Vice President Mike Pence follows President Donald Trump as he arrives to speak about the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Monday, Aug. 5.

Cal Thomas manages to inject enough truth in his reprimand of Democrats use of "racism" to make a small wound. However, he has the same failing as most of us; he takes a stand and refuses to let facts get in the way. There are enough failed representatives in both major parties to cry "shame." What Thomas does not acknowledge is poor leadership and lack of responsibility at the top.

If Democrats are sounding the clarion call of racism, it's not their default, but an accurate description. The fact is that President Donald Trump is a racist and has been since he and his father refused to rent apartments to African Americans.

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Baltimore is a beautiful city, and yes, there are slums and a large rodent population. Most urban areas can claim the same, and obviously, it's not ideal. But Trump did not attack U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings because of the condition of his city. He did so because Cummings is a black man, much as he acted with the four women of color when he advised them to go back where they came from.

Being white is having power, and the Republican U.S. Senate means to keep it that way. I recently came across the idea that laws passed by people in power were meant to keep them in power, and if true, then our Senate is surely giddy with influence.

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When the president spoke to the nation recently, he seemed to keep his eyes open just enough to read the script. He ought to have used them to look into our soul. We are basically a good people, and mostly free, but now we need to be brave.

Money is power; it's useful to have as well as necessary. What is missing from the White House is using it for public good, for our general welfare, which includes physical safety and health support. Instead, Trump and his coterie use it to reinforce negatives and racism and make their wealthy friends richer.

On Saturday a Mexican mother shielded her baby as bullets tore up a Walmart. Is she any different from any other mother, and shouldn't her death be a signal of our sameness?

I agree with Thomas that not all Republicans or senators are racist. But it's also fair to say that it's not just melanin that they lack. It's also courage.

Laura Barnes

garden consultant

New Orleans