Politicians' growing use of sleazy ads is a disgrace
Published September 6, 2004
When I went to vote on Aug. 31, there was only one other voter at the precinct. I can certainly understand the lack of interest and apathy of the public. I am so heartily sick of politicians. I have never heard such garbage and tripe spewed out in political ads as I have this year.
Finding fault with an opponent's ability to serve the people isn't enough anymore. You have to smear and annihilate that person's character and that of his or her family and friends. Every one of you should be ashamed of yourselves and everyone involved in your campaign. Your behavior is despicable and just plain sleazy.
I will definitely vote in November, but I will choose those who I feel will do the least harm to my beloved country. If I have to cross party lines to do so, so be it. I'm thoroughly disgusted with all of you. You are a disgrace to all Americans. It is past time for you to clean up your act and start acting like honorable, responsible, trustworthy people, deserving to hold public office. Our country deserves better than what it is currently getting.
-- Ellen M. Clark, Port Richey
Antiwar activists didn't prolong war
Re: Vets take Kerry's allegations personally, letter, Sept. 2.
While I have no basis for doubting that the letter writer's own allegations that her husband's letters from Vietnam may have taken issue with then antiwar activist John Kerry's views, I would find it hard to believe that many "grunts" serving "in country" were even aware of much of Kerry's testimony to Congress at the time. Most combat soldiers I've known were concentrating on simply staying alive in the steaming jungles to take much notice of stateside politics. But I could be wrong.
What I'm not wrong about, however is that the efforts of antiwar activists such as John Kerry, Tom Hayden and his wife Jane Fonda cannot take the blame for prolonging that war. That, we now know, falls solely on the shoulders of Richard Nixon. Recent formerly undisclosed presidential papers have exposed Nixon as waging a cynical campaign to put off peace talks with North Vietnam untill after the 1974 elections, thus portraying himself, much like George W. Bush is doing today, as a "war president."
Nor can John Kerry's efforts to bring light to unlawful and unethical military tactics in Vietnam be blamed for the shoddy treatment by this nation of it's combat veterans. I've spoken to many who were literally plucked out of firefights and walking the streets "back in the world" within a matter of hours of the end of their combat tour. They were offered no counciling, no vocational training and little more than directions to the nearest unemployment office on their return.
I do agree, however, with the letter writer that it is apparently okay to smear veterans of the Vietnam War, if the success of the "swift boat" group's efforts to dishonor Sen. Kerry's Silver Star and Purple Hearts is any indication.
-- John Sheehan Jr., Plant City
Swift boat ads are shallow
John Kerry's statement on behalf of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971 was a historic document that revealed the hypocrisy of continuing the Vietnam War for President Nixon's honor, so that he wouldn't be, and these are his words, "the first president to lose a war."
I am offended by the shallowness of the swift boat ads. They do state correctly the testimony from some Vietnam Veterans about free fire zone actions. That was Kerry's duty and his courage in testifying. His truth helped to end the war and bring home the POWs and stop the dying.
As a Vietnam veteran who witnessed a large amount of destruction to the landscape of south Vietnam and eastern Cambodia, my life was altered completely by my own witnessing testimony on coming home. Some veterans are never going to forgive us for our antiwar testimony, but our conviction then was that our duty as returning veterans was to speak the truth and to end the war.
The shallowness of the swift boat ads is evident to anyone with an ability to look deeply. They say nothing about the deep character of the man and the men whose testimony he shared.
-- Jim Willingham, St. Petersburg
It's time for a new Cuba policy
Re: Bush's Cuban-American support slips, Aug. 27.
When will the Republican Party leadership finally get it through their thick skulls and move away from their isolationist stance on Cuba? This stance is steadily eroding the party's credibility with the younger Cuban-Americans as well as all Americans who view it as a failed policy.
If Fidel Castro were overthrown tomorrow it wouldn't have anything to do with this outdated, isolationist policy. I would have much more respect for the party leadership if they would just own up to this fact and move forward with a policy aimed more toward unrestricted travel to Cuba. But then again the Democratic Party hasn't done much either when its leadership had opportunities to open up travel to Cuba.
Let's face it. The Cuban people have been the political pawns of both parties for far to long. It's time for a change.
-- J. Larry McElveen, Belleair Bluffs
We've solved that problem
The other day I read in the 1932 Democratic Party Platform: "We condemn the improper and excessive use of money in political activities."
Seventy-two years have passed and we, fortunately, no longer have that worry, thanks to McCain-Feingold. Yeah!
-- Gilbert R. Fischer, Clearwater
Proud to be a new American
On Aug. 31 I became an American citizen! I, along with 402 other people of many different nations, took the Oath of Allegiance, sang The Star Spangled Banner and then took the Pledge of Allegiance. We saw a video message from President Bush, welcoming us to the United States.
It was a day I'll never forget: 403 people from 81 different countries, of religions and cultures who came from every continent. We ended up getting our certificates of citizenship, and we were now Americans. I felt quite proud and consider it a great honor to belong to this great country.
I now know what those stickers mean - the ones on car and truck bumpers that say "Proud to be an American." I am now one myself!
-- Thomas A. Porter, St. Petersburg
Think about going metric
For two Olympic weeks, many Americans have been confronted with a small but important unit of the so-called metric system: the meter; and for longer distances: the kilometer.
Now, why not try to adapt to these units in daily life instead of returning to these stupid inches, feet, yards and miles? The much-used prefixes are easy to recall: mili (1/1,000); centi (1/100); kilo (1,000). We are already familiar with the liter soda bottles.
Is it not about time to join the world?
-- Johannes A. Klaren, Beverly Hills
Selective enforcement on gouging
Re: Price gouging.
What about gouging at the sports venues? It seems that there is selective enforcement of our antigouging laws. In storm-related product sales, yes. In concessions at Devil Rays, Buccaneers and Lightning games, no (e.g., $3 for a 69-cent bag of peanuts)!
Note also that storm gougers don't employ uniformed guards to prevent the admission of lower-cost competitive products to the area.
-- Donald Barnhill, Trinity
[Last modified September 5, 2004, 20:02:10]