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Published: Thursday, 2/28/2008

Change for America will require pain

If one thing is certain about the upcoming election, it's that the result will reflect not only how badly we want change, but how much change we really want. It's already evident that most of us want a change in political control of the White House, but still unanswered is how willing we are to accept change if, as seems certain, it is accompanied by pain.

History suggests that there are times when change is needed that goes well beyond control of the White House, times when presidential leadership is needed that brings a fresh way of looking at intractable problems and that has the moral force to move a national constituency in new and unfamiliar directions.Such was the leadership of Franklin D. Roosevelt during the grimyears of the Great Depresson and World War II, and many would point to the Kennedy and Reagan presidencies as recent examples of leadership that inspired change on a national scalethat resonated throughout the world.

Today we find ourselves at a moment in history when the difficulties we face call aloud for new thinking and forspecial qualities of leadership. At home we're awash in mortgage foreclosures and other financial disasters as the economy slips into recession. Crises in energy, health care, and education threaten our way of life, but go unresolved.

Abroad, the picture is just as dismal, as we pursue an unpopular, never-ending war with ever-mounting costs in American lives and treasure. More than six years after 9/11, we face a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan and still have no clue on Osama bin Laden's whereabouts.

Clearly,major change is needed in our presidential leadership that reverses eight years of catastrophic mismanagement, that resets the focus of our national priorities, and charts new directions for our nation.

As one who has known every American president from Harry Truman to the current occupant of the White House,I am convinced that Barack Obama is the one presidential candidate who can inspire ordinary Americans to stand tall again and be the catalyst for the changes that must be made.

Only Mr. Obama has the youth, the global background, and the demonstrated talent to reach across racial and ethnic divisions.

An Obama win in Ohio on Tuesday will all but assure a monumental victory in November, offering hard evidence that people want an end to the divisive partisanship that has plagued our political scene for more than a decade. It will also send a strong message that we, the people, expect Congress, until recently little more than a faithful collaborator with the Bush Administration, to provide the checks and balances that are at the heart of the Constitution.

Best of all, the election of Mr. Obama will further inspire the legions of the young - and the not-so-young - who have responded with such enthusiasm to his promise of a better America. And in every corner of the world the election results will be a dramatic signal that our country is committed to restoring its tarnished image and again playing a role worthy of world leadership.

Thomas Ludlow Ashley

Leland, Mich.

Editor's note: The writer, a Democrat, represented the 9th District in Congress from 1955 through 1980.

The Democratic primary here in Ohio reminds me of a TV spot for a Scottish bank. A man is choking and another group is talking about it. One man talks at length about the process of saving him, taking no action. Finally, an onlooker gets up and saves him with the very Heimlich maneuver being discussed. In my opinion, Sen. Barack Obama is the man speaking in lilting generalities while the country suffocates, and Sen. Hillary Clinton is the one who actually rescues us by doing something.

Mike Watkins

Bowling Green

In discussing the merits of TPS' levy, ignore the facts and rev up the ad hominem attacks. Instead of explaining why TPS deserves our support despite performance, The Blade in its editorial, "For the TPS levy," resorts to personal attacks to marginalize the messenger. Ignore the research, community-education forums, efforts to promote transparency in TPS operations, solutions, and ideas of the Urban Coalition, and instead cast aspersions about our motives and integrity.

The Blade says the coalition is a small group. Since when is the size of the group germane to the validity of the issues raised? It takes only one person to point out a problem and offer a solution. The Blade editorial staff numbers maybe four people. Does this small group represent anyone's interests but those of The Blade?

Let's debate the facts and keep the personal attacks out of it.

The Blade for some reason(s) continues to support business as usual and the status quo. In the last several years, The Blade has become one of the biggest TPS cheerleaders while discounting the reality of failure in our schools. Could the paid Blade editorial staff be part of the problem and not the solution?

Resolving the issues we have discussed - you can read about them at tpsinfo.com, regarding academic performance, financial responsibility and accountability, the construction project, the Toledo Plan, diversity issues, and more - would benefit all Toledoans.

Finally, were many Toledoans affected by school-related issues? Of course some were. In the real world, most of us decide to take action when we have been personally affected.

Does that minimize our concerns and nullify our ability to work for change? According to The Blade, the answer is a resounding yes.

Vote no on Issue 7 on Tuesday: Demand change.

Steven G. Flagg

Elmhurst Road

Now that the field of presidential contenders is narrowing, let's look through the smokescreen of campaign rhetoric and sharpen the focus on the key objectives America must meet over the next four years.

Above all, we must protect and defend our country. This means winning in Iraq, staying on the offensive against Muslim extremists, keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of rogue regimes, maintaining a strong military force, controlling our borders, and stepping up surveillance of terrorists. The next president must take the initiative to meet these critical objectives if America is to remain safe and strong.

Second, we must reduce our oil dependency by providing incentives for domestic oil exploration, drilling, and new refineries, and for accelerated research into new fuel sources, including the expanded use of nuclear power.

Third, reduce government taxes, spending, and interference in our lives, which will allow free enterprise to flourish.

Fourth, allow no amnesty or economic and/or social benefits for illegals. Benefits of citizenship are not an entitlement for those entering the United States. They must be earned, as our ancestors did.

Next, retain and strengthen our private health-care system, the best in the world.

Last, we must unequivocally restore prayer in schools, the Ten Commandments on government property, and the words "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance.

We must not compromise the principles our country was founded on or squander 230 years of freedom carefully crafted by our forefathers. We must make it clear to the next president that these are our objectives for America's future and we expect progress to be made. If accomplished, America will fulfill the vision set forth in our Declaration of Independence and will remain vibrant and free.

Richard Ketteman

Sylvania

Kudos to The Blade for its recent editorial about Uno, the winner at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City. So often we hear that there's never any good news in the paper. The editorial was a "good news" story about a happy little dog who achieved fame just by being his own beagle self.

The editorial writer captured in words the cheerful characteristics and the indomitable spirit of this lovable little canine. A big howl and a wag of the tail to The Blade for this delightful editorial.

Leah Foust

West Park Place



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