Democratic drumbeat lacks subtlety
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 6, 2001
Re: Shiny shoes with big feet walk heavily in the halls of the Capitol, by Philip Gailey, April 29,
Gailey's remark about ". . . some legislators, who could be charged with prostitution if they did business on the street the way they do it in the Legislature" sounded a lot like the statement made by Theodore Dreiser: "The American press, with very few exceptions, is a kept press. Kept by big corporations the way a whore is kept by a rich man."
It started with Diane Roberts, who somehow reminds me of a Students for a Democratic Society throwback from the '60s, and her column Florida copying the mistakes Alabama is trying to fix (April 29). Right below the end of her column, was a picture of the smiling Robyn Blumner and her column, Civics program on chopping block. Two pages later came the above mentioned column by Gailey, and below him was Martin Dyckman's column, Tom Feeney's dictatorship. By now, I was prepared for -- last, but not least -- the column by Tim Nickens, Hope springs eternal for state Democrats in next year's governor's race.
All of these pieces were either attacking Gov. Jeb Bush, President Bush, the Republicans or House Speaker Tom Feeney. It was like reading the same editorial five times, with just a few twists. Which liberal Democrat paid you to drop your drawers, guys?
Please, be a little more subtle with your bias. Your readership is not that dumb!
John Mashburn, Largo
Lots of larges
Elsewhere in your paper there was a story about a young man (one among many) who has lived for years with AIDS thanks to expensive drugs and living expenses paid for with tax dollars. Another article featured a woman (one among many) who has lived for a generation in subsidized housing. Yet another disclosed how legislative leaders have agreed to continue to provide "state money" for eyeglasses, hearing aids and dentures for the poor. They also have decided against some proposed cuts in Medicaid and services for poor, pregnant women
Nonetheless, Gailey writes that most advocates for the poor can't pick up restaurant and bar tabs for legislators or make campaign contributions, so they "get a polite hearing and a few crumbs."
Free medical care, subsidized housing, welfare, food stamps. Who pays for all that largess? Why us heartless rich folks who are undeserving of the tax cuts proposed in Tallahassee and Washington.
Robert Vaughn, Oldsmar
I have a simple solution to this "controversy." Each school/team represented by a American Indian mascot should form a committee to study the history of their particular mascot. Then, they can start new traditions (or keep the old ones) based on what they learn. This will save a lot of confusion and maybe allow us to learn more about the original inhabitants of this continent.
My final point is that it is ineffective for the American Indian activists to attack sports, since I'm willing to bet that (surprise!) not everyone in this country cares for sports. Why not go after something that most people in this country know about? The man on the 20-dollar bill, for example. Didn't he have some connection with American Indians? I'm pretty sure he did.
Rob Scopel, Lutz
Maxwell's column was directly on point. He argues that the illogic of racism is what gives rise to faulty comparisons. However, I believe that Maxwell is the one being illogical. His refusal to see the logic in the comparison between a naked Jesus and a naked Martin Luther King Jr., smacks of insensitivity to the passions of Christians
Maxwell's column insinuates that Catholic League president William Donohue is a racist because he complained of artist Deborah Masters' depiction of a naked Jesus, comparing it to a naked Dr. King. What Maxwell does not tell us is that Donohue was addressing his remarks to a religiously diverse audience, some of whom were Jews, some Christians, some Buddhists, some atheists, etc. To many, if not most, in this audience, Jesus is not a deity. Donohue, therefore, used the King analogy because King is respected as much, if not more, than Jesus in the minds of non-Christians. If people would become upset over the depiction of a naked Dr. King, given their respect for him, perhaps that would sensitize them to how upset Christians would be over the depiction of a naked Jesus. Apparently the artist saw the logic in this analogy and promptly clothed the naked Jesus.
Martin Luther King Jr. is also a symbol of great love. People, especially black people, would become upset over his undignified depiction. We have to look no further than the furor that has been raised by black leaders over the use of King's image in the Alcatel commercials to realize the truth of this. Yet, Maxwell says that King is not sacred. He should be compared to George Washington and not to Jesus. However, when Washington's image was being used as a talking dollar bill in a recent commercial, I heard no leaders of any color getting upset. I feel that Maxwell should come down from his ivory tower and learn how to be sensitive to the deeply held feelings and beliefs of others. Despite what he may think, his opinion is not the only truth.
Frank Montagna, New Port Richey
Falling into the trap
How deliciously ironic! In attempting (and mostly succeeding) to expose how irrational thinking degrades public debate on issues involving politics, race, religion and art, Bill Maxwell falls into the very trap he decries!
I'm referring to his statement concerning his devout grandfather, "whose suffering would make atheists of lesser people . . ." The implication of the statement is that, by considering the evidence (suffering), and basing their decision (not to believe in a deity that would allow or condone said suffering) on evidence (which is, of course, what logic is supposed to base decisions on), atheists are "lesser people."
Obviously, Maxwell's emotional attachment to his grandfather (understandable, of course) overrode his ability to apply logic in this case -- and that's exactly what happens to most people whenever the aforementioned subjects are at issue.
While it might offend him to examine it, one could logically make the case that his grandfather was using belief in his deity as a crutch to get through his suffering, or worse, merely cowering in fear of an imaginary being he believed was responsible for his suffering, rather than having the strength to face suffering on his own.
Logic and religion will never be compatible, because the basis in faith of religion is not acceptable to the logician. The most we can hope for is an agreement to disagree.
Brent Yaciw, Wesley Chapel
Bill Maxwell states that illogical thinking occurs when politics, race, religion and art collide. The fact that artist Renee Cox happens to be black is irrelevant. The objection would be the same if the artist were white, Asian, Jewish or any other religious or ethnic group
The objection is valid because, as Maxwell himself states, "Christ and the Virgin Mary are pure religious figures. They are not of this world. (Dr. Martin Luther) King and (Rosa) Parks are human, civil rights figures. Nothing is sacred about them."
And that is precisely the issue for Catholics. What is to be gained from the depiction of sacred figures in non-traditional ways? What has happened to good taste? Could it be that artists resort to shock art to make money?
Maxwell proves his point with his own illogical thinking. It is not a black-white issue.
Doris K. Roane, Clearwater
A welcome love stor
What a wonderful love story, and what a lovely first lady of Florida. It was such an enjoyable, positive article about a political family. Whether you are Republican or Democrat, seeing a love story and a long, devoted marriage depicted on the front page is a relief from the usual sad, negative headlines
Congratulations to Julie Hauserman for this delightful, tasteful interview with Columba Bush.
SueAnn B. Brockwell, St. Petersburg
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