Letters to the editor: June 16, 2021 edition

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Correction: A letter to the editor in the June 2 edition entitled “Allowing guns in houses of worship” inaccurately asserted that State Rep. Tracy McCreery (District 088) voted to allow guns in places of worship.  McCreery did not vote for the bill and was one of 36 legislators to vote against moving that bill to the Senate.  [HB 944, April 19, 2021, House Journal page 1704-1705]. 

Correcting a falsehood in a recent letter

A letter to the editor (June 2 edition “Allowing guns in houses of worship”) falsely claimed that I voted to allow guns in places of worship.  I did not vote for the bill the writer described — I was one of 36 legislators to vote against moving that bill to the Senate.  [HB 944, April 19, 2021, House Journal page 1704-1705].

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In fact, I have never supported such measures. I am proud of my longstanding record in support of common-sense gun reform and as an advocate for gun and domestic violence victims. I got involved with the Million Mom March in 2002; I was a Moms Demand Action Gun Sense candidate in 2020.

The legislative process is complicated and moves quickly. As the Ranking Minority Member of Agriculture Policy, Emerging Issues, Legislative Review, and Utilities, I make thousands of votes every session.  While not everyone will agree with every vote, I prefer to evaluate public officials on their entire portfolio of work.  Please visit www.TracyMcCreery.com for more information.  If you have any questions about bills moving through the Missouri General Assembly, please do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected] 

State Rep. Tracy McCreery, District 88


Poking fun at people’s looks is not funny

I usually enjoy Amy Fenster Brown’s work, but the May 19 piece on “Freed from the mask, I’m all lip gloss and smiles” left me sad. 

The reference to Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and their lipstick line was not needed to make the prose funny. 

With so many people suffering with poor body image and eating disorders joking about anorexia, starvation, binge and purge was not entertainment. Call MOEDA (Missouri Eating Disorder Association) for more information. I was dismayed to read and wonder how this portion of Brown’s work would be allowed to print. How many people reading this felt shame or fear of their own lifestyle and their illness. If the name of our loved one battling this disease had been substituted for the twin’s names would it be so funny?

Gayle Dorshow, St. Louis


Larger perspective needed 

The content of Marty Rochester’s May 19 commentary, “A Call Across the Aisle for Respectful Conversation” is identical to many other critical columns on progressive education he has written for the Light.   

I am also not sure why he thinks readers need another review of his biography.   

Of course he could cite examples of excesses under the rubric of progressive education, but the unequal educational opportunities for poor kids is a far greater excess that has rarely concerned Rochester. He was a well-known opponent of the voluntary desegregation program and the Normandy transfer program.  

He predicted disaster but apparently the Clayton schools survived as a quality system. (Disclosure: two of my children are graduates of Clayton High School.) Has Rochester forgotten the remarkable opportunities offered to Jewish children to attend quality public schools from the early-20th century to 2021.   

He has made several appeals over several years to cross political boundaries. These appeals are always followed by highly selected examples to discredit liberals and mild criticism of conservatives.   

In his book, “Class Warfare: Besieged Schools, Bewildered Parents, Betrayed Kids and the Attack on Excellence,” he went after the most-talented representatives of progressive education, Tom Hoerr, the head of the nationally recognized New City School, and Linda Henke, the assistant superintendent in Clayton who went on to dramatically improve the Maplewood Schools as their superintendent. Challenging the best to prove the worst is a strange strategy.

I also question his one-dimensional discussion of AP classes. If there have been aggressive efforts to get more kids in AP, there are countless examples of top students taking too many AP classes for their mental health. The competition for acceptance at our most selective universities keeps getting more treacherous.   

In his continuous diatribes on “woke” liberalism, he has nothing to say about Trump and the Republican Party who are undermining democracy and democratic norms by supporting the Big Lie and voter restriction laws passed by all Republican legislatures. Maybe Rochester needs to read a book on the collapse of democracy and democratic norms during the Weimar Republic.

For a man who has argued that progressive curriculum undermines patriotism, I wish Rochester could explain how challenging an honest election is increasing faith in our country’s institution, especially among our youth.  

Dennis Lubeck, St. Louis


Troubling headline

When the St. Louis Jewish Light wrote the headline “St. Louis Islamic Foundation Condemns Anti-Semitism Despite Absence from Local Event” (June 7), it did much more damage than just burying the lead. This headline, with its undercurrent of negativity, cast a pall over a stunning display of solidarity. 

What would have been a good headline? Perhaps “Diverse Community Leaders Stand with Us Against Anti-Semitism.” Or “Representatives from All Faiths, Political Backgrounds and Identities Speak Out Against Anti-Semitism.” These would have captured the intent and mood of the event and also shown appreciation for the many who stood with us. 

The allies who attended the press conference all have crowded schedules, busy days. Their plates are filled with their own work. However, they all made time to show up, in person, to advocate against hatred of us, of the Jewish community. That’s your story. That’s what makes the community stronger. 

Good journalism comes with standards. In this fast-moving world of clickbait and media sensationalism, we need to be able to count on the Light not to sink to that level. The facts are that many stood with us during the press conference, and others who could not attend, for various reasons, sent their support. That’s the best story.

Anna Goldfarb Shabsin, University City