With interest and some dismay I read the Thanksgiving Day article about the proposed name change for the Jefferson-Madison Leadership Camp. How ironic it appeared on a day when our country looks back and gives thanks for our many blessings.
Topics at the camp appear to be “sessions on responsibility, moral courage, respect, loyalty, caring, honesty, and citizenship.” Obviously either the participants are not students of history or are not interested in once-living examples of such virtues, because they have voted to remove the names of Jefferson and Madison. Individuals who embodied those ideals not only in their words but in deeds, but who risked all they possessed in what appeared at that time to be a foolish enterprise supported by few of their contemporaries.
Are the participants aware that though today slavery and its ugly cousins are “outlawed” and denigrated worldwide, millions exist in said abject condition?
Leadership is not the “politically correct” opinion poll-driven “truth” so often observed in modern politics but the bold statement of where man and society should move and the hard and sometimes life-threatening work (e.g., civil rights movement) of moving the general population to that belief and in that direction.
Jefferson and Madison were creatures of their time, as we all are. However, they were able to focus on other possibilities however vague in the mind of the common man. True leaders are rare and to be valued and are often not appreciated by the populace. Leaders today have to focus on the possible and dream the impossible. The article demonstrated that some participants still have the leadership potential to challenge the “politically correct” response and view leaders (with the flaws that all humankind possess) for their accomplishments.
DAVID J. NEUENDORFF
We are constantly being reminded of the numbers of Palestinian children who are being killed in the present Intifada in the land of Israel.
No one has written about the “four lines of defense” organized by the various Arab terrorist organizations perpetuating the violence in Judah, Samaria, and Gaza.
At the front are children, ages 8 to 12, who are throwing stones at IDF soldiers. Behind these youngsters are masked older teenagers throwing larger stones. Behind them are the young men throwing Molotov cocktails and fire bombs. Behind these three groups are the self-declared soldiers and PLO police with their handguns, rifles, machine guns, and grenades.
According to PLO plans, it is the children who are killed and, of course, reported by the media. Israeli solders do not dynamite children's school buses, ambush civilian automobiles, shoot into neighborhoods, or plant bombs in crowded market places to kill and maim innocent men, women, and children.
Any loss of life is deplorable. But one-sided reporting presenting Israel as an aggressor is anything but the truth.
RABBI EDWARD H. GARSEK
Congregation Etz Chayim
For the last five years as governor of Texas, George Bush has, with utter certainty, accepted the judgment by juries of “the people” to determine the life or death of criminal defendants. Yet, when something as insignificant as one's political career hangs in the balance, the honesty and decency of “the people” could not be trusted when determining the intent of a voter. What an unholy hypocrite.
When I go to vote on Election Day, I fully expect my vote will be counted regardless for whom I vote. Absentee ballots must be included; otherwise, why are they made available? All votes must be counted to make it a fair and honest election. We should do the right thing and let the voters be heard. We all win in the end.
W. B. MORAN
I'm not a Democrat or Republican, but I did vote for George W. Bush, mainly with the idea that he seems to be for less federal government intervention than Al Gore. Nevertheless, I felt I would not object to either man. But I don't think the next president is going to be a very strong president simply because there's so much partisanship and gridlock in government at the present time. It seems that all the parties are more worried about what they're going to do in the next election rather than the big picture of providing the flow of freedom while still respecting the common good.
My point: The election for president this year was not won by anyone in the true sense of the word. It was a true deadlock with no winner, considering the margin of error that would be expected in an election of this magnitude. I'm not surprised or bothered by the fact that both camps are pushing for some type of resolution.
I would be just as happy if George W. Bush and Al Gore would go out to the backyard and flip a coin and whoever wins would be the president (or 2 out of 3, or 3 out of 5, or 4 out of 7). I do feel that the next president will have an extremely difficult job to do, if he can do it at all. May God have mercy on him (that is if the court still allows God to do this).
Your recent headline should have read: “Gore team: we won't back down ... until we can make up enough votes to win.”
You could also add this quote from Josef Stalin. “The people who vote decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”
Yes, the Boy Scouts of America does a fine job helping boys become good citizens - as pointed out in a recent Readers' Forum letter. But not all boys. Not boys unwilling to affirm a belief in God. Not to gay boys. Too bad! Pure discrimination. The Girl Scouts accept all girls. Why don't the Boy Scouts accept all boys?
I am a former Eagle Scout, and thoroughly appreciate the contribution scouting made to my life. When I was active (1930s), there was no discrimination. Why now?
I recently wrote to 40 members of the BSA Advisory Council urging them to reconsider the discrimination policy. Result? Zilch. Not a single response. I concluded that the BSA is now controlled by bigots.
A major supporter of BSA is the United Way. Yet its guidelines state that it will not contribute to any organization that discriminates. So why does it continue to support BSA?
Since BSA will not respond to direct appeals, perhaps we can get its attention by cutting off its money. United Way should withdraw its support of BSA until it stops discrimination.