The (Youngstown) Vindicator
This (past) weekend marks the first anniversary of one of modern America’s darkest days. It was one year ago Sunday when racial hatred and extreme nationalism exploded into violence and bloodshed on the streets of historic Charlottesville, Va.
There, bands of Neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan sympathizers and other white supremacists openly and brutally fought with those daring to challenge their twisted thinking.
In the end, one counterdemonstrator was mowed over and killed by an Ohio adherent of Adolf Hitler, dozens of others were injured, and two Virginia State Police troopers died in a crash of the helicopter they were using to monitor the protest.
One year later, it would be somewhat comforting to note that over the course of the past 12 months, America has learned some lessons from that bloody Saturday near the University of Virginia.
We are, however, largely at a loss to find such comfort in abundant supply. Once again, the prophets of hate have planned demonstrations and marches to mark the anniversary and shamefully attempt to legitimize their racist doctrines.
Though some reports indicate that some of the white nationalist and extreme right-wing organizations have splintered over the past year partly over legal entanglements stemming from the Charlottesville debacle, many of us cannot help but feel as if time has essentially stood still since that day of unmitigated evil and rage.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Kudos to Ohio Sens. Rob Portman, a Cincinnati-area Republican, and Sherrod Brown, a Cleveland Democrat, & to Ohio’s House delegation, for securing $300 million — full funding — for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The Senate last week approved that amount after the House already okayed it, so the $300 million likely will stay when the two bills are melded, as cleveland.com’s Sabrina Eaton reported.
Also critical to this outcome: U.S. Rep. David Joyce, a Bainbridge Township Republican, who, with Michigan Democrat Sander Levin, marshaled House support.
President Donald Trump tried to slash the program after, earlier, wanting to zero it out. But, as Portman said after the Senate decided on full funding, Lake Erie and the rest of the Great Lakes are too important to cast off for spurious reasons. They "provide drinking water for 40 million people, contribute $10 billion in tourism each year, and support hundreds of thousands of jobs across the region."
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has more than paid for itself in demonstrable economic and resource gains. Full funding of the initiative shows what constructive, bipartisan legislating can produce when Congress focuses on problems — not politicking.
The Toledo Blade
Free speech is tricky. Apply the protection of free speech, and the standard of wide tolerance for freedom of expression, to one case, and it has a way of suggesting itself to another.
Restrict speech and expression in one instance and the same restriction may eventually be applied to thee — the pet cause of the person who restricted or restrained speech.
Free speech is a seamless garment. It protects people protesting excessive police violence and people protesting gang violence and the lack of adequate police protection. It also protects the opinions of Alex Jones and Louis Farrakhan.
This does not mean that discerning purveyors, or consumers, of information must treat all speech as equal. Some porn sites are actually a recruitment mechanism for human trafficking.
But it does mean that open societies, when they err, should err on the side of openness and trust of the citizens.