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Tricky terminology

This pandemic makes us rethink our political polarity and say, "We're all in this together." But most of us have forgotten--or are in denial--that the main division in our society is not political. Economic class determines not only one's opportunity, but also how we judge them, even more than the color of their bumper stickers.

Today's widespread praise and appreciation of those in "essential" positions on the front lines generally come from those of us who are free from worry about our next meal or housing payment. Our testimonies of gratitude for newfound peaceful time at home are seen everywhere, but don't speak for everyone. They are a symptom of our class divide; they are the voice of privilege.

Iowa announced meatpacking plant workers will have their unemployment cut off if they refuse to return to work as plants reopen, ready or not. While others are on paid leave at home, these "essential" workers receive our praise and lip service, but like prison inmates, they are sentenced to exposure to this illness. Many of them will die because of it.

One way to recognize the denial involved in our society's treatment of people who are in a different economic situation than ourselves is by the appreciative-sounding but empty labels we can put on things. Maybe when we call our health-care providers, public servants, shoppers, delivery persons, meatpackers and the like "essential," we really mean "expendable."

RALPH ELLIS

Fayetteville

Comparison apropos

As a retired professor of Shakespeare, I must compliment Raouf Halaby on his comparison of President Trump and Shakespeare's King Lear. There are definitely more similarities than differences in the two.

Of course, President Trump is reluctant to give up any authority. This is probably seen best in his firing Cabinet members he has managed to get through Congress and then replacing them with acting roles, which means basically that they become pawns on his large chessboard.

However, all the egocentrism of the two is identical. The best example from the play is seen when Lear demands a greater love said from each daughter. When Cordelia refuses to usher forth "apple-pie words," she is disowned. President Trump, like Lear, demands complete loyalty, allowing no disagreement with any idea, rational or not.

Thanks again for this compelling essay.

JOHN W. CRAWFORD

Arkadelphia

Money wins over lives

The government (mostly Republicans) opening businesses seems to be more important than the lives of people. Money versus lives equals no winners, only losers.

And many condone these openings when cases are on the rise in many areas. Avarice is the root of all evil. Polls are showing many people will not risk their lives to visit many opening establishments.

Many people could use stimulus check money that was wrongly sent to people living overseas who know they don't deserve the checks. Big government waste. Where is government oversight on this mistake?

S.K. ONEIL

Sherwood

Editorial on 05/07/2020

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