Something is missing from all the debates, editorials, and marches concerning illegal immigration across our southern border. What's been lacking is any discussion of the economic and social conditions in Mexico that lead to this mass migration to the United States.
Capitalism, industrialization, and social justice aren't constrained by national boundaries and languages. Why can't Mexico improve conditions within its own borders so that its citizens no longer feel compelled to seek a better life in the U.S.?
You don't see masses of Americans and Canadians trying to move illegally on foot across our northern border in either direction. If the U.S. and Canada have been able to build prosperous societies that people aren't desperate to leave, why can't Mexico and its southern neighbors do the same thing?
We can't directly change Mexican society and its government, but perhaps Congress could hold hearings to discuss ways to improve conditions in Mexico and then we could develop foreign policies designed to encourage those improvements. The discussion about the symptoms of the problem must continue, but it is also time to shine a bright light on the root causes of illegal immigration.
ROBERT A. KELSO
One Readers' Forum writer on the immigration issue, apparently referring to 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez's forced return to Cuba six years ago, decried the fact that " a single exception for him could not be made."
The U.S. Cuban policy permits residency, almost exclusively, for most Cubans who reach our shores illegally and stay for at least one year, under the wet foot/dry foot rule. But Elian's return was not influenced by his rescue at sea, or the fact that he had loving relatives in Miami. The decisive consideration was the fact that he had a living father in Cuba who wanted him back.
Had Elian's mother survived the boat trip to Florida, there would have been no question that they could have remained in the United States, even over the objectons of his Cuban father.
Whether the father would have preferred living with his second family and Elian in the U.S., if given the chance, is conjecture. I've seen no evidence that a significant minority of Cuba's 11 million plus people want to abandon their homeland.
Parental rights, in the absence of known abuse or neglect, rightfully trump political ideology.
I applaud Nadeem Salem's March 27 letter, "Qur'an calls for respect of all religions," in which he denounced the extremist elements of the Islamic faith. However, to separate fact from fiction concerning Islamic doctrine, some questions need to be answered before trust can be established.
Does Islamic doctrine not teach that the world is divided into "dar el Islam," the house of Islam, and "dar el harb," the house of war? Which house do Muslims see Americans living in? As most Americans are Christians or Jews, "people of the book," are they not to be considered kafir, or infidels, thus dwelling outside the house of Islam?
Does Qur'an (3:28) not state that a Muslim should not take as a friend any non-Muslim? And where in the Qur'an does it teach, as in Luke 6:28, to love thy enemy?
Religious leaders in Afghanistan wanted to "rip apart" a Christian man for committing apostasy (leaving Islam). And in Saudi Arabia and Iran, apostasy is still a capital offense. So who are we supposed to believe?
According to the Qur'an, salaam, or permanent peace, cannot be achieved until a people of a given country, indeed, the world, are brought to live under Islamic law. Is Mr. Salem using his letter as part of the Islamic suhl, or interim peace? In other words, is he using words as a diplomatic tactic to squelch fears?
I hope Mr. Salem was sincere in his outcry against terrorism. He seems to have written from the heart. Most Americans want a peaceful coexistence with their Muslim neighbors. But anyone who has ever visited an Islamic country knows that the "respect" he writes of can fall far short of equality.
Gov. Bob Taft has decided, and state Sen. Randy Gardner is prepared to write the bill, that by increasing the amount of courses taken in high school (specifically in math) it will equate to higher motivation in the classroom and smarter products for the business community.
Personally, I would like to see ethics classes become a part of the K-12 curriculum so when their time for public service comes we have developed real leaders rather than mere politicians.
Is this simply another artful dodge to distract us? Considering that both Mr. Taft and Mr. Gardner have education backgrounds, they should both know better.
In an era when the current presidential administration is determined to stamp out freedom of the press, investigative reporting, and the ferreting out of the rampant corruption that is the hallmark of today's Republican Party, it is disgraceful that The Blade did not win a Pulitzer Prize for its work on Coingate.
I can't help but feel that if the nameplate over your articles had read Washington Post or New York Times, you'd have been rightfully toasted for your marvelous coverage of the slime in Ohio politics that more than seeps into Washington.
Please don't allow the shortsightedness of the Pulitzer Prize organization stop you from continuing to practice the kind of journalism that has been tragically missing from the papers with the greater reputations because you've been on top of the stories they've been missing.
Boynton Beach, Fla.
Ohio has been ranked as one of the highest taxed states in the Union.
Now we have been informed that we are also rated as one of the worst states in the country based upon a number of economic indicators.
Is there a lesson or some food for thought embedded in these statistics?
Blade Staff Writer Ryan Smith's article on boot camp did a grave disservice to young people trying to decide whether to enlist in the armed forces. Why? Boot camp is introduced as "a look at some unusual fun activities." Boot camp is not "fun."
Boot camp is preparation for military service, during which you may die. You may also have to kill. If anyone believes either of these activities is "fun," they have lost their moral sense. Some people may believe they are necessary, but we have become a sadistic society when preparation for killing and being killed is entertainment.
Moreover, the reporter participated in one of the military's insidious methods of meeting its recruitment goals. Teachers and counselors, just as this reporter did, will come back from their experience thinking that boot camp isn't really that bad - it's even cool. They will be more likely to recommend enlistment to their students.
How about some intellectual integrity?
Before you or school personnel recommend enlistment, visit the rehabilitation center at Walter Reed Hospital, or the grave of a young soldier. Then you will have a more complete understanding of what enlistment may entail.
Perhaps "fun" will no longer be the operative word.
Why is it every time I pass a gas station in need of gas I feel like I'm playing Deal Or No Deal? It's $2.65 a gallon; I pass on the deal. Now the offer is $2.85 a gallon. Looks like it's time to take the deal because we know the next offer won't be lower.
MICHAEL LINNENKUGEL, JR.