Erosia (Letters to the Editor) for 4-2-08

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 [email protected]. We may edit for length, grammar and clarity.

Honest Works
Doug Hawkins’ photo gives the visual to the schmuck he is described as in the article — smug, pompous and the ugly thing that gives good politicians a bad name (regarding the LEO news story “Credit where credit’s due,” March 26). Vicki Aubrey Welch looks like a hard-working person who wants her community to thrive, and being a nurse, she understands that healthy people make a healthy community. I think the politicians who do honest hard work to get things the community needs done and taken care of deserve to be recognized for the effort to get progression moving. Hawkins is trying to advance his political career; it’s obvious with his track record. He will do what he wants to get what he wants. Mrs. Welch, you go girl! Everyone at any job should receive credit for honest effort and hard work when trying to make things better for the common good of the environment in which they work and live.
Tiffy Lafferty, Louisville

Changes and Questions
Attn: Ricky L. Jones:
Only those who are unwilling to listen carefully to what Obama said are the ones still questioning why he never left the church. Obama rejected Wright’s divisive comments in his speech. But he also explained why he did not leave the church. He said that he could no more disown his pastor than he could the black community, or his white grandmother. His point being that he does not share the prejudiced views of Wright or his grandmother, he condemns them.

But at the same time, both sets of racist comments are shared by many in this country. As a result, to “disown” his pastor or grandmother for making such comments is to disown much of the country. It is to say that the situation is hopeless and nothing will ever change.

The character of a person is not solely defined by a few ignorant comments he might make over the course of his life. Do those comments erase all the good things Wright has done for the black community over his lifetime? Does it erase the loving way Obama’s grandmother raised him to be a good and honest person? Does it erase the fact that Wright served his country in the Marines? The answer is obviously no to all.

What is MORE indicative of a person’s character is their ability to see the mistakes they have made and take steps to fix them, no matter how long that might take some people. That is what Obama’s speech has called on all of us to do as a country, and it seems as though that is what is happening as the discussion about racism continues to break new ground.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in the famous “I Have a Dream Speech,” “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.” By opening up a new and constructive dialogue on racial tensions in America, Obama has put it closer to the day when we will judge people not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
Matthew H. Russell, Louisville

Hard Way to Learn

Cary Stemle’s column “Five years in Iraq” (LEO, March 26) raised some good points, but I think he oversimplified the situation faced by the Democrats in Congress. As he put it, “… Democrats who parlayed their war opposition into a Congressional majority, only to shrink from the challenge of ending the war because they’re afraid it may cost them something politically.”

In a position of power, themselves, the Democrats faced a cold and hard reality. Opposing a war on principal is much easier than getting out of it. That appears to be a lesson of history. We know, today, that we got into this war on false pretenses. But, that realization cannot reverse the damage done. We also know that our moral obligation to the Iraqi people runs very deep in this case because we attacked them first, and apparently without good cause. It’s very painful for us to admit this now.

Personally, I believe this means we need to thoroughly re-examine how our government makes decisions about its so-called war powers. We might begin by re-reading our Constitution, especially Article 1, Section 8. Maybe we also need to stop electing so many middle-aged war hawks who avoided war zone service when they were young.
Tom Louderback, Louisville

White Lies
“I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.” —Hillary Rodham Clinton, the week before last.
“So I misspoke.” —Hillary Rodham Clinton, last Monday. No, Hillary, you lied.
One would think that a graduate of the esteemed Wellesley College and Yale Law School, one who has been recognized as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America, one who aspires to be president of the United States, would know the difference between misspeaking and lying, especially considering the fact her husband was impeached for making the very same mistake.
No, Hillary, no matter how you try to spin it, you lied.
Dale Rhoades, Louisville