I am an American citizen from Monroe County, Michigan, living in Japan. For two years now I have been a part of an international community composed of Japanese, Indonesians, Chinese, South Africans, Belgians, French, Dutch, Danish, Italians, Germans, Czechs, Venezuelans, Australians, and New Zealanders. Not a single one respects President Bush or America's role in Iraq. My experience confirms polling: The world hopes John Kerry wins.
My foreign friends are dumbfounded that the presidential race is as close as it is. They view President Bush as an unelected simpleton who misled us into a war. For those Americans who discount foreign opinions of our President consider this: Many foreigners believe that the American president is a more influential figure in their lives than their own countries' leaders.
I am heartened by Mr. Kerry's emphasis on re-engaging the global community. Mr. Kerry says that before war a president should be able to pass a test "where your countrymen, your people, understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons." Such a test seems like an obvious prerequisite for war. However, it's a test Mr. Bush failed.
As an American living abroad I am especially ashamed of Mr. Bush, a man who sees his disregard for our world neighbors' opinions as a bragging point. Except for Mr. Bush, his devotees and the terrorists, the rest of the world seems to realize that international cooperation is the only hope our planet has economically, environmentally, and politically.
KRISTIN HALKER JORDAN
The city of Toledo is in fiscal trouble, true, but to say we want this tax to line our pockets? As a Toledo firefighter this is how we lined our pockets with our last contract: We went the first 18 months without a raise, agreeing to a 2 percent raise in 2005, which isn't even keeping up with the rate of inflation.
Fair to suburbanites working in Toledo? They pay 2.25 percent tax to the city because they work in the city and they spend a large portion of their week in the city. If these same workers get hurt or ill while at work, or their building catches fire, does their suburban fire department come to their aid? No, the City of Toledo Fire Department does.
Layoffs? Please do your homework! Toledo fire and rescue has nearly 48,000 incidents per year every year! If the city starts to lay off firefighters and close stations, response times will increase. When your loved one is experiencing a medical emergency or your house is on fire, are you willing to risk the increased response time?
Both situations can change dramatically for the worse in seconds. Timing is everything!
Police and firefighters are greedy? We earn our wages every day, risking our lives to help others in need. Have you earned more than a 2 percent increase in the past three years? How many lives have you saved? How many fires have you put out? Are you willing to accept responsibility when someone you love dies because we couldn't get there in a timely manner due to layoffs?
Well, at least your potholes got filled.
SCOTT VAN DOOTINGH
Fritz Wenzel's comments against Democrats reveal his backward priorities. The single, constant goal of the Democrats through the voting controversy has been to make sure that every vote counts, that no one is disenfranchised by the system.
Black-box electronic voting machines have the capacity to disenfranchise voters. Lo and behold, it was discovered in late August that Diebold's GEMS central tabulator maintained two sets of books, its audit logs could be altered and erased, and votes could be changed without anyone knowing, including election officials.
Apparently, Mr. Wenzel's priority is to have an expedient counting of the votes, regardless of how many are disenfranchised in the process. If he were running the polls, I imagine they would close punctually, regardless of how many people were standing in line to vote. Is this how we want to run our democracy?
I thought that our democracy was of, by, and for the people. Mr. Wenzel would perhaps prefer a democracy of, by, and for corporations like Diebold.
And accusing the Democrats of a "left-wing" conspiracy (to enfranchise voters? Gasp!) is going too far. Fritz Wenzel is as partisan as they come. I think he should at least apologize.
I told myself the next time someone wrote to The Blade complaining about her right to choose being taken away, I would respond.
On Oct. 12 a writer stated, "Although I might never choose to have an abortion, I believe in the right to choose. If that choice is gone "
I myself can say I am against abortion, but I also believe in the right to choose.
I believe in the right to choose not to have sex outside of marriage. I believe in the right to choose not to have sex with someone other than one's spouse. I believe in the right to choose to use birth control. I believe in the right to choose to give your child up for adoption. I believe in the right to choose to take responsibility for your actions and raise your child. I believe in the right to choose life.
Those of us against abortion are not taking away your right to choose. We are asking you to make a different and far better choice. With so many positive choices, why would anyone want to choose to take life rather than give life?
I choose life!
Pheasant Hollow Drive
A recent letter writer stated that abortion does not mesh with any faith that she is aware of. Actually, if she visits the web site for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (www.rcrc.org), she would find prayerful people of many spiritual groups who are "pro-faith, pro-family, and pro-choice."
They include Methodists, Presbyterians, Jews, United Church of Christ members, Episcopalians, the YMCA, Unitarian Universalists, Lutherans, and many others. There is a great deal of information at the RCRC web site, plus links to most of the member churches and organizations.
I suggest that persons of faith who oppose reproductive choice do some research to broaden their perspective, even if they are firm in their beliefs and do not wish to change their stance on abortion.
I am a retired teacher, and I know that the best education is broadly based. The most respected opinions are those that are well informed.
MARCY St. JOHN
I just read the editorial against efforts to amend our Constitution to allow citizens not born in our country to become president. Our Constitution should not be changed on a whim. It was changed to outlaw liquor and then that was repealed because it is not wise to try to legislate morality in people.
We are very careful to not let just any territory join our great nation and we should not change our Constitution to allow just anyone to advance to the presidency. If we allow this change, we will be allowing the possibility that a Hitler could be elected to the highest office of our land.
The 22nd Amendment made it so that we cannot elect even the most qualified person to a third or fourth term, and I believe that if it had not been enacted, we would be deciding between Bill Clinton and ?
STEVEN L. HAWKINS
Your editorial concerning the idiots who were involved in the East Side overpass murder, rock throwing, and vandalism certainly hits the mark.
As part of their punishment, the perpetrators and their blood relatives should all have their reproductive rights permanently terminated. We don't need the traits that they have shown passed along in our gene pool!
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