To the Editor:

The last issue contained a letter to the editor titled “The Fourth of July should be a time for unity.” The author claimed the city council’s vote to stop reciting the Pledge of Allegiance “is ironic.”

The author writes that the “bold experiment” of electing one’s own representatives “works.” In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling that federal courts cannot judge in gerrymandering cases, it is ironic to blindly accept this notion. In the dissenting opinion, Justice Elena Kagan wrote of the foundations of our system of government, “None is more important than free and fair elections.” Is an election free and fair if Republican candidates in North Carolina received 50.3% of the overall vote but correspondingly won 10 out of the 13 congressional seats in 2018?

To justify the idea that the U.S. will remain a nation in which “everyone is treated with dignity,” the author gives a rhetorical suggestion to “ask someone from a communist country if they want to go back.” This is where the utmost irony exists, coming at a time of such nauseating human rights violations at the border. At a “Close the Camps” protest, an immigrant speaker emphasized that migrants enduring the journey to the U.S. are not coming out of simple want; rather, dire situations in their home countries force them to leave.

Seemingly absent from mainstream media is the U.S. role in creating such conditions. A few examples include overthrowing democratically elected President Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, training the Battalion 316 death squad that targeted Honduran activists in the 1980s, supporting the right-wing Honduran government following the 2009 coup, and giving $39 million to the Honduran police and military in the 2017 fiscal year (despite atrocities such as the killing of indigenous activists by the military).

So, who cares what a former resident of a communist country thinks? Instead, we should all care about what a minority group thinks about having their voting power suppressed, or what a migrant feels when a root cause of their hardship is denying them their humanity.

Jack Ostrovsky

St. Louis Park

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