Below are excerpts of e-mail responses to the Oct. 21 “Half a Six Pack” questions (an abbreviated version of “Six Pack to Go”). Each question has five responses from readers. (Sorry, but Russ serves as the “gatekeeper” — he determines the five answers to accompany each question.) In order to make this a reader-friendly feature, some lengthy answers submitted by readers may have been shortened.
1) Don't you hope that the state and city wait until the clouds are much more ominous before tapping into “rainy day” funds? Hope so, but the realist in me says they will tap the reserves to make up for the recession-generated loss of tax money needed to pay for services. Heavens to Murgatroid, they should reduce some soft-and-fuzzy politically correct budget items!Sure do. Kest gets me with all the talk about increasing the size of our safety forces. Who wouldn't want more cops on the street? This is a guy who preaches about his background in things financial and is the first one to suggest spending the rainy day fund. Sure hope the voters see through this rhetoric. No, this is not an endorsement of the Ford campaign! I would hope that the city and state would wait until it is raining before tapping the rainy day fun. Politicians can never leave well enough alone, especially if it is money that is not theirs. Are things THAT bad in Toledo that they want to tap into the “rainy day” funds? I would think that those are for dire, unexpected emergencies, or disasters — not economic downturns. How about a little belt-tightening? Fiscal responsibility? I hope they don't use the money, but a politician's “rainy day” is usually 24 hours after they are elected.
2) How is it possible for the United States to lose the “propaganda war” in the Middle East to a network of mass murderers? If we are losing the propaganda war, it's because the Taliban is telling Muslims what they want to hear, and what a great many have been taught since childhood, even in so-called “friendly” Muslim nations. On the other hand, our media have been telling both sides. We are getting “facts” and they are getting “propaganda.” The short answer is that it is absolutely not possible for us to win the propaganda war in the Middle East. The Arab mind on this is hundreds of years old. They cannot support us. They feel a superiority because of their teachings and religion that essentially causes them to relish victory over the West. … Our support for the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel, enrages them further. It is easy for the Arab nations to believe terrorists. The terrorists tell them exactly what they want to hear. Because the people over there hate the U.S. more than they hate terrorists. The purpose of religion is to control masses of people. We do not use religion as a weapon — they do. As much as we'd like to think that the rest of the world is appalled at the massive loss of innocent life, I don't think countries where war and terrorism are a daily fact of life are going to get all that excited about it. When the illiteracy rate approaches 50 percent, folks are going to believe their local clergy, so we were already fighting an uphill battle. Is it impossible? No, but we have to be more creative and show better understanding of the culture and social climate. The leaflets in native languages will only work if the populace reads.
3) If you were advising President Bush, wouldn't you tell him to scale way back on the economic incentives that we are giving countries for their participation in the war of terrorism? It's been painful to watch different countries use our problems at this time to further their own goals. Let's not kid ourselves that Russia and China really care about terrorism in the U.S. They want to help us so that we lose the right to criticize their own wars against Muslim “rebels.” The only country that really has taken a risk to help us is Pakistan. Yes. We have been too “giving” for many years. You can't buy friendship and you can buy cooperation only for a little time. I would not only scale back, but I would explain to them what could happen if they didn't participate in the war on terrorism. With terrorists, you're either for or against — there ain't no neutrals. I do not believe that we should give anything until there are results, but then I would reward handsomely with no additional strings. Too often the strings attached have become a noose around our neck. These countries should be helping us just because they want to get rid of the terrorists. I can't believe we have to pay them to participate!
I have, over time, predicted what I would be doing five years in the future and never have I been correct. I can't even get the next month right, let alone one to five years in the future. I guess if life was that predictable, it wouldn't be any fun.Five years? It seems that every company I worked for was perpetually starting a new five-year plan to replace the five-year plan that was initiated last week. I can relate to your experiences of the last five years. I have made a major career change and could not be much happier. After going jobless for 21 months, you go through a lot of soul-searching and your outlook on material possessions in particular changes dramatically. What used to be important to me five years ago is no longer important at all. I just hope to “be” in five years. I reflected on your remarks about the future and remembered what a U.S. Marine Corps soldier said one time. A newsman asked one of the riflemen if there was any wish that could be granted, what would it be? His reply: “Tomorrow.” What a group of men!
Patriotism or loyalty. Republicans must realize that supporting a wartime president and government is patriotic; supporting Dubya's economic and social problems is loyalty. I may not always agree with you, but you're logical and not vitriolic about the things you don't like. How about those Rockets? They can beat a Big Ten opponent once a year, but they always seem to struggle in the mighty MAC, which may lose its Division I status. We all know how tough Ball State is at home. No shame there (yea, right). I agree with Harvey. Bush is doing a good job, but a big reason is because he has good advisors. I find it interesting that I get a lot of e-mails lately trashing Clinton for not having cleaned up the terrorists before now. It is as if the Republicans know they have the upper hand right now and are rubbing it in. Regarding Bush: For me, it is one of trust and respect. If I trust and respect the person, it is easy to be supportive. I believe that Clinton made it further than his personal qualities and character should have provided (i.e., he was not worthy of the office of president). I neither trusted nor respected him. I believe, however, that he made some good decisions and did a number of things right for which he did not get full credit because he did not command respect or trust. Before you characterize me as a Republican, I felt Nixon was an egocentric whom I could neither trust nor respect, and he also did a number of things right.
Russ Lemmon's column appears Sundays. Readers may contact him at 1-419-724-6122, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.