman Cori Bush and Congressman Emanuel Clever for co-sponsoring H.R. 1, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 4, 2021.  This sweeping reform package would protect every eligible American’s fundamental right to vote and strengthen our democracy.

The Jewish Coalition for Racial Equity strongly favors the measure and urges all members of Missouri’s congressional delegation to support the For the People Act and push for its immediate passage. 

The Missouri Voter Protection Coalition wrote a letter to Missouri’s Congressional Delegation advocating for the passage of H.R.1.  They argue that H.R.1 would “ensure that Missouri voters have access to absentee voting regardless of their reason for needing to cast an absentee ballot. It would ensure early voting opportunities. It would update and streamline voter registration. It would restore voting rights for returning citizens who have served their time.”  For all these reasons, we urge Congress to pass H.R. 1. 

Nancy Solomon Desloge, Jewish Coalition for Racial Equity

Traitor should not be eulogized

I was puzzled by your decision to run a lengthy (250 words) obituary in the Jan. 13 edition for the odious British traitor, George Blake, yimakh shemo (May his name be erased). Blake likely caused greater harm to the West and the cause of liberty than even the notorious Cambridge Five. His betrayal of British and American intelligence led to the barbaric torture and execution of scores of courageous freedom-loving Eastern Europeans, including Maj. Pyotr Popov, who was one of the highest ranked assets this country had inside Moscow. Blake, however, lived out the last 60 years of his life in comfort in Moscow after escaping British justice. A true believer in only Marx (and sporadic dabbler in various forms of Christianity) with but scant ties to Judaism via his father’s side, and none to St. Louis, he is unworthy of a lengthy eulogy in your newspaper.

Matthew Grad, Creve Coeur

Relief funds for health needed 

If I could teach members of Congress about one aspect of Judaism, it would have to be tikkun olam. Our world could use some repairing.

Congress is in a unique position to do this, and not just for our own country. 

The most recent COVID-19 relief bill included a historic $4 billion investment in access to vaccines globally, warranting celebration. But outside of this, so far Congress has done virtually nothing to respond to the pandemic outside our borders — a failing that must be corrected as soon as possible.

The World Food Program projects that global hunger will double. UNICEF estimates 80 million children are at risk of preventable diseases like measles and polio. AIDS, TB, and malaria deaths are projected to rise to levels we haven’t seen in years.

I’m calling on our senators and Congresswomen Cori Bush and Ann Wagner to get to work passing an emergency COVID-19 package that includes $20 billion for global relief to mitigate the secondary impacts of COVID-19, including hunger and malnutrition in low-income communities. That $20 billion should include at least $4 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in order to strengthen health systems and the fight against infectious diseases.

Yara Changyit-Levin, Town and Country

An end to fences that divide 

Reflecting upon newspaper images depicting the National Guard patrolling a hastily erected fence around the U.S. Capitol: As Jews, we are instructed, at Pirkei Avot 1:1, to build “a fence around the Torah.” Yet, some fences are opposed to Jewish principles.

Historians will surely write less about Donald Trump’s unfulfilled border fence than about barriers he did build — not only that little fence in Washington, but the higher walls he influenced, eroding that fragile one between good sense and myth, while (saddest, most dangerous of all) bolstering the several walls separating Americans, including Jewish Americans, from each other, walls for which many of us share responsibility. It remains for us to tear them down.

Robert Taxman, Chesterfield