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Published: Friday, 12/13/2002

Democrats need to show leadership

What is with the high-ranking elected officials in the Democratic Party that rather than building up they feel they have to tear down? Why is it that, time after time, I read criticism of President Bush's policies without any real alternative or new idea? What has happened that the Democratic Party has gone from a platform of creating ideas to one of criticizing others?

It seems to me that our current batch of elected Democratic officials would rather slam their counterparts than move us forward.

In a recent tribute to Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday, Sen. Trent Lott made reference to how well this country would be if other states had followed the senator's lead and voted for him for president. Right away, the likes of Jesse Jackson and other Democratic members criticized this as blatant racism.

Rather than accepting it for what it was (praise of a man for more than half a century of service to our federal government), they inferred that Mr. Lott supports a segregated society. In no way did Senator Lott indicate that he supported that particular issue of Senator Thurmond's political past, but these officials saw the opportunity to put a scar on Mr. Lott's record.

Perhaps someday, the likes of Al Gore, Jesse Jackson, and even Marilou Johanek will realize that rather than criticize the works of others, perhaps they should develop their own ideas and implement them. Oh wait, that would be actual leadership.

MATT SMITH

Holland

Despite Trent Lott's outrageous comments, and the flurry of press regarding them, I felt it was important to remember that freedom of speech gives him the right to voice his opinions. At a time when comments contrary to White House policy are deemed unpatriotic, and when honesty is replaced by marketing, it's refreshing to hear someone speak his beliefs, no matter how distasteful. It's even more unusual to hear this kind of honesty from a politician.

While I may disagree with Mr. Lott's comments, I feel he, and any American, has the right - no, the obligation - to speak out against what he feels is wrong. Freedom of speech is guaranteed by the Constitution, and the moment we limit that freedom, we are allowing our enemies to win.

GEORGE WAGNER

Sylvania

Trent Lott, the senior U.S. senator from Mississippi and soon to be the leader of the Senate, recently came right out and said in public that he thinks our country would have been better off if the Civil Rights movement had never happened. For the record, here are his words: “I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either.”

Given this pretty outrageous statement, many of us in Ohio who think the civil rights movement and subsequent laws were among America's finest hours would like to hear from our Ohio senators - denouncing, censuring, or at least disagreeing with their leader. Since they seldom answer private citizens' letters, I thought maybe one or both might have something to say in this public space.

Hello, George Voinovich? Hello, Mike DeWine?

TOM BARDEN

Kenwood Boulevard

Jews suffered discrimination and persecution from Europeans for centuries. Wishing to flee such persecution is understandable, but why did the Zionists think that Arabs would treat them any better when they began to move to Palestine in the late 19th century?

The Arabs did not treat them any better, and Arab attacks on Jewish settlements began as early as 1886. Arriving from Russia in 1908, Ben-Gurion recorded that “the city Arabs hate us.” In spite of this hostility, the Zionists persisted in migrating to Palestine.

If the Zionists could have foreseen the tragic events of the past 50 years and the misery inflicted daily on Arabs and Jews alike, would they have persisted in their dreams of a Jewish state at the expense of the Arabs? Who is more secure, the Jew in Toledo, or the Jew in Tel-Aviv, and how will it all end up?

LEONARD HARGRAVE

North University Street

It is gratifying to this long-time reader of The Blade that the thinking of its editorial staff can change and even get close to the truth.

On Dec. 15, 2000, your lead editorial claimed that the victory by President Bush was the most tainted presidential victory on record. I can't argue that, only you tarred the wrong candidate.

“Mr. Gore fought valiantly for a powerful principle (in Florida), yet was roasted for prolonging the ordeal,” the editorial went on, adding sarcastic comments about the Electoral College, Bush policies, and predicting that his legislative agenda could not possibly be implemented.

“It is important that Mr. Bush understand that he cannot unite the country by acting as though he won the election,” the editorial added.

Then came The Blade's Nov. 12 editorial, “The GOP stampede.”

“Those who oppose Bush Administration policies will be deluding themselves if they fail to understand the historic proportions of the political victory won by President Bush in last Tuesday's election,” the editorial began.

“Why the change? George W. Bush was unafraid to put his own reputation on the line and simply outworked the opposition,” the editorial continued.

The knee-jerk, partisan reaction to the 2000 election outcome seems to have given way to a more thoughtful, intelligent reflection on the man America elected as its President.

I applaud The Blade's policymakers for finally getting it right.

FRED NOFZIGER

Maumee

Many people like Walter Williams, professor of economics at George Mason University, accurately see America rapidly becoming a totalitarian state. Many Americans recognize it only as economic stress and loss of control. How we arrived at this point and how we can turn things around can be summed up in one word, sacrifice, and the call for sacrifice can be explicit or implicit.

Ayn Rand warned us that when we hear the word sacrifice run, for this person is not your friend and you are the one being sacrificed. Instead we've voted for them.

They said sacrifice and we can help the needy. Yet after spending billions on the disenfranchised, all we have to show for it is a new cadre of poverty pimps in Washington.

They now say sacrifice and go to war to protect our freedom. Yet war has almost always been about the expansion of government and the loss of our freedom.

They say sacrifice and vote for Issue 2; it's for our children. Yet allowing government to educate our children has been the most destructive, unconstitutional, and expensive socialist experiment we could have come up with.

If we are to turn things around we must stop being media lemmings and search out those who tell us to keep what we earn and interact with one another in any way that does not involve force, fraud, or violation of the rights of others. Live as free men and women!

Only then will we be on the right track.

JIM BOEHM

Drummond Road

Trent Lott has always had the heart of a segregationist, and so I believe that his pathetic apologies were indeed from the heart.

But now that his lifelong attachment to the Confederate cause is out of the closet (a well-lit closet, though, as he has been dogged by his own comments ever since he hit the national stage), we can be thankful for at least one thing: Any hopes the Republican majority might have had to push for judicial nominees as hostile to civil rights as Judge Charles Pickering are now buried in the remains of Senator Lott's reputation.

BENJAMIN S. PRYOR

Brookdale Road



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