April 29, 2008

Erosia (Letters to the Editor)

LEO welcomes letters that are brief (250 words max) and thoughtful. Ad hominem attacks will be ignored, and we need your name and a daytime phone number. Send snail mail to EROSIA, 640 S. Fourth St., Louisville, Ky. 40202. Fax to 895-9779 or e-mail to leo@leoweekly.com. We may edit for length, grammar and clarity.Fair and BalancedLEO is not known for its balance when addressing issues involving evangelical Christianity. But I happily commend Stephen George for his open-minded examination of Sojourn in “Smells Like Holy Spirit” (LEO, April 9). The anticipated hysteria came from “progressively”-minded letter writers in Erosia. Attacks included the phrases “… the stench of patriarchy” and “... your typical, right-wing nuthouse preaching prejudice and hate,” to “… a bunch of homophobes who treat women as second-class citizens …” and a statement even equating Sojourn with white supremacists.Before the term “tolerance” was co-opted by the Left and raped of its meaning, it once meant respect toward those whose opinions or beliefs DIFFER from your own. Unfortunately, modern liberal thought, while giving lip service to diversity of thought, only holds credible what it espouses while hurling contempt upon those who think otherwise. Liberals are enlightened while the other side is not only wrong but also stupid, narrow-minded and undeserving of consideration. Thus, they are not debated. They are maligned with labels (homophobe, bigot, racist, zealot, etc.), and their intelligence or motives questioned. So, while many who regard themselves as liberals cry for tolerance, they don’t extend it to others, like Sojourn. They decry hate and prejudice, yet they self-righteously hate and prejudge — even down to expressing suspicion because Sojourners don’t “look” like evangelicals (this coming from those who supposedly embrace the idea of breaking down stereotypes) and their community service … a nefarious attempt at takeover.While Sojourn does uphold the Biblical teaching that homosexuality is a sin (one of many common to humanity), I would bet that the average gay person would be treated with much more respect at Sojourn than an evangelical Christian is in LEO’s Erosia and many of its past articles. I think many on the Left need to confront some of their own hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance.Ray Rieck, LouisvilleAnother Dangerous IntersectionI enjoyed your article “Crosswalks to Bear” very much, especially the wit and candor in the 11 articles dedicated to particular intersections in Louisville (April 16, LEO). As a TARC rider, a motorist to work two days per week and a person working in the center of downtown, I was quite familiar with most of the sites listed with the exception of Dixie Highway at Greenwood Road/St. Andrews Church Road. (I will certainly take you on your word of the danger involved.)I recently moved from Fern Creek (one block from the intersection of Bardstown Road and Hurstbourne Lane). Crossing Hurstbourne from the side of the street where the BP Station is located is not problematic since there is a walk signal, a crosswalk and ample time allotted to cross the street (i.e. more than five seconds). If the pedestrian is crossing the street from the opposite corner of Hurstbourne, it is a bit trickier now that Hurstbourne has been extended beyond Bardstown Road, and there are three lanes to cross, a median and then another two lanes. This is still feasible for an agile and quick-minded pedestrian.Now, crossing Bardstown Road at the corner of Hurstbourne Lane utilizing the walk sign is a death wish. It is common knowledge that the only way to cross Bardstown Road at Hurstbourne is to walk past the intersection, and then jaywalk across two lanes to the median, stand on the median while cars and commercial trucks whiz by, nearly blowing you down, until the coast is clear to scamper (no, one does not tarry) across the other two lanes. Every year at least two pedestrians are killed at that intersection. If one attempts to walk in the crosswalk waiting for the walk sign (which takes a good while), the walk light allots only five seconds. This means that motorists turning left and right then have a green arrow and, of course, are not going to yield to the pedestrian.I concur with your assessment of the most dangerous crosswalks in Louisville but wanted to add this one, if only to commemorate the memory of those who have lost their lives at the Bardstown Road and Hurstbourne Lane intersection. Thanks for taking the time to read this.Yvonna Brown, LouisvilleProgressive OffenseI’m writing in response to Jim Welp’s commentary titled “A cry for secession” in which he jokingly suggested Louisville secede from the rest of Kentucky (LEO, April 16). I understand that this commentary was written tongue-in-cheek, but as a fellow progressive and Kentucky native, I was very offended. First off, I take offense to his depiction of a “mildly-retarded state-worker pool” in terms of the worker force in Frankfort. As an educator, I have worked closely with a number of students who have varying degrees of mental disability, and most of them have much more common sense than the majority of the politicians in Frankfort. Secondly, Welp seems to have a distorted view of many of the impoverished people of our commonwealth. He refers to “country cousins” who “smoke their Luckies” and “snort their Oxy” and blames the poor decisions of some of our fellow citizens for higher taxes in terms of helping to cover the costs of healthcare. Welp is perpetuating a stereotype of poor, rural Kentuckians that makes him look elitist and snobby. I am an urban progressive too, but I feel it is my duty to try to help advocate for the poorest citizens of our commonwealth and to help educate them to make better decisions. I am a teacher at Western MST High School in Shively, and we have some of the poorest test scores in the state. However, instead of blaming my students, many of whom come from extremely impoverished families, for the poor decisions that some make, I try to educate them so that some might make better decisions. I feel that this will help everyone, since, as Welp points out, all of us can be affected by the poor decisions of a few. As progressives, our duty should be to advocate and educate everybody, but not to separate ourselves from anybody. We are all in this together.John Beechem, LouisvilleKentucky Be DamnedI thought I was the only person in Louisville who thinks this city ought to secede from Kentucky. Now your columnist, Jim Welp, fires an opening shot. This is an idea whose time is long past coming. We need to start organizing.Let’s get real, folks. Louisville has about as much in common with Kentucky as New York City with upstate or Chicago with downstate. There’s no love lost. The only time the rest of the state looks kindly upon us is when the General Assembly is in session. We’re like their favorite drunken uncle. They know they can pick our pockets with impunity. For our part, Louisville is always having to sheepishly explain to the rest of the civilized world that the only reason we’re forced to put Kentucky behind that comma is because the Ohio River didn’t snake far enough south around the Devonian outcrop 20,000 years ago.The tax and economic benefits of secession alone are incalculable. All the taxes we currently pay to prop up Kentucky’s other 119 counties would stay here instead. We’d automatically become one of the richest states, per capita, in the union. Property taxes would go down. We’d have so much to spend, we’d run a surplus every year.Politically, as the 51st state, we’d be the beneficiaries of a great more federal largesse. We already have our own congressman. Why not add two senators to the mix? Metro Council would become our state legislature. How much closer to the people can you get? And how would it feel to have our own star in the flag? The prestige of being the nation’s 51st state would attract so much business, we’d have to have a second mayor just to handle it all.Why don’t we just lay the cards on the table? Louisville doesn’t like Kentucky, and Kentucky doesn’t like us. We need to cut our losses and sever our ties so that this great city can move forward strongly and proudly toward the 22nd century, while the rest of the state slinks inexorably back toward the 13th.David Williams, Louisville