Letters to the Editor

Impeachment trial warranted

Senators Young and Braun need to set politics aside and look at the activities that have led up to this impeachment. Clearly, Trump has obstructed the investigation by ordering officials not to testify, and at the same time regaling media outlets that the process has been one-sided. If there were evidence that the White House could provide to show that Trump did not instruct staff to withhold Congressionally-appropriated funds from Ukraine contingent on investigation into Biden, it should have been done in committee. Since it was not, the impeachment deserves a Senate trial with witness testimony to determine what was or was not done with respect to the Ukraine funding and the Biden investigation.

— HEATHER DODDS

New Albany

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Floyd County Democrat party chair: Unity editorial divisive

I and many of my fellow party members were disappointed in your recent editorial titled “I swear we’ll get along.” This article, drawing upon a comment made by Republican Council member Al Knable and published on the same day our party was holding a celebration in honor of our incoming officeholders, criticized the fact each party was holding separate Oath of Office ceremonies. While we appreciate a sentiment of unity after any election, the criticism struck us as both uninformed and disingenuous. Neither the councilman nor the newspaper had reached out to our leadership to understand the history behind these ceremonies and the nature of our specific event, to inquire about undertaking a unified program or promote any sense of bipartisanship.

Indeed, from a historical standpoint, each political party has for decades organized its own Oath of Office event with the 2015 ceremony being the only exception. These events are a celebration of the accomplishments of our officeholders-elect and a capstone to a hard-fought campaign. Over time these events have grown in both scale and function with our party using the opportunity to not only install our officeholders, but also celebrate the holiday season as a party family and kick-off the next election cycle by introducing new candidates, collecting signatures for ballot petitions and raising funds to replenish campaign accounts. These are activities that certainly would be difficult to include as part of a joint function. Regardless of the nature of the ceremony, let it be clear that our party welcomed individuals to attend and advertised our event as free and open to the public.

Ironically, the joint 2015 ceremony, held in conjunction with the annual Light Up New Albany holiday celebration, was criticized by some as politicizing an otherwise apolitical community event. After Democrats reached out in 2015 to make that event happen, there was no reciprocation in 2016 or 2018. Whatever the right time and place, a joint exercise also raises other questions such as who should organize such a function, who covers the cost, and who sets the program agenda?

Holding separate ceremonies is also not unusual in other communities. Political parties in neighboring counties, such as Clark County, have already held similar events. It’s unclear why the News and Tribune chose to single out those in Floyd County, but perhaps the editors failed to research the issue.

Most regrettably, the criticism, while purported in a spirit of unity, has only served to divide us further. Partisans were just moving past the political wounds experienced in this campaign. Instead of taking a more productive stance to reach out and learn more, the critics have torn open old rifts, hardened resentments and added new fuel to partisan fires. Some openly question if that was the point all together – to cause division.

The reality is a ceremony alone doesn’t bring unity. Only honest dialogue and a genuine effort to find common ground accomplishes that feat. Our Democratic Party’s officeholders will always be ready to work together with our counterparts from other political persuasions when those attributes are offered. Until then, let’s give everyone the opportunity to celebrate their party’s political success and not begrudge the other guy for how they choose to organize it.

— ADAM DICKEY

Chair

Floyd County Democratic Party

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Join effort to end sexual assaults

“Too afraid and embarrassed to scream. Thought it was my fault.”

Written on a slip of paper, those brief bursts of words (like the others in italics below) tell the story of one Indiana woman’s sexual assault. Simultaneously, they represent the experiences of far too many women.

This happens more often than you’d think: One out of five Hoosier females has been sexually assaulted. And Indiana ranks fourth-highest in the nation for the number of reported rapes among high school girls.

That means we should see more than 650,000 sexual assaults reported each year. But we don’t, because 85 percent of sexual assaults are not reported. Why? Because victims feel they will not be believed or they will be blamed.

The truth is, addressing sexual violence is tough. As a society, we don’t like to talk about sex — we find it embarrassing and improper — let alone sexual violence. But we can’t keep quiet any longer. We must talk about this difficult topic, because our silence is robbing women of their freedom from fear, and our unwillingness to hear their pain affects their lives every day.

“I left that job because management and HR didn’t believe me.”

Having seen the state resist for too long traditional efforts to drive change, a coalition of Indiana individuals and organizations is using art and community action to ensure that women’s voices are heard and change is achieved. Women4Change and the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault are leading this yearlong creative initiative called El Tendedero/The Clothesline Indiana.

Based on an art installation first presented by artist Monica Mayer in Mexico City in 1978, it incorporates the power of stories shared on postcards.

“I was never told coercion was not consensual.”

We invite survivors to share stories by anonymously answering questions on postcards that will be hung on clotheslines at the Indiana Statehouse on March 5. Postcards include such questions as “Have you ever experienced sexual violence or harassment? What happened?” and “Where do you feel safe? Why?”

You can also share stories at https://www.women4changeindiana.org/the-clothesline.

Our goal is to let women know that we hear them, and we aren’t going to ignore what’s happening to them. At the same time, we want to equip and inspire women — and all Hoosiers — to learn who represents them in the Indiana General Assembly and to engage with those representatives.

— TRACEY HORTH KRUEGER

Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault

Indianapolis

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Democrats' actions off-putting

Well here comes the current flames and fury that will mean absolutely nothing. Certain high-ranking lawmaker individuals have decided to light their torches and run through the streets completely naked in order to unknowingly expose themselves as total lunatics. Of course, the lunatics have not realized how history will be written. When history is written, they will be compared to all future lunacy endeavors.

These lunatics worked so very hard for several years using multi-millions of our tax dollars to get to nowhere. Some of them even have much higher goals of nowhere.

The last time I voted for president I voted for Barack Obama. However, after watching the current embarrassing antics of the Democratic lunatic leadership, I hope to never vote for a Democrat again!

— GREG JONES

Jeffersonville

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