Campaign funding out of control; needs reforming
The biggest problem with American political elections is not the fictitious fraud touted by Republicans but campaign finance reform.
Ever since the Citizens United U.S. Supreme Court decision that the free speech clause of the First Amendment prohibits restricting donations to political campaigns by corporations, a flood of huge campaign donations, along with so-called “dark money,” has inundated our elections and is turning us into a plutocracy ruled by billionaires and mega-corporations.
In the 2020 election campaign, the most expensive in our history, more than $14 billion was spent, money which could have funded much more worthy causes.
The only avenue to meaningful change in campaign financing is to reverse Citizens United in favor of a system of public funding that will confine contributions to those of private citizens while limiting how much of that money can be spent. Reducing the campaign season to five weeks would also reduce expenditures. Only in this way can campaign funding become transparent and manageable.
LUCAS CARPENTER, CONYERS
Opinion view misrepresented intent of antisemitism bill
A recent opinion piece, “Ga.’s HB30 bill would be used to suppress criticism of Israel, (AJC.com, Mar. 1), completely misrepresented HB30, the bill to define antisemitism in the Georgia Code, which would use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism to assess the intent behind unlawful discrimination or hate crimes (not speech). It also misrepresented the feelings of the Jewish community, whom its authors do not speak for.
Those authors actually admitted that HB30 does not silence speech about Israel or about Jews, but claim they are still worried that a bill outlawing discriminating against Jews or committing hate crimes against Jews would somehow chill free speech. They are legally wrong. A unanimous Supreme Court in “Wisconsin vs. Mitchell” said that the evidentiary use of speech to prove intent in discrimination does not affect or chill free speech. That is just how anti-discrimination laws work.
Next, the authors gave a list of examples in which they feel anti-Israel critics were silenced. Put aside that they mischaracterized what happened in each instance. Not a single example had anything to do with the IHRA definition, or this bill.
Most importantly, the authors misrepresented the greater Jewish community. There is a consensus about both the IHRA Definition and this bill in the Jewish community both in and out of Georgia. Representatives of over 90% of Jews in Georgia have either testified in favor of HB30 or signed their names in support. Of course, Jews are not monolithic and there are tiny fringe groups, like the ones these authors work for, who oppose them. But they are the outliers who feel a need to distort the truth.
We sincerely hope no one is confused by their misrepresentations.
STATE REP. JOHN CARSON; STATE REP. ESTHER PANITCH; MARK GOLDFEDER, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL JEWISH ADVOCACY CENTER; DOV WILKER, ATLANTA REGIONAL DIRECTOR, AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE
Don’t let ‘victimology’ stand in the way of success
I question our country’s obsession with promoting and using “victimology,” especially regarding African-American development or lack thereof over many decades. We read and hear so many personalized accounts and stories about how difficult victims’ lives have been because they suffered under versions of “white supremacy.”
My real question is why some Black Americans are very successful and quite competitive in today’s technologically oriented world? They, for one, don’t need victimology; they just work hard, study hard, compete hard and lead well-rounded lives and usually come from strong families with a mother and father.
Athletes and celebrities are the exceptions; they are blessed at birth with skills most humans do not have, which helps them be more successful if they refine those skills with hard work. Life is learning to manage and confront our lesser skills and weaknesses without becoming an overly pathetic victim who expects someone else to labor on our behalf.
RUSSELL ARMER, WOODSTOCK