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OPINION | LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: An existential threat | Must invest in state | A redistricting mess

October 13, 2021 at 3:42 a.m.

An existential threat

"The free press is the cornerstone of democracy." If so, where are your editorials and op-eds warning of the greatest danger to democracy since the American Civil War? A powerful autocrat and ex-president has now let everyone know he intends to run for president again.

Make no mistake, if Trump runs in 2024 and wins, he will demand near-dictatorial powers. If he loses the vote, he will cry "fraud" and start a second civil war. The far right are fully armed with the most powerful rifles and they are itching for a fight.

Accepting the will of the voters is basic to a democracy. Denying the outcome of a fair election is the most undemocratic thing imaginable. A close second is obstructing citizens from voting, as Republican state legislatures have done.

Why are conservatives, who in the past prided themselves on upholding American democracy, continuing to support this man who is the epitome of an autocrat/dictator? Why do they continue to promote "The Big Lie" that the election was a fraud?

And where is the free press? Why are you not loudly sounding the alarm about this oncoming crisis that represents an existential threat to our system of democracy?

I don't get it.

GEORGE BENJAMIN

Siloam Springs

Must invest in state

Instead of lowering income taxes for the wealthy, we need to invest in Arkansas. Our economy and Arkansas families and children will reap the benefits of a well-educated labor force and a steady stream of entrepreneurial ventures.

Taxes support our living standards. They provide the revenue necessary to pay for public investment in children, families, and infrastructure. Additionally, they provide social insurance, safety-net programs, and many other public programs that support quality of life. They also influence the level and distribution of income, consumption, wealth, and broader economic well-being measures.

During the 20th century, our investment in education was the USA's principal source of extraordinary performance. A renewed commitment to invest in education is an essential and fruitful step that federal, state, and local officials can take to sustain American economic growth. Additionally, public investment in early childhood programs and high-quality child care is critical in supporting and growing our economy's current and future productivity.

Public investments pave the way for private-sector innovation and growth. As a result, many of the most significant advances in economic productivity, innovation, and technological capacity have resulted from government action.

There is support for appropriate public investments, and even for the taxes that will fund them, as long as we put those taxes to prudent use. But the policy priorities in Arkansas tend to align with the preferences of the wealthy and don't necessarily support the growth of the whole economy. We need to invest in Arkansas. Arkansas citizens--families, individuals, and our children--will reap the benefits.

CLAUDE R. ROY JR.

Little Rock

A redistricting mess

Residents of the 4400 block on Rogers Street in North Little Rock have more in common with the residents of Corning, 166 miles away, than their neighbors in the 4200 block. That's the argument made by the state Legislature in the congressional maps that sit on the governor's desk.

After the 2020 Census, legislators had the chance to put the people over partisan squabbling and design congressional districts on the basis of shared economic concerns. Instead, the people are stuck with a map designed for partisan security. There was the chance to right the wrongs from the 2010 maps. Instead, they chose revenge.

We are supposed to believe that the map was designed to keep cities together. But its lines cut through the incorporated boundaries of Little Rock and North Little Rock.

We are supposed to believe that these maps consider future population growth. But instead of distributing high-growth regions, it packs them together, guaranteeing imbalanced districts in short order.

We are supposed to believe that the state's geography required splitting Pulaski County. But the flat, angular Arkansas on the screen of an ambitious politician is different from the geography of rivers and mountains, highways and back roads that make up the true shape of the state. Not to mention the many maps produced by both Republicans and Democrats that found balanced populations without carving the counties.

One wonders why, in a hearing over House Bill 1982, the primary sponsor, Representative Speaks, stated she "was told" that the map only affected the suburbs. Who was telling her how to draw the map she proposed?

The people of Arkansas entrusted the pen to the Arkansas state legislators. After two consecutive cases where the maps serve the elected over the electors, perhaps it is time the people of Arkansas take it away.

DAVID BARBER

Conway

Print Headline: Letters

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