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Published: Sunday, 8/10/2003

Dean can hardly be called far left

If Howard Dean reads The Blade, he must be scratching his head in perplexity. According to a front-page story, the so-called “Democratic Leadership Council” has vigorously criticized him for opposing both the war in Iraq and the Bush Administration's tax cuts.

What made this story so puzzling is that these positions were characterized by the DLC as “far left.”

Until recently, opposing gargantuan budget deficits and military adventurism was a hallmark of the right, not the left. The current administration has run up a crippling annual deficit of half a trillion dollars (which it will be our children's obligation to pay off). It has flouted the basic principle of American foreign policy which, as John Quincy Adams put it, is that “America goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” It is these acts - and not Mr. Dean's - that are radically out of step with conservative American tradition.

Howard Dean is hardly a man of the far left. When he was governor of Vermont, his vetoes of budget-busting programs enacted by the state legislature so frustrated some of the more left-leaning citizenry there that they formed a third party to run a candidate against him in his bids for re-election.

The best way to understand the DLC's attempt to characterize Mr. Dean's mainstream Democratic positions as “far left” ideas is in terms of in-group politics. Mr. Dean is the strongest and most dynamic candidate in the Democratic field, but he isn't a part of the DLC. It appears that if the DLC can't have one of its own in the White House, it is determined to deny any other Democrat that privilege.

That kind of politics is far more radical - and far more destructive - than anything proposed by Howard Dean.

JAMES F. TRUMM

Orchard Road

In Eileen Foley's column, “Not for God's sake, please,” a litany of horrible crimes done in the name of one or more deities is rightly condemned. However, Ms. Foley also castigates legitimate religious opinions expressed without any malice or calls to violence while ignoring heinous acts by “rational” people without religious motive.

How can Franklin Graham's statement that “Allah is a different God” possibly be compared to shooting abortion doctors or flying planes into buildings? Do people of faith have no freedom of opinion or speech in Ms. Foley's ideology? Secular tyrants like Hitler and Saddam managed to justify exterminating Jews and gassing Kurds without any claims to divine directive. Were their “rationalizations” of mass murder somehow more acceptable?

From Stalin's purging of 20 million landowners to China's present crackdown on Falun Gong, atheists have managed to maim and murder in the name of “rationality” and “progress” just as easily, and just as illegitimately, as religious fanatics. Ms. Foley's conclusion states religious excuses are “always so scary, so crazy, and so wrong,” regardless of the act in question, good or bad.

Using Ms. Foley's logic, excuses that invoke rationality, even in defense of completely benign actions, also must be universally “so scary, so crazy, and so wrong” based on their past abuse.

Interestingly, the anti-war campaigners had no qualms appealing to religious arguments against the Iraq war

PAUL A. MILLER

Bryan, Ohio

Eileen Foley's column, “Not for God's sake, please,” should be required reading in every government class in our Ohio schools. She has hit the nail on the head with a sledge hammer. Too often throughout human history religious zealots of all faiths have used war or terrorism to intimidate their neighbors. This is the reason many of our families immigrated to America in the first place, to escape the intolerance of other faiths or the imposition of its doctrine upon us through its political/legal systems.

Veterans and active duty members of the armed forces take an oath to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States. I think Ms. Foley took the same oath when she became a journalist. I only can hope that the comments of the Palestinian prime minister are inaccurate. I don't want to contemplate the thought that my youngest son has been in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq for the reasons given by Mahmoud Abbas.

Justice Evelyn Stratton should look inside herself; the judicial bench is not a theological pulpit.

JOHN L. TURKAL

Bowling Green

I was angry and disgusted by Kirk's editorial cartoon depicting a urinating boy. It is one thing to accept the concept of free speech, which I do. It is another to agree with the method of delivery or the content.

I believe people have the right to dig holes (free speech) and slide into them (accept the method of delivery or the content). As a teacher I try to teach my junior high and high school students to take a high road in discourse, a kinder, gentler path.

By using urination to make a political point, you have chosen to not just accept the hole digging but to jump in as well.

You make it more difficult to teach my students that crude, in-your-face methods of delivery of ideas are not acceptable. I see our families, particularly young people, sliding into deeper, more numerous holes created by our “liberated” society. There are those of us who choose to not jump in. I had hoped The Blade might be one.

DAVE THOMPSON

Sherwood Avenue

If Doug Sweeney's bumper sticker portrayed a woman in a derogatory way, and I as a woman reported to my supervisor that I found it offensive, I would expect him to take action to remove the offensive material per the policy of the department. If he didn't, I am sure you would be spouting the politically correct opinion that it should be removed so as not to cause a hostile work environment for me. Free speech would take a backseat to creating a workplace that is comfortable for me to work in.

I might also add that it is hard to take seriously the opinion of any newspaper that can't get the basics correct. The “who” here is spelled “Earley.” Any rookie reporter should learn this before being allowed to appear in print.

And just so you don't have to expose me, yes, I am an employee of the Lucas County Engineer's Office.

BARBARA J. MAHONEY

Evergreen Road

Recent events have proved once again that “nice guys don't finish last,” and that there is still hope that the almighty dollar hasn't totally corrupted the sports world.

Three high-quality American sportsmen all competed on foreign soil and all finished first in widely diverse fields. And each was gracious, modest, and amicable in the winner's circle.

Congratulations to Tom Watson, British Senior Open golf champ in Scotland; Lance Armstrong, five-time Tour de France bicycling victor in Paris, and Michael Phelps, record-setting winner at the world swimming championship in Barcelona.

Best wishes for many more championships for “nice guys” in the future.

REV. TOM QUINN

Bellevue Road

During the Great Depression, when President Roosevelt created work for the people who lost their jobs, he was 60 years before his time.

We need his kind of thinking in the Oval Office now.

We have streets to fix, plus parks and swimming pools, and eye-sore homes to tear down and rebuild.

These people lost their jobs through no fault of their own. They need the President's help! Jobs - not checks!

VIRGINIA MATHIAS

Pasadena Boulevard



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