Inbox — July 17, 2013

Letters to the Editor

The Hope Continues
I share Inbox writer Roy Horner’s wish that black youth may be “graced with perseverance” essential to succeed (LEO Weekly, July 3).

As did he, I witnessed several gatherings by African-American Catholics in the 1980s and early ’90s who heard national and area black Catholic clergy deliver powerful talks, often to youth. Speakers’ messages, however, went well beyond the one Horner shares from a national conference in the mid-1990s, where a closing sermon exhorted the congregation to forget “Pharaoh,” which he interprets as a call to “quit blaming Jim Crow as the sinister figure who continues to obstruct the black American male …”

Many speakers I heard, including Father Giles Conwill, a Louisville native and cultural anthropologist, examined at length how Eurocentric history and culture were causing blacks to limit themselves and their children. Many listeners, including myself, realized how Jim Crow, which the letter dismisses as ancient history, actually lived on. Today, it ravages black hopes through what are plainly racially specific mandatory sentencing laws, which followed decades of job-killing de-industrialization of black neighborhoods, and which have made America the country that imprisons the largest percentage of its people of any nation (at least half of inmates nationally are non-violent offenders).

Today, policies made by partisan closed-door deals ensure maximum access to guns despite a genuine violence crisis, but reduce access to voting over a phony voter-fraud crisis.

Finally, for the politically and economically powerful to prescribe for the poor an abstinence-only model that they as a whole would never limit themselves to is cruel and futile.
George Morrison, Cherokee Triangle

Paul’s Honorable Option
Again, Sen. Rand Paul is questioned for the quality of his company and his poor judgment. Paul’s spokesperson tried to “explain” the “Southern Avenger” with a fox-guarding-the-henhouse sidestep. “Avenger” Jack Hunter said it was an “honor” to work for Paul, but was it honorable for Sen. Paul to hire Hunter? Why would a responsible U.S. senator select and defend someone who says the “craziest things”?

Wouldn’t a capable U.S. senator screen applicants? Why, exactly, was Hunter qualified? Why didn’t alarm bells go off at the get-go, and later, if Paul deplores racism? Either Paul looked the other way, or he is inept in staffing his Senate office. Either way, it’s a damning indicator of Paul’s competence and integrity. And Paul imagines himself ready for the White House.

Sen. Rand Paul disgraces our state, shames the U.S. Senate and makes a mockery of the U.S. presidency. Paul’s honorable option is to resign from the U.S. Senate.
Michael Gregoire, St. Matthews

No More War-Talk
We’re seeing plenty of attack ads on the airwaves and the Internet about “President Obama’s war on coal.” The point appears to be that enforcement of our clean-air regulations is repressive because global warming is a hoax, mountaintop removal is not a serious problem and the health hazards of coal incineration are just collateral damage. They say the real problem is that coal is losing market share to natural gas, which is much cleaner. We must defend coal’s market share at all costs.

The reasoning here sort of reminds me of the “war on terror.” After our country was viciously attacked by terrorists from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, who trained in Afghanistan, we responded by starting a war with Iraq. First, we said we were eliminating the threat of WMDs. Later, we had to change that to promoting democracy in the world. Trillions were spent on war instead of public infrastructure, education and economic development at home.

Politicians who like to use war-talk are apparently myopic. They don’t really care about damage prevention or alternative-energy research. What they’d rather do is dump an unhealthy environment and a meaner world onto our children.
Tom Louderback, Highlands