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Published: Tuesday, 8/10/2004

The power rests with the people

Too many U.S. citizens fail to understand the Constitution and their role in our government. One of the Constitution's basic principles - and undoubtedly the most important - is the idea of popular sovereignty.

In plain terms, that means the people, you and I, have all the power. The final authority rests with us.

Our government is not its own entity, wielding power over the people. Instead, it answers to us. How ironic, then, that the government gets away with adopting a U.S. Patriot Act that chips away at the very foundation this country was built upon. President Bush and Congress preyed on the fears of Americans after 9/11 to eliminate rights they viewed as problematic to their aims.

National security at the expense of civil rights is always a dangerous trade-off, despite what our governmental leaders would have us believe. One lost right leads to another and eventually we are left with the kind of country which is not worth protecting.

But the government can do it when so few of us use our power to vote or even to learn what the candidates believe.

The Bill of Rights was not written to protect the guilty, but to protect law-abiding citizens from a government that would overstep its bounds.

There's a similar idea behind the separation of church and state: It's not a matter of keeping religion out of schools and other governmental institutions, but to keep the state out of our religious beliefs. What I want to believe is my business.

Now we are nearing a presidential election at a time when we are facing a morass we apparently can't get out of in Iraq, a more unsettled Middle East, an economic outlook that changes daily, and repeated attempts by the government to tell us which morals we must follow. But then, we get what we deserve.

Shame on us.

Donald D. Carr

Sylvania

For one reason or another, everyone - the public and the news media - seems to misunderstand the crux of the Central Avenue Corridor Plan in Sylvania Township.

This is a plan, not a zoning change.

The township is not going to go in tomorrow and bulldoze homes and pour concrete, inviting commercial enterprises to come in. This is a long-range plan in an attempt to control the growth of the undeveloped areas along Central Avenue, within the Township, as well as to control redevelopment.

Elements of this plan will not go into effect until such time as property owners request zoning changes. With only 400 feet from Central Avenue zoned commercial, about the only types of commercial use that will adequately fit are similar to fast-food restaurants and gas stations, which tend to increase the amount of traffic.

The intent of the plan is to preclude this from happening and to prevent future single-family residences from being within about 1,000 feet of Central Avenue, and to provide some type of access management.

As has been said: Fail to plan - plan to fail!

Bruce Wharram

Sylvania

Editor's note: Mr. Wharram is a member of the Sylvania Township Zoning Commission and the corridor plan study committee.

I was dismayed by the Reader's Forum letter, "Political ads are callous and deceitful." The author's justification as to why John Kerry missed two votes to ban frivolous lawsuits which would reduce health-care costs and why Mr. Kerry missed the vote to authorize defense spending and funding our troops in combat was that "Mr. Kerry's vote was not needed" and "Mr. Kerry's vote would not have made any difference."

This is the exact justification that 50 percent of eligible voters in the United States use to try to explain why they do not bother to vote. So sad that we see this same behavior from our senators and congressmen. Every vote counts.

PATTI SAVAGE-McNAMARA

Maumee

Why is everyone so content to see our illustrious school superintendent renege on a contract until 2009?

With his departure would go the responsibility, duty, obligation, and commitment to the city and, most important, to the children. If he can't show commitment, then how are we to expect any from them? He should lead by example, and not run out of town on them. If he continues to do such a great job here, someone will still search him out when his job is finished. Don't just run for the money and fame, but stay here for the love of the children!

The only conclusion I can draw from this fiasco is that maybe the board wants him to leave. I would be begging him to stay.

THEODORE GEORGOFF

Windamar Road

Apologists for the war in Iraq, including a July 24 Forum contributor, want to make the debate over the war simply a debate over the evil nature of Saddam Hussein. They establish that Saddam had a bad record, and then claim that we're better off with him out of power.

These arguments avoid discussion of the way President Bush misled us in the run-up to war.

The President misled the American people about the links between Iraq and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, and misused that awful day to build support for his unilateral invasion of Iraq.

The President also misled us about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and thus the nature of the threat Iraq posed. In addition, the President misled us about the costs of the war, both in money and in American lives.

Furthermore, arguments such as these avoid looking at the consequences of the way we went to war.

Are we safer when our secretary of state put at risk the credibility of the United States by presenting a collection of lies to the United Nations and calling it evidence?

Are we safer with 135,000 American troops pinned down in Iraq indefinitely stretching our army thin?

Are we safer when we've strained the alliances that won World War II and the Cold War?

Are we safer when we've lost the moral high ground by torturing innocent Iraqis in Abu Ghraib?

Are we safer when we've been distracted from the fight against the real forces behind 9/11, al-Qaeda and radical Islamic jihadism?

While I am glad Saddam is out of power, a credible discussion of the war will address all these questions. I refuse to allow apologists for the President's policy to hide from them.

LAWRENCE COATES

Bowling Green

The electioneering diatribes this year differ from previous years. Look at the pent-up emotions that seem to be present in the verbal and written exchanges.

The Republicans are constantly accusing John Kerry of waffling on legislative matters. Not to be outdone, one cannot overlook George W. Bush who, a short time ago, stated he was running as a "war" president. And now we hear him say that he is running as a "peace" president.

It would therefore appear that he is adding another to his list of titles: "Waffler in chief."

JOHN D. OBEE

Claudia Drive

The oil companies are at it again, jacking the price of gas up 20 cents a gallon for no reason.

If there is an increase in drive-offs, as they claim, they have no one to blame but themselves.

Charging anything over $1.40 gallon is nothing more than price-gouging thievery.

STEPHEN R. KELLOGG

Champion Street

John Kerry's blockbuster speech was full of promises, promises, like Mr. Kerry's senatorial record -flip flop, flip flop. Braggadocio.

Zella Fought

Maumee



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