Inbox — Nov. 30, 2011

Letters to the Editor

Compensation, Not Reparation
Regarding Michael L. Jones’ “American Slaves Inc.” (LEO Weekly, Nov. 16), President Lincoln’s second inaugural address got it right. America paid for its sin of slavery with the Civil War and more than 600,000 dead, 1861-1865. That bloody “new birth of freedom” also required a Civil Rights struggle in which both whites and blacks died, 1950s-1970s, before our first African-American president was elected in 2008.

Rather than ask for reparations for today’s descendants of former slaves, as Mr. Shelton proposes, I wonder if — in light of the careers of both Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain — it is more appropriate for today’s citizens of African descent who have gained great wealth to create a Compensation Fund for those descendants who are white, of the U.S. armed forces, 1861-1865, who died in the Civil War so “all men and women could be free.” I envision Mr. Shelton and First Lady Michelle Obama hosting a TV extravaganza to raise money for this “Compensate The White Men In Blue Who Bled Red for Freedom Fund.” African-American sports figures, businessmen and politicos could star. Cain could sing a few songs about his “respect” for women — white, black, brown or yellow — while Justice Thomas could do a song and dance. Compensate descendants of those who bled red, although white, who wore the blue. No reparations for the likes of a Herman Cain or Associate Justice Clarence Thomas in 2011.
David Eugene Blank, Highlands

Mean in the End
Joe Sonka’s Nov. 16 article about the fall elections and David Williams was insightful and balanced. But I think he worked too hard in his efforts to explain Williams’ defeat. It’s really not so complicated. Molly Ivins’ rule of Texas politics appears to apply to Kentucky in reverse. As she wrote many times, “Texans like their politicians mean.”

I’d say Kentuckians are the opposite. We don’t like meanness in our politics. When money is not the overriding factor, we tend to elect even-tempered people like Yarmuth, Beshear, Grayson and Rodgers. When the plutocrats flood our elections with cash, however, we can get distracted by their attack ads and vote contrary to our nature. That’s essentially how we end up with meanies like McConnell and Bunning.
Tom Louderback, Highlands

Quick Question
Just a few questions. So we’re going to tax the wealthy to solve all the country’s financial problems? Fine, let’s do it. But anyone with rudimentary math skills can figure out that you could tax the wealthy until they’re the poorest people on earth, and you still wouldn’t have enough to pay for even one week of government spending. So, what are we going to do the next week, when the wealthy no longer exist, and we’re right back where we are today?

As I understand it, this “revolution” we’re hearing about is about the downtrodden and oppressed rising up, taking over and making the rules from now on, making everything fair and equal. But if the downtrodden and oppressed always have the most legitimate claim to power, what are we going to do when the oppressors have been subjugated, we’re all equal, and there are no more downtrodden and oppressed to dictate the rules?

Once we’re all equal, I assume this equality is going to be enforced, right? Otherwise, what’s the point? You say you want equal opportunity for all, so what are you going to do when someone takes the same opportunity you had and dreams bigger, works harder, makes better decisions, and achieves more than you did, thus creating an inequality between the two of you? Inequality is an inevitable byproduct of freedom. To eliminate all inequality, you’re going to have to eliminate people’s freedom to achieve all they are capable of. Or, is inequality OK as long as the people you don’t like end up at the bottom?

Well, that’s all … for now. I have plenty more irritating questions where those came from. In the meantime, I’ll listen for the answers.
Tim Retallack, Buechel