In Alabama, Moore is less | Nov. 28, commentary
Allegations have political tinge
Last year, right before the election, 14 women came forward to claim that candidate Donald Trump had sexually molested them. The timing coincided (conveniently for his opposition) with the release of a tape on which he used locker-room language regarding the treatment of women. I can't help but wonder where those ladies are today.
Once again, this time in the case of candidate Roy Moore, there are a number of women who have come forward just before an important election to charge him with sexual misconduct. He denies any wrongdoing and adamantly rebuts the allegations. This comes at a time when proven offenses and as-yet-unsubstantiated accusations of sexual assault against highly visible men have created a near-frenzy in the media and in the country.
In this instance, all the allegations are from the distant past, and only one has any "evidence" that could move this from a "he-said, she-said" situation to one with some weight of credibility on one side or the other. It's unfortunate that the one piece of real "evidence" — the yearbook that Moore is said to have signed — won't be released for forensic examination by attorney Gloria Allred and her client. It would provide some level of certainty, one way or the other, in at least one of the alleged transgressions. And it's reasonable to assume that the credibility gained through that inspection would affect people's views on the credibility of the other charges.
Sexual misconduct is never acceptable. And neither is jeopardizing a person's future with faultily remembered or false past encounters.
Terry Kemple, president, Community Issues Council, Brandon
In Alabama, Moore is less | Nov. 28, commentary
Clean up bad behavior
Why are so many women coming forward against sexual predators now? Because at last they can.
Now 83, I all too well remember when sexual harassment at the workplace was something a woman had to tolerate. In a law firm where I worked days while putting myself through college at night, it was normal practice for female employees to avoid getting on the elevator with the most senior partner as well as avoiding passing him in the hall. He was known to for his "low wave" as young women passed by. None of the younger partners told him not to do it, but we women were told it was our job to avoid such encounters. The implication was that women who were harassed were looking for it, perhaps by dressing provocatively or flirting with the abuser.
Things are a lot different now, although not completely right yet. Women have a lot more power and can speak out; but they still do not have equal power or equal salaries or management status in major corporations. Finally, people are listening and believing those who do come forward.
To make America great again and keep it that way, we must clean up the behavior of all those in the public eye so they actually deserve the respect that goes with the role they seek.
Adele Ida Walter, Tampa
New president shares inclusive message Nov. 25
Hopes for a better nation
In 1965, the apartheid regime of Rhodesia, led by Ian Smith, unilaterally declared independence from Britain. I was an 18-year-old college student when I met a "Rhodesian" student/political refugee at a Methodist church camp. He taught me how to spell Zimbabwe, explained that this meant "house of stone" in his native Shona language, and that this was the real name of his country.
We married three years later, but it would take 17 years of a brutal civil war for majority rule to prevail in his land. News came slowly in those days, from shortwave radio BBC, Voice of America and static-filled phone calls from in-laws I had yet to meet.
By 1981, the war had ended and Robert Mugabe had been democratically elected as the new leader. We packed up our three children and everything we owned and returned to newly independent Zimbabwe. My whole adult life has been intertwined with the events in the southern African nation that I came to love.
In the 37-year-rule of Mugabe, I witnessed a country and its people undergo an immense amount of suffering. For the past 10 days, unlike in the 1960s, I've watched the events in Zimbabwe unfold within minutes on my iPhone. A country with unlimited potential and resources, and an educated but largely unemployed work force, is now looking to the future with a new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa. I have great hopes for this wonderful country, and I pray that the lessons of the past have been carefully learned.
Wendolyn Mutunhu, Tampa
Proposal is win for all concerned Nov. 26, letter
Groundwork for cuts
Businesses of any size don't hire more people just because they got a tax cut; they hire people when they need more people to meet increased demand. Outside of that, increased profits from tax cuts go into the owners' pockets and don't get passed along to customers as reduced prices.
The Republican plan is just a way to set up Social Security and Medicare to be cut back to reduce the resulting (and completely avoidable) deficit increase.
Chris Woodard, Tampa
Taxpayers get relief | Nov. 27, letter
Mind the wealth gap
In this era of rapidly increasing wealth and income disparities, the question is: Are upper income people paying their fair share? In the boom decades after World War II, top marginal tax rates varied from 70 percent to 90 percent without noticeable effect on economic growth, nor did the income/wealth gaps seen nowadays materialize.
And should the estate tax be eliminated, then the American aristocracy that has taken root over the past few decades will have been consolidated into economically and politically powerful dynasties resembling those that ruled pre-revolutionary Russia.
Fred Kalhammer, Sun City Center