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Published: Thursday, 5/20/2004

Bedford graduates are fortunate

In the article on the debate over Sen. John Kerry's plans to address the Bedford High School graduation, board member Steve Lennex asks, "Let's preserve a little innocence for these kids."

What he was proposing was to "preserve a little ignorance for these kids" by rejecting Mr. Kerry's offer.

These graduates are not kids but young adults, old enough to vote and serve in the military. They need to be more aware of and involved in politics and current affairs.

As an educator teaching management, marketing, and economics, I am saddened by the lack of knowledge and interest in current events I see in young people. This is a golden opportunity to raise their consciousness.

Mr. Kerry is a U.S. senator who has been in public service for decades and who risked his life fighting for his country. No matter what your political affiliation, Mr. Kerry deserves our respect and it should be considered an honor for him to speak. As the graduates begin their life's journey, I can't think of a better role model to offer words of advice and encouragement.

My daughter is a freshman at Bedford High School and I only hope she will be so lucky to have such a distinguished speaker at her graduation.

Anne M. Oldaker

Temperance

The prospect of John Kerry speaking at Bedford High School's graduation is an exciting result of an outstanding young man, Brandon Spader, who cares enough about his country to have facilitated this opportunity.

Brandon has stepped out of himself and is comfortable enough with himself to share a small part of his graduation day with a person running for the highest office in the land at arguably the most crucial point in our country's recent history and Brandon's relatively young life. The inconvenience of security is nothing new to this graduating class, which has grown up with security guards in its hallways, nor should the possibility of a few protesters ruffle their tassels or threaten their innocence.

Isn't that democracy in action?

And given the fact that voter apathy among 18 to 24-year-olds is at an all-time high, Brandon is right in hoping that Mr. Kerry can motivate his classmates to vote in their very first election.

It's more important now than ever before.

Mari Davies

Wyndwood Drive

Bedford school board member Steve Lennex was right. The graduation should not be politicized as John Kerry is certainly apt to do. The senior who plans to attend a military academy might want to look at a recent article in Human Events. Twenty-one veterans who were Senator Kerry's swift boat comrades denounced him for accusing Vietnam vets of war crimes while simultaneously showing off his very brief war service to get elected.

I'm sure the student did not learn in history class that it was precisely Mr. Kerry and his party's attitude toward national defense that was responsible for the disaster in Vietnam.

Bowing to long-haired dopers who burned flags, vandalized, and assaulted police in the name of peace, the Democrat-controlled Congress only timidly supported our men languishing in the jungle. Unlike Iraq, there was no clear war plan, no solid leadership from a strong commander in chief and Republican Congress.

Democrats and the media are hell-bent on reproducing bleak conditions that created the debacle that caused my brothers to have to sneak into the airport in civilian clothes in 1967 on their return from hell, only to be spat upon by hippies.

Mr. Kerry wants the United Nations, a gang of Third World thugs, to command our military. They elected the likes of Cuba and Libya to human rights committees even though they tortured their own citizens.

Our military needs President Bush's strong leadership.

It would be a disaster for us and Iraq if John Kerry were elected.

Aggie Joseph-Langshied

Lambertville

Even though I have no children in the Bedford school system, I attended the Board of Education meeting. It was a standing-room only crowd that turned out to hear the debate on whether Sen. John Kerry should be the commencement speaker for the class of 2004.

As a former editor (1957) of the Woodward High School Tattler, and then adviser to the Hurricane, the student newspaper at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, I was concerned with the First Amendment as well as political issues.

What I saw was democracy at work.

Principal Denny Caldwell and Suzanne Johnson, president of the student council, are to be commended in particular. They addressed the concerns of the audience with intelligence, dignity, and respect. With leaders such as these, the future of Bedford looks bright.

Let freedom ring!

Sharon Clark

Temperance

In 2002 George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld announced that Geneva Convention protection would not extend to certain detainees, setting up an elaborate list of torture devices that could be applied. Since 2003 the Red Cross and human rights groups have repeatedly complained to the administration and the military about prisoner abuse. Only when the pictures became public did the administration scramble to profess horror and outrage and try to distance itself.

From the start President Bush sanctioned abuse of prisoners. The soldiers were just doing what they were told, directly or indirectly, and what they justifiably felt was expected of them. The message was clear that information was to be obtained and from Mr. Bush on down no one actually bothered with subtleties or distinctions.

To profess shock now when he and his cronies not only created the situation but knew or should have known about it in 2003 is cynical and evidence of their total corruption, depravity, and folly. And now we are faced with understandably increased international hostility, hatred, and scorn and have lost any semblance of moral superiority.

Furthermore, recall that the American head of anti-terrorism pointedly and repeatedly warned Mr. Bush and Mr. Rumsfeld of the threat posed by Osama bin Laden long before 9/11 and yet they did nothing, failing arrogantly and carelessly to take the warnings seriously. The exact same ignoring and discounting of dire warnings reported well in advance has occurred again with this prisoner torture, with action again being taken only after the harm has been done! This administration has irreparably damaged this country so deeply we may never recover.

David S. Baumgartner

Bluffton, Ohio

The Lucas County Democratic Party has a long history of being the "good old boys." Candidates, once elected, begin to play the musical chair game. Being electable, you can move through the system by way of political appointments until you find a home to your liking.

The Coalition of Concerned Democrats, whatever that is, voted two members, who undoubtedly had an agenda of their own, to party leadership positions: Sandy Isenberg, voted out as a county commissioner, and Jerry Chabler, a rabble rouser, last appointed to the port authority.

Case in point, a few years ago, Mr. Chabler helped defeat a levy for the port authority and then wound with an appointment to the same board. This time he helped defeat the Democrats in charge and then got himself named a party leader.

I hope the coalition formed a watchdog committee to oversee the results of their actions.

JIM RAY

Boydson Drive

It is apparent the milk companies are now following the lead of the oil companies.

First, withhold product from the retail market, second, claim there is now a shortage of product, and third, raise prices because of supposed shortage.

So who is next to engage in this kind of profiteering?

Stephen R. Kellogg

Champion Street



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