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Published: Friday, 10/29/2004

Why do Europeans like Kerry?

I often read that Europeans would prefer that Sen. John Kerry be elected over our current President. In the last year I have spent time in both Germany and Belgium and I can confirm that this is true. What they don't tell you is that most Europeans do not understand what the United States stands for or how the U.S. government functions, and certainly cannot tell you what makes Senator Kerry a better candidate.

To anyone willing to adopt the European opinion, I would like to offer a complete solution: Live like a European. Start paying $5 for a gallon of gasoline, get a small car that wouldn't pass U.S. safety regulations, or get to know public transportation, prepare for a small apartment, give up most of your other luxuries, and pay around 40 percent of your wages to the government. And in the case of Germany, be prepared for the government regulating important aspects of your life.

Not for me thanks. I believe in the Constitution and the power of the individual.

Nine out of 10 Europeans may prefer John Kerry but they don't know why.

Brian Williamson

Westway Street

My husband and I were arrested while enjoying a beautiful night with Michael Moore and friends. Unfortunately, the only way to get into the Summit Street entrance of the Seagate Center was to walk through a sidewalk lined with anti-choice people holding up signs that said "John Kerry kills babies." I believe that the Toledo Police department made an error in judgment by not ensuring that the public could attend a paid event without being directly insulted by protesters and having baby murderer signs shoved in our faces.

Grabbing a sign during a situation like that was a natural human instinct. The Blade made it sound as if we sought out some poor, innocent Republican and stole his Bush/Cheney sign. I do not have a problem with Republicans. I do not agree with them on the issues but I generally reduce them to the level of nuisance.

Clearly, I do have a problem with a group of individuals telling blatant lies and trying to ruin my good time by calling me and John Kerry baby murderers because we are Democrats. The Supreme Court gave women the right to choose on Jan. 22, 1973, and that decision was neither Republican nor Democrat. Maybe these anti-choice individuals should step up their moral superiority crusade a notch and start working on abolishing the death penalty.

Kelly Reader Griffiths

Perrysburg

Cigarettes make a great gift! Children in our very large family surprised our father by spending our hard-earned coins to buy him cigarettes for Valentine's Day, his birthday, Father's Day, and Christmas. During World War II, we filled cigarette papers with small wads of tobacco, rolled and formed cigarettes, licked the papers' edges, and sealed them.

Dad's doctor attributed his cancer primarily to smoking. Following his tracheotomy and lung removal, our family surrounded his deathbed, agonizing over his pain and the cigarette gifts which had been given with so much love.

Nicotine has a fierce grip. Addicted surgeons will remove a tar black and rigid lung, then retreat to a smoking area. Nurses and relatives will cry over a bed-ridden terminal patient and leave the room to smoke, knowing fully the litany of problems it causes for smokers, or those breathing secondhand smoke (including infants and children).

It appears that promoters of Issue 4, desiring smoking in public places, were unsure of their ability to pass the issue, so they flooded sites with placards containing words, allegedly twisted to appear to uninformed voters that the issue protected Toledo's jobs. Voters interested in people's health need to vote against Issue 4.

Indeed, smoking keeps income/jobs in Toledo: doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, oxygen deliverers, window cleaners (all that icky yellow sludge), gutter cleaners (diseases in a mountainous sea of white), firefighters, and government-subsidized farms elsewhere.

It is heartbreaking to observe victims of smoking, chewing tobacco, or secondhand smoke toting oxygen tanks or undergoing major surgeries.

CATHERINE FECK

Maumee

I disagree with a recent letter which stated that for Catholics, this election is all about abortion. As an American citizen, I am deeply concerned about the big picture in this country. To suggest that the abortion issue (which has been legal in this country for 30-plus years) is more important than people finding jobs to put food on the table, having access to affordable and decent health care, and urgent environmental issues is absurd. The "conservative" right would serve us all by turning its attention to matters it can influence, such as the unsolicited filth which comes into our homes each time we turn on the television, log onto the Internet, or rent a video.

As a Catholic, I am certainly able to make my own decision as to which candidate is an overall better fit for the America we live in today and speak for myself.

TAMMY GOLKIEWICZ

Petersburg, Mich.

My wife and I (both 75 years young) became concerned about the shortage of flu vaccine. The Meijer store in Maumee advised that it would have 190 units available on Oct. 15.

When we arrived, the department was passing out numbered slips for the shots available. With each slip, they provided a schedule as to when to expect that shot to be given. Our schedule indicated we would receive our shots between 2 and 2:30 p.m.

Because we were there at 10 a.m., we appreciated that we could return in the afternoon and receive our shots without waiting in line several hours. My wife has difficulty walking and standing and this allowed us to return at a time beneficial to us. When we arrived, there were 75 chairs lined up leading to the area for shots. Most of these chairs we occupied by people appearing to be in their 80s. How thoughtful the Meijer people were in anticipating that persons there for flu shots should be able to sit while waiting.

Some people think about the needs of others, thankfully, and the Meijer people did!

Gus Ballas

Fallbrook Road

What can we do to get free health insurance? Every time I pick up a newspaper or watch the news on television, I see that many countries have free health insurance for their citizens except the United States of America. Why is this? Greed. That is why! And greed is what is going to destroy this country unless we change our ways.

I have a simple idea that could give every American free health insurance and I would like to share the idea with you. Every working American could pay $6.25 per week into a special trust fund. The employer could match the employee's contribution. This alone would be $50 per month. The federal government could put in a certain percent as well. Each individual would then be issued a medical/prescription card. The doctor(s) and or pharmacies would then bill that special trust fund that was set up for each American.

I am 63 years old and I work two jobs so I can pay for my wife's and my health insurance. I would be glad to pay $25 per month instead of the $170 I am paying every two weeks now!

KARL JOHNSON

East Pearl Street

I want to congratulate the University of Toledo for inviting George Soros to speak on campus.

To secure a man of his achievement and background in the international arena is a real coup for the university.

He is a man of principle who has acted on his beliefs. Controversial to some, it is in the best tradition of a liberal arts education to provide speakers like Mr. Soros who stimulate discussion, argument, and thereby critical thinking. A feather in UT's hat!

Phineas Anderson

Perrysburg

Editor's note: Mr. Anderson is head of school at Maumee Valley Country Day School.



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