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Opinion | Passion in Buffalo: Biden Takes On White Supremacy

To the Editor:

Re “Biden Condemns White Supremacy as ‘Poison’ in US” (front page, May 18):

President Biden, in a speech to the grief-stricken families of the Buffalo grocery store massacre, spoke with the depth of empathy that has characterized his entire public life.

The hate-mongering by white supremacists that the president referred to has widespread implications in an election season in which fringe rhetoric and beliefs, once the sole province of right-wing extremists, have become mainstreamed.

But with runaway inflation and recession fears clearly dominating public concerns, the president needs to convince Americans that anti-democratic and whiskered elements in our politics are a far greater threat to our institutions and the survival of democracy than perceived shortcomings of this administration.

The Buffalo tragedy is but the latest in a string of horrific reminders that support of white supremacy no longer resides solely in the outer fringes of American life but is at the very least tolerated by power-seeking Republican sycophants who have hitched themselves to what they believe. is a winning strategy.

Mr. Biden’s compassionate response in Buffalo was a genuine gift to a community. It was also a blueprint and rallying cry for Democrats’ impending uphill struggle.

Roger Hirschberg
South Burlington, Vt.

To the Editor:

We’re not even pretending anymore. Missing or barely mentioned in the aftermath of the racially motivated slaughter in Buffalo on Saturday were the usual calls for background checks, waiting periods, and bans on weapons and ammunition whose sole purposes are to murder fellow humans.

It is not because most Americans don’t wish to control gun violence; it is because politicians are good at math and understand the impossibility of getting Republicans to vote their way.

In the recent Republican Senate primary in Ohio, one of the candidates ran with the tagline “God, Guns and Trump.” Though that candidate lost to a candidate Donald Trump actually endorsed, the motto the candidate used is telling of the dangerous hostility Republicans plan to use to oust the Democratic majority in Congress.

The mass murder in Buffalo was caused by a toxic brew of easy access to weapons, a conspiracy theory based on the self-pity that media celebrities and many politicians amplify when they say they are being replaced by immigrants and minorities, and the anger of a young man whose goal was to get the notoriety that mass murderers all too often achieve.

We are doing nothing to change even one of those ingredients. We are only bracing for the next one.

Elliott Miller
Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

To the Editor:

How have we reached the point where President Biden’s condemnation of white supremacy as “poison” needed to be said in 2022?

Weren’t the ignorance and paranoia underlying the racist, xenophobic and antisemitic “replacement theory” apparent when angry tiki torch-carrying white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., chanted “end immigration” and “Jews will not replace us” in 2017?

Wasn’t the conspiracy theory’s potential to incite deranged minds to kill made clear by the massacres in recent years of African American worshipers at a Charleston church, Jewish worshipers at a Pittsburgh synagogue and Latinos at an El Paso Walmart? And why aren’t we doing more to keep guns away from people with the mind-set to become domestic terrorists?

There is an antidote to this poison: a recipe of empathy, understanding and recognition of all that this country has gained from a diverse population that has been enriched in every generation by tempest-tossed immigrants drawn here from around the world by liberty, democracy and economic mobility that truly make America exceptional.

Stephen A.Silver
San Francisco

To the Editor:

Re “Working Mothers, Stung by Pandemic, Keep Working” (Business, May 12):

Regardless of gender, education or income level, the availability of child care is an incredibly important factor when it comes to a parent’s ability to return to work or stay employed. But there is another key group of people often left out of the conversations about child care availability — the work force that keeps these programs running.

In New York City, the salaries of child care workers are shamefully low, often driven by low government reimbursement and an inability of lower income families to pay higher tuition fees. According to the New York State Department of Labor, the median salary of a child care worker in New York City is $33,260, resulting in high rates of turnover and challenges filling vacant positions.

There are many passionate teachers and aides who want to serve our children, but without resources like training or wages equal to their public school counterparts, their hands will be tied. We must invest in the work force to provide high-quality care, then expand to reach all working families with the care they need.

Susan Stamler
New York
The writer is executive director of United Neighborhood Houses.

To the Editor:

So the anti-abortion campaigners appear to have won in their opposition to Roe, and now we hear rumblings of making abortion bans absolute with no exceptions.

Amid the haste and euphoria, let’s take time to recall Savita Halappanavar, who died after a miscarriage in Ireland in 2012, in extreme agony. The doctor refused to abort a nonviable fetus and instead let his patient die of septicemia, because abortion of a living fetus was illegal. Her death de ella helped galvanize Ireland to repeal its abortion ban.

I urge the anti-abortion people to consider cases like hers before more tragedies occur. If they allow such things to happen through absolutist restrictions, it will give the lie to their claiming to be pro-life.

Stephen Landers
Stratford, Ont.

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