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    Letters to the Editors

    Don't limit black people ideologically


    © St. Petersburg Times
    published October 20, 2002

    Re: Colin Powell bamboozled, by Bill Maxwell, Oct. 13.

    There is a very disturbing trend among liberals, especially African-American liberals, that seems to say, "If you are not of our ideology and you are white, you are a bigot and a racist, and if you happen to be black, you are a field slave, house nigger (Maxwell's words), Uncle Tom or just a plain sellout."

    Colin Powell, J.C. Watts and Clarence Thomas don't see the world the way Harry Belafonte or Bill Maxwell see it. They are beholden to a set of beliefs that are different -- rooted in conservatism. Why must your brothers in race also be your brothers in ideology or otherwise risk being demonized? Every time someone makes a "slave" reference toward conservative black Americans, it trivializes the awful injustices that a people once suffered. To suggest that these conservatives are equal to slaves serving the "white master" is simply irresponsible.

    This president has done a wonderful job of assembling a multiethnic group of like-minded people to serve their country and make life-and-death decisions. This administration consists of more women and minorities than any other.

    As a white, 30-something Republican, I would be proud to support any presidential ticket that included -- top or bottom -- Colin Powell, J.C. Watts or Dr. Condoleezza Rice. They represent some of the best and brightest that this country has to offer and should be recognized as role models for all Americans. It's a shame that in this day and age, some blacks just aren't black enough for Messrs. Maxwell and Belafonte.
    -- Chris Karamitsos, Bayonet Point

    Race arguments

    Re: Colin Powell bamboozled, by Bill Maxwell.

    When Maxwell writes regarding education situations for African-Americans, he will blast the people who use the phrase "acting too white" as a criticism of educational ambition in blacks.

    Yet, when Harry Belafonte made the same type of comment regarding Secretary of State Colin Powell, Maxwell defended Belafonte's position.

    Evidently, Maxwell and Belafonte feel that it would be impossible for a well-educated (and experienced) black man or woman to agree with the president regarding the current debate on war with Iraq.

    I am proud to have served in the armed forces under Gen. Powell, and I am proud of how he has performed his duties with integrity as secretary of state.
    -- Terry R. Arnold, St. Petersburg

    A thin assessment

    Re: President seems unable to bear the sight or sound of dissent, Oct. 13.

    It was ironic that Robyn Blumner's column would criticize the president for the manner in which he "deals with dissent." Apparently she, too, has difficulty with points of view that differ from her own.

    On the issue of security, Blumner writes, "The Secret Service claims that security concerns justify the segregated zones for protesters. That's a lot of bunk." I applaud her brevity, but unfortunately that is the extent of her security argument "analysis."

    A more balanced and objective treatment of this issue might have pressed someone at the Secret Service to explain why, or at the very least, introduced the opinion of a recognized security expert besides the Secret Service. Her column provided nothing further on crowd security to inform the reader. Of course, there was the obligatory nod to the American Civil Liberties Union.
    -- "Food for the mind"? This is more like bubble gum.
    Gregg Laskoski, Spring Hill

    Dissenters beware

    Re: President seems unable to bear the sight or sound of dissent.

    I read with interest, Robyn Blumner's column on the suppression of dissent by G.W. Bush.

    How long before dissenters will be hauled off to "enemies of the state" camps, never to be heard from again?

    Blumner's article should have been on the front page instead of on the back page!
    -- Carolynne Paul, Brooksville

    War worries

    Re: As war nears: sizing up Hussein's Iraq, by Margo Hammond, Oct. 13.

    As a veteran of World War II and Korea, and an avid reader of the St. Petersburg Times, I was pleased to read Sandra Mackey's opinions during her conversations with Margo Hammond. It is very disturbing to me that Congress has given what constitutes total permission for George W. Bush to attack Iraq. It seems to me that very little thought has been given to the consequences as a result of such an act.

    Mackey speaks of the chaos this could cause in such things as oil markets, world economy, trade restrictions and the horrendous possibility that the Israelis might use nuclear weapons if Saddam Hussein used Scud missiles against them as he did in Operation Desert Storm. Do we want to go in there and end up supplying occupational troops for years and having them deal with people who have been taught all their lives to hate Americans?

    We lost two wars by allowing politicians to control those conflicts from their safe desks in Washington and I, for one, believe they should not have given Bush the authority to start another war.
    -- John J. Hayes, Hudson

    A Marine knows the job

    Re: Will resolve stay strong when our soldiers die? by Mary Jo Melone, Oct. 13.

    While Mary Jo Melone enjoys the freedom of our country, paid for by the lives of servicemen from World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Kuwait, she spews anti-American propaganda.

    "He didn't join the Marines out of some great need to crusade. He wanted a way to pay for college."

    Lance Cpl. Antonio Sledd took an oath as a Marine to defend the Constitution of the United States. He knew Marines are usually the first in a strike force. Either she is discrediting him as a Marine or someone told her this about him. You don't enlist in a combat force just to get an education paid for by the U.S. government.

    As a veteran, I let Melone's anti-American writings anger me; I detest people who have never been to war who orate to the negative. No one likes war but because of it, Mary Jo Melone can sit in her air-conditioned office and write about subjects about which she knows nothing.
    -- Jack Cahill, St. Petersburg

    Democrats exposed

    Re: Those spineless Democrats, Oct. 13.

    I'll agree with Philip Gailey on one thing: The Democrats are not offering ideas to bolster the economy and fix Social Security and health care. You know why? Because if they did they'd have to tell Americans that the costs would be so prohibitive that taxes would have to be raised enormously.

    Gailey realizes but fail to grasp the grave consequences to Democrats of toeing the socialist line: spend, spend, spend, take from the rich, give to the poor. Result: Everyone is then poor. Never cut spending, never reduce the budget. Never expect or demand people perform to their best potential. Never accept responsibility or accountability. Always deflect blame. Always grow the size of government. Then and only then will they have true power.

    The Democrats are a party of division. The play the race and class cards to keep them in power. Could it be they realize Americans are getting wise to their actions? Could it be that after almost 40 years of unkept promises the American public is beginning to see through the sham of the Democrat's mantra?
    -- Vilmar Tavares, Spring Hill

    Eliminating offenders

    A measure on Florida's ballot will allow the state Constitution to change its death penalty law, which prohibits executing anyone younger than 17, to the same wording as the federal statute, which provides the death penalty for people 16 and older. This will almost eliminate about a dozen frivolous appeals per death row inmate, most of which challenge the minuscule difference between Florida and federal statute.

    The purpose of the death penalty is not to punish the offender, but to eliminate permanently from society both the offender and the cost of incarcerating the offender, as well as the risk that the offender will perpetrate further crimes.

    Society should be no more burdened by a child who commits heinous adult crimes like murder than it should by an adult who commits them. In fact, it should be less burdened, considering the time span of the burden.

    If parents have so failed in their responsibilities to society to rear humane children, then sad though it may be, society should eliminate those children from the face of the earth.

    Much of this problem would go away if the state were to require prospective parents to endure rigorous training in child-rearing skills before being allowed to produce or care for children. Oh, would the ACLU have fun with that one.
    -- Bob Hurt, Clearwater

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