Letters for Sunday, October 12, 2008

• Beyond the pale

• Column strongest possible argument

• Rescue us

Beyond the pale

Your decision to carry the National Review slime of Barack Obama and to promote it by calling Obama an “abortion menace” in the front page lead-in was beyond the pale of good journalism (“The Obama abortion menace,” Media Voices, Oct. 11).   

I just subscribed for another year and now am right on the edge of leaving. I have never seen the left wing equivalent that would somehow provide “balance” to what you have just done. And I’m not asking for it either. I just object to character assassination and mud slinging any time.

Abortion is a difficult issue that great theologians in many churches, including Catholics, have struggled with for hundreds of years. There are excellent ethical arguments on both sides of the issue.

You chose the dirtiest path of smear politics to portray Obama in a manner that does nothing to illuminate the discussion with regard to abortion, and does everything possible to promote public fear and distrust in an intelligent and honorable man. We have seen “honor” and “patriotism” and “faith” as they are used in the past 50 years of the Republican Party. Fear and smear political journalism is a menace we should worry about. And we should protect the woman’s right to choose her own path in one of life’s most difficult situations.

I wish we had a more ethical daily paper on Kaua‘i. At this point, I think you deserve to go under. You have shouted “fire” in a crowded theater.

• David Roach, Kapa‘a

Column strongest possible argument

I am all for presenting the views of conservative columnists, but certainly The Garden Island can find a more worthy candidate than Kathryn Jean Lopez (“The Obama abortion menace,” Media Voices, Oct. 11).

Her continual religious ranting on abortion is getting rather old. She and her ilk want to have it both ways: as a Catholic she supports abstinence and opposes sex education and contraception, yet she is seemingly aghast at the predictable outcome of such policies, namely unwanted pregnancies and the termination thereof. In her latest column, Lopez rails against, and vastly distorts, Senator Obama’s record and position on abortion rights. How thrilled she must be to have a vice-presidential candidate who opposes abortion under any circumstances, and who has a pregnant 17-year-old daughter and Down syndrome child to prove it. But it is Obama who is in the mainstream on these issues as polls consistently show that the majority of Americans do not favor government interference in the reproductive rights of women.   

For example, 80 percent to 90 percent of Down pregnancies are terminated in the U.S., yet Lopez would like to enforce her will on the American public to prevent this.

On the other hand, perhaps The Garden Island should continue with her columns, as she unwittingly presents the strongest possible arguments for separation of church and state and the non-politicization of abortion.        

• Robin Clark, Kalaheo

Rescue us

After this obscene bailout/rescue plan for Republican Wall Street tycoons, bankers and mortgage companies, I never again want to hear them crying their usual chant of “Get the government out of our lives,” or “Let the free market decide,” or “Deregulate us; leave us alone.”

And after Bush’s history of rewarding — with outrageous no-bid contracts — his cronies, the oil companies, the military-industrial contractors such as Halliburton, etc., I never again expect to hear one single Republican saying to the poor, “Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps,” or “You should be ashamed to accept government welfare,” or “Take responsibility for your own lives and stop depending on the government.”

Is that too much to ask of these greedy, selfish, self-centered Republicans?

While all those uppity-ups are celebrating their slick and fast maneuver of pulling the wool over the eyes of Congress, millions of older Americans are living on much smaller Social Security checks than they were entitled to, because another Republican (Reagan) pushed through a punitive “reform” of Social Security benefits in 1987. We the people get “reform” while the wealthy, reckless and greedy get “rescue.” In addition, I recommend that people google the recent story of the 90-year-old woman who attempted suicide because of her mortgage crisis.

It’s no accident that this bailout/rescue happened at lightning speed, compared to the usually slow, plodding pace in Washington, nor that Bush was waiting at his desk, pen in hand, ready to sign it before the ink was dry. The speed was deliberate, done so that average people who were working on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, had no time to even call or e-mail their senators and congressional representatives to protest — or even to find out the details of what was going on.

Compare the speed of this legislation with the snail’s pace of any legislation designed to help everyday Americans. How long do hardworking Americans at the lowest level have to wait for a raise in the minimum wage? Ten years? Twelve years? I for one appreciate the person who cleans public restrooms and the person who labors in a hot kitchen to prepare food for me more than I do the politicians who give in to the slightest pressure when the going gets tough.

For Congress to say that the final bill they passed gives relief to average Americans as well as to Wall Street is ridiculous. Raising the limit on FDIC deposits from $100,000 to $250,000?

First of all, most people don’t have $100,000 in the bank — and even if they did have several hundred thousand, all they ever had to do was keep several $100,000 accounts in different banks. Thanks for the “gift” Congress, but no thanks.

My parents were teenagers when the Great Depression hit. They had not yet even met, and each was still living at home. Sadly, each had lost a parent very early. My mother at age 2 and my Father at age 8. In those days, with no government assistance whatsoever, both families struggled in spite of keen intelligence and resourcefulness in both families. That economic depression made a lasting impression on my parents. Even after they met, married and became financially secure (middle-class style), they were always very frugal, never wasting anything, never taking anything for granted, and always putting aside some money every month for a “rainy day.”

Of course, all those Republicans who claim to be “compassionate” will vote for billionaire John McCain, with his seven — no, eight — luxury homes around the world, to “lead” us.

On Nov. 4, elect a democratic president to lead us out of the quagmires of Iraq (billions spent every week) and the other expensive war on average Americans ($700 billion and counting).

• Barbara Elmore, Lihu‘e


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