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Letters to the editor

August 6, 2020 at 1:00 a.m.

State's senators should support HEROES act

For months, working families in Arkansas and across the nation have transformed their homes into makeshift classrooms, daycare centers and summer camps to cope with the covid-19 pandemic. Now as fall and the new school year approaches, we're rapidly approaching a new disaster: President Trump, Betsy DeVos and our governor are trying to reopen schools with no plan to keep our children or our teachers safe. Educators have already lost their lives to this cruel and indiscriminate virus. With a new school year just weeks away, we don't have much time, but there is a solution: the U.S. Senate must take up and pass the HEROES Act.

The importance of this House-passed legislation cannot be overstated. The bill would provide the necessary funding for K-12 education systems to safely prepare for reopening by providing essential sanitary supplies, proper protective equipment for school employees and students and more. Make no mistake: Everyone wants our children and grandchildren back in the classroom, in a safe classroom. And also make no mistake: Our senators, Boozman and Cotton, must support the HEROES Act. Our workers and our children deserve a safe and responsible school reopening plan, which the HEROES Act will deliver.

There is no room for a trial-and-error reopening of the schools like we did earlier with this pandemic -- the haste to reopen businesses only made the death count worse. We cannot repeat this failure where our children are concerned.

The Northwest Arkansas Central Labor Council urges our two senators to vote for the HEROES Act.

Walter Hinojosa

president, NWA Central Labor Council

Bella Vista

Defunding the police is good starting point

The city of Fayetteville's administrative rush to break ground on a "safety campus" in Ward 2 is cause for alarm. Whether the process of taking public comments was meant to exclude most working-class residents or not, the result is the same: Folks who would be most affected by the construction of a new police station and the expansion of policing were not able to log into the noon Zoom session to have their voices heard. Spectacular "community leaders" ill equipped to speak for the people gave the sad show an air of "public discourse" which it did not deserve (by the way, search for Guy Debord's "The Society of the Spectacle.").

Here is one way fascism takes root in administrative apparati: an in-group of "legitimate citizens" is defined over and against an out-group of "undesirables" and "criminals." The voices of the outcasts are made out to be unimportant. As for how a state produces outcasts, arrest and imprisonment are only the fastest ways. It is slower to introduce austerity measures that take funding out of underserved communities and channel it into the pockets of multi-millionaire supermarket magnates, poultry barons, and shipping tycoons – still, you will end up with impoverished wards where crime rates are higher, and the most profitable solution (the one least likely to offend the delicate sensibilities of magnates, barons, tycoons and aspirational millionaires) is to put a few million dollars into policing the area.

Poverty produces crime. Crime produces outcasts. Outcast lives don't get to matter, according to the state and its media. This is the long game of voter suppression, segregation, income inequality and fascist capitalism. It is happening here and has been for too long.

There is no single way to stop it, but here is one good starting point: Defund the police! Re-fund poor communities!

Liam McMahon

Prairie Grove

Will columnist write about GOP's failings?

I am looking forward to the article that Dana D. Kelley writes about the Republican governors who have, for political purposes, allowed their states to abandon all good health practices and allowed covid-19 to spread throughout and maim and kill thousands of our citizens. He was very quick to criticize Democrat mayors for many ills without evidence, including all of their policies, unemployment, poverty and homelessness, which he did not mentioned in his article until the conclusion.

Here is a fact he cannot ignore: Nine of the top 10 leading states with the most covid-19 cases are in the South and are led by Republicans governors, including Gov. Hutchinson.

All reopened their economies too fast and are now reaping the whirlwind. They went against a Republican president's task force recommendations, and with Trump's encouragement, led their states to the condition they are in now with overwhelmed hospitals, and shortages of tests, PPE, ICUs and tens of thousands of hospitalizations.

I am definitely sure that if Republicans had lost the presidency in two out of the last five elections but had won the popular vote by 4 million to 5 million votes in those two elections, they would also be calling for a constitutional change in the Electoral College system, just as they did after FDR won four elections and later they amended the Constitution to allow a president to serve only two terms. You only think it's genius because a Republican won.

Lee Lewis

Centerton

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