I am an avid reader of the Readers Forum and find it interesting to read and share the different points of view. I am, however, concerned about the trend to spoil some of our perfectly good words by using them in a negative sense. One such word is liberal. Some of the contributors use it in a way that imputes an undesirable connotation.
I am old enough to remember when some of our well-established and universally accepted social programs were scorned by some of those representing themselves as conservatives.
To name a few, Social Security, unemployment compensation, the five-day work week, the right to join a labor union, civil rights, Head Start, welfare for the deserving poor, health insurance for workers, paid vacations, sick leave, and the list goes on and on. These social programs were all conceived by liberal thinking people like Eugene V. Debbs, John L. Lewis, Walter Reuther, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Martin Luther King, and, yes, Bill Clinton, without whom we would not have the Family Leave Act, which has benefited so many, or his revised welfare program that provides an incentive for people to get a job and leave welfare.
There is nothing wrong with being conservative in your thinking, but don t be hypocritical. We all share in the benefits of many liberal programs. The next time you go to the library remember the first one was introduced by Benjamin Franklin in 1731 in Philadelphia in spite of the conservatives of that time who thought that commoners didn t deserve an education or access to books.
So let s stop denigrating our language and display a little civility in our discourse.
FRED Mc NAMAR
Recently in a campaign stop John Kerry, in an effort to po sition himself as strong on de fense, made a completely ridiculous comment. He said that President Bush didn t act decisively enough on 9/11 because he spent seven minutes with the children at the school he was visiting after he found out about the hits on the World Trade Center. He said that he (Mr. Kerry) would have politely dismissed himself and acted immediately.
As with most of Mr. Kerry s worthless comments, he didn t bother to tell everyone what, specifically, he would have done differently. Mr. Kerry specializes in throwing out empty rhetoric with no details or a plan that shows he is better.
Also let me point out that we are talking about seven minutes here. Exactly what could he or anyone else have done in seven minutes that could have made a difference on 9/11? The fact is, he couldn t have done one thing different. This is just another example of Mr. Kerry thinking the voters are fools who swallow his sound bites without question.
On Nov. 2 when Mr. Kerry is wondering why he lost the election, maybe he will figure out that American voters are not idiots and don t get swayed by empty speeches and comments.
Alexandra E. Hertel
In an Aug. 3 article, you enumerated the seemingly horrendous costs of hosting a Democratic candidate for president in the city of Bowling Green.
While it is all well and good that the taxpayers be informed about these expenditures, I find it quite interesting that The Blade did not cover the parallel taxpayer cost of flying in Dick Cheney on Air Force 2. This included blocking off Airport Highway during a peak rush-hour period and paying for the extra police to do so, probable overtime on the state payroll at MCO for their security people, fuel for the plane, and other ancillary costs too numerous to mention. This was all done for a visit that lasted about an hour and a half from airplane landing to departure. His congregants were carefully screened to only include 300 of the party faithful.
Why did the taxpayers have to pay to have him preach to the choir of big-donor physicians in this city? No new ground was covered in the visit, and the health-care insurance crisis in America was not even on the agenda. Mr. Kerry s visit, by way of contrast, attracted more than 15,000 people of various backgrounds who were not prescreened for party loyalty. There were many more who could not even get in (and I was among them). I daresay that the cost was a little over $1 per attending taxpayer. What was the cost per taxpayer for the 300 handpicked supplicants attending Mr. Cheney s sermon?
In the interest of equal coverage for each party, which is indeed a novel concept, I would ask that you give readers a rundown of the cost of Mr. Cheney s visit to the taxpayers of northwest Ohio. I am sure you will find that the costs far exceeded $25,000.
It is shameful that the right-wind Republican nasties have stooped so low as to try to discredit John Kerry s military service record. Shameful, but not surprising, because these same right-wing types used the same gutter tactics on Republican Sen. John McCain in the primaries in 2000.
John Kerry spoke up on John McCain s behalf in 2000, and now John McCain has denounced these low-grade smear tactics directed at Senator Kerry.
One might think that the Democrats would retaliate by impugning the military service of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, but this probably won t happen, because, as the old saying goes, one cannot rob an already empty safe.
The Blade s Russ Lemmon certainly showed his arrogant side recently. He advised the bar and restaurant owners to stop whining if their amendment to the current smoking legislation is defeated on a referendum this fall.
If voicing their opinions and fears because of declining business is whining, then I say whine as loud as you can. After all, it s the owners livelihood that is affected, not something they can fix by going to another more suitable establishment, as nonsmokers should have been doing all along.
If there are whiners, it s certainly been the anti-smokers, who from the very beginning have not really been concerned about health issues but only the odor and annoyance of smoke around them; the type of individuals who can t understand why others do things differently from them.
It s just another example of the extensive selfishness of petty city residents trying to change things to their liking, at the expense of hard-working entrepreneurs.
Contrary to what the fear mongers are peddling, second-hand smoke in bars and restaurants does not have the power to cause health problems in the short time most patrons are exposed during three or four visits a week.
Those who are affected should probably be confined to their residence, if they are that sensitive to airborne contaminants. Employees of smoking establishments who are bothered by smoke have the choice of finding employment elsewhere.
It s not like asking 20-year career workers to find other jobs. The vast majority of employees are young people who can easily change temporary jobs if required.
It s obvious Mr. Lemmon is not a smoker and therefore finds pleasure in harassing legitimate business owners.
But then, he probably can t understand why so many smoke if he doesn t.
Congratulations to the Toledo small-business owners who mounted a successful petition drive to get the smoking ban issue on the November ballot. City Council is also to be commended for letting the petition go to the voters to decide. This has been a wonderful example of democracy in action, of a committed minority working within the system to secure a redress of their grievances.
In the end, the majority of voters will decide the fate of the smoking issue, but I hope they will remember that America is also a place that protects minority rights. Here s hoping that the majority will realize that we don t need government regulating every aspect of our lives and that adults should have the freedom to choose to enter or not enter places that allow smoking.
ROBERT A. KELSO