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The Readers' Forum: Monday letters
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The Readers’ Forum

The Readers' Forum: Monday letters

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Dwindling numbers

I appreciate the Dec. 21 letter “Our democracy” and I agree that something needs to be done to restore faith in elections.

But you can’t solve a problem until you identify the problem.

The root of the problem is this: Republican leaders like it this way. They’re purposely undermining election confidence in a last-ditch effort to cling to power.

The population is shifting away from conservative dogma. Younger people know better.

But rather than try to alter or modernize its dogma to appeal to more people, the GOP has invested in white grievance (over shifting demographics), gerrymandering and the Big Lie that if they lose, it must be because Democrats cheated.

The sheer numbers tell a different story.

There are honorable Republicans who see and acknowledge this truth and are begging their party to change, but the corrupt Republicans identify them as RINOs (Republicans in Name Only).

The only true solution to this is for Republicans to see the truth, but they won’t, so I don’t know what else we can do except outvote them as their numbers dwindle. The more quickly the Republican Party becomes a permanent losing minority party, the better for America.

Howard Greene

Winston-Salem

Reading proficiency

I commend Lisa O’Donnell for her reporting on community efforts to improve reading proficiency (“‘A universe of potential,’” Dec. 18). As Nicolette Grant, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools’ chief academic officer, noted, “The transition from learning to read to reading to learn is really a pivotal moment.” Amen!

I serve as a tutor and the current board chair of Read Write Spell, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary supporting that transition by recruiting and training volunteer tutors to serve students learning to read. Read Write Spell is a partner with Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools and Project Impact in the Reading Warriors Program, targeted to the key kindergarten and first grade years. Read Write Spell also offers the Augustine Literacy Project to second graders and above. Both are based upon the Science of Reading, a body of research that defines how the brain learns to read. Tools that work best are phonics and comprehension exercises.

School Superintendent Tricia McManus has created a key goal of achieving 90% third grade reading proficiency in each district school by 2025. She recognizes the opportunity created by the alignment of nonpartisan legislation (passed by the N.C. General Assembly in April) with local community efforts. The legislation calls for retraining teachers in the Science of Reading, supported by intervention for students below grade-proficiency level. The Reading Warriors and Augustine programs are designed to provide that intervention.

Read Write Spell is committed to reaching that objective. If you are interested in tutoring, please go to info@readws.org.

Peter Hellebush

Chair, Read Write Spell Advisory Board

Winston-Salem

U.S. democracy

Dana Milbank’s Dec. 20 column “We are too close to civil war,” on the likelihood of civil war in the United States, contained a puzzling passage. According to an index used to measure the quality of a democracy, the United States has become a partial democracy under former President Trump “for the first time since 1800.” You mean to tell me the United States was a full democracy when Franklin D. Roosevelt interred an entire race of people in concentration camps because they all might be Japanese spies? We were considered a full democracy when, until our first Civil War, Black people were literally property? Did someone with even a drop of melanin have any part in designing this index?

Another passage claims that “we are no longer the world’s oldest democracy … that honor is now held by Switzerland.” There is no mention of the Haudenosaunee (also known as the Iroquois) who have had a democratic confederation in what is now the Northeast since their inception as an ethnicity, far sooner than Swiss people even existed as a geopolitical concept.

I don’t doubt that the United States may be verging on civil war, but don’t be so naive as to act as if this country was ever more of a democracy than it was now. The whole country was conceived of as a tax dodge by white male slave owners, and it wants to clutch its pearls about losing legitimacy?

John Belmont

Winston-Salem

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We are one year into the Biden administration and everything he has done has been a huge disaster. I guess liberals would like to blame that on Donald Trump, but guess what, he is no longer president, unfortunately!

I am sure I will be attacked by other frequent contributors to the Readers’ Forum. Many letters seem to suggest that all Republicans share the same views and should be treated with disdain.

In response to the Jan. 9 letter “Move on,” the fact that former President Trump and so many of his followers refuse to “move on” from the Big Lie is the reason President Biden and others must continue to condemn the events of Jan. 6, 2021, so vociferously.

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