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Life, Liberty, And The Pursuit Of Happiness



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To the Editor:

In response to “Usurping Our Rights,” in the June 26, 2020 edition of The Bee, in which the “umbrella problem” is said to be destruction of our “cultural and historic” history, I have a few thoughts.

“Procedural process” is the luxury of the white majority. People of color have been trying to navigate the white majority’s neat and tidy “procedural process” system for years, a system designed by white people to work for white people. Many of the things white people don’t give a moment’s thought to don’t work for Black people. Driving while Black doesn’t work for them (Philando Castile), jogging while Black doesn’t work for them (Ahmaud Arbery), and sleeping while Black doesn’t work, either (Breonna Taylor).

The cliché says continuing to do the same things, while expecting different results, is the definition of insanity.

I find it curious that principles of morality and common decency are deemed “fashionable” by our author. Since when is equality and justice for all people fashionable?

Shouldn’t the words in the Declaration of Independence which guarantee “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” apply to us all?

I suppose they don’t, because the people whose family members were brutalized and enslaved by the men enshrined in those statues are expected to just walk on by with nary a complaint.

You say these monuments were “publicly sanctioned.” It defies belief that Black people were consulted before statues of Jefferson Davis were erected and that Native Americans gave the big thumbs up to statues of Christopher Columbus. Are not people of color part of the public?

And that public sanctioning? The Southern Poverty Law Center states that the majority of the approximately 700 statues spread over 31 (!) states were erected not in the immediate years following the Civil War, but in the era of Jim Crow segregation spanning the 1890s through the 1950s. The last time I checked, there were 11 states in the Confederacy. One wonders what exactly statues erected of Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee in Idaho and Arizona are commemorating.

Oh, and that “mob” that you mention. You do realize that this country was formed in mob violence and rebellion. Radical change does not happen by obeying the rules of an afternoon tea party.

If you had looked closely, you might have noticed that the “mobs” you refer to were a diverse group of people of all colors and all ages. You might even have noticed that some of them looked like me, a 61-year-old white woman from Newtown.

You are living in an old paradigm, and your view of the world, like it or not, is in the rear-view mirror. This “small minority of unelected persons” is rather the growing clamor of diverse people demanding that the elevated concepts laid out in our most sacred American documents become reality for all of us.

Benay Yaffe

15 Obtuse Road, Newtown June 30, 2020

Comments are open. Be civil.

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