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January 26, 2011

Inbox — Jan. 26, 2011

Letters to the Editor

Not Fitting In

Dear Senator Rand Paul,

As your employer — the people of Kentucky — I wish to discuss your work performance since you became our U.S. senator in January. To begin with, you work hard, show up on time and handle yourself in public so well. But I’m afraid you just aren’t fitting in.

You see, the surname “Paul” is Scottish. And census figures from last year show only 2 percent of Kentuckians describe themselves as Scottish in origin, and just 2.1 percent as Scotch-Irish. So, to preserve morale here, and so you may be where you are more comfortable, we are going to have to let you go. Please don’t get us wrong; this is nothing against you personally. You are in every way a credit to your race, but we think a German-American (16.1 percent of us), Irish-American (13.1 percent) or African-American (7.5) would be better suited.

Now, senator, imagine really being told the above. Millions of Americans callously were, before the Civil Rights Act became law in 1964. It prevents firing you because of your national origin. However, beware — there is a lawmaker newly in Washington who has said he would have voted against that act. I suggest you get in touch with him and ask him to reconsider — before his sentiment carries the day.

Oh, if you do find yourself out of a job, don’t worry. There’s always sports, and I hear you people are all great at golf.

George Morrison, Original Highlands

Here Come the Denials

For much too long, various segments of our nation have been guilty of excessive, hateful political rhetoric. As can be expected, eventually someone who is mentally sick and devoid of human compassion will act out his/her delusions in a grisly and disturbing manner that brings shame to all of us.

As can be expected and right on time, groups and individuals who have used such techniques for political gain now rush to deny any culpability for the results. They all maintain that the evil acts were those of a deranged personality, therefore, they say that they share none of the blame.

They are right. They were not directly or implicitly responsible, and none can prove otherwise. Yet, hateful bombast does have results. It’s just that we are unable to actually prove the connection. It’s really a simple technique: call your opponents every nasty term possible, claim that they are planning to destroy our country, and whisper they are involved in secret conspiracies. The intent is to demean and destroy those whose views you do not try to understand or share.

Then the shoe drops and some misfit takes the law into his own hands, and, sure enough, those who helped build the enmity now rush to explain profusely how they could not possibly be responsible.

Let’s see what happens when the cameras move on to new events and the recent horror fades into oblivion. Will we experience a new political atmosphere that allows us to disagree without being disagreeable? I hope so, but if the perpetrator, the one who pulls the trigger, is the only one responsible, I doubt we will see much of a change.

Irvin Goldstein, Hikes Point

Preventing Violence

The shootings in Tucson are a dramatic reminder that we are one of the world’s most violent societies. Violence governs our foreign relations, our sports and video games, and our daily diet.

Yes, our diet. Desensitization to violence begins in the home, when parents assure their naturally inquisitive, animal-loving children that chickens “give” eggs, cows “give” milk, and that pigs “give” their flesh for us to eat. The horrific daily violence and barbaric slaughter visited on these innocent animals and subsidized by us at the checkout counter gets buried in our subconscious mind.

Once our kids have learned to live with the violence of their diet, how much of a stretch is it to while away their idle hours on video games like “Mortal Kombat,” “Manhunt” or “Grand Theft Auto”? How likely is this experience then to govern how they resolve a social confrontation in their neighborhood or a military one in an Afghan village? Most of us abhor violence, but we don’t know how to prevent it. Giving our kids an honest answer when they ask, “Mommy, where do hamburgers come from?” is certainly a great start.

Lyle Nitter, Downtown