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Issue Home January 5, 2011 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Politics Ain’t Beanbag

In all honesty and lighthearted jest, I hereby accord “mazel tov” to the man I impugned. In this instance, congratulations would be inadequate. Gotta admit I picked a great way to make myself look like a jerk. In a reader’s letter to a major regional newspaper, I called President Barack Hussein Obama junior a “gutless wonder.”

His paying his political adversaries the ransom they demanded outraged me. Looking back on it now, I have to infer the President did what he had to do. I can believe his paying the ransom cleared the way for the ratification of the STrategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). No doubt about it, Barack kept his eyes on the prize of a world made more secure from nuclear threat.

It certainly behooves me to apologize and express regrets for such boorish behavior. It also behooves me to credit the man with good hard sense. At first glance, paying the ransom of extending those tax breaks for the nation’s wealthiest top two percent seems, well, not only unseemly but also reckless.

Yes, he did promise to extend them. And he did as promised. For my part, I strongly suspect, if he did promise to let them stand unaltered, he crossed his fingers. Well, somebody once remarked, “Politics ain’t beanbag.” I can see making book on those tax breaks being trimmed by this next April - drastically.

A Alexander Stella
Susquehanna, PA

Good Intentions Gone Bad

Watch out for this: I'm from the government and I'm here to help you. Accepting this offer is like reaching out to pet a growling dog: what you get is not what you want.

In 1964 the government was here to help us. The fed took a giant lead into unconstitutional grounds and expanded its sphere of influence from justice to social justice. The Civil Rights Act was now the law of the land.

From the inception of the United States in 1789, slavery was woven into the fabric of this nation. At that time, slavery was not unusual. It was found all over the world, including Africa. But this makes it no less heinous.

In the United States, the institution continued until the conclusion of the Civil War in 1865, but it was reconstituted under Jim Crow laws, a web work of segregation laws and social mores that enforced strict separation between the races. The injustice of a century of racial injustice would now be addressed by the Civil Rights Act of 1972.

The fed, with its newly-acquired power, mandated affirmative action. Sen. Hubert Humphrey foreseeing the problem of quotas said, “If the [Civil Rights] Act leads to a single quota, I'll eat my hat.” Well, if the Happy Warrior were alive today, he'd be munching on his fedora.

The only way the federal government could ensure compliance with the new set of race laws was to institute quotes. Ironically, the fed was using one set of race laws to combat another set of race laws, replacing forced segregation laws with forced integration laws. But when evil is used to fight evil, evil always wins and that's what happened.

Segregation would be dismantled at any price and that price was individual liberty. The government infringed on property rights: one could no longer rent an apartment or sell a house to whomever one chose. Contracts mutually agreed upon would be subject to federal scrutiny: employers could no longer hire whomever they thought would be best for their businesses, while terminating other employees risked a law suit. Freedom of association was restricted: clubs with exclusionary clauses were outlawed.

Hanging onto the coattails of race laws came sex laws. Women complained of a glass ceiling, unwritten laws and attitudes that prevented a sufficient number of them from advancing to executive positions in business. The fact that many women chose to become homemakers rather than aspire to be captains of industry was never considered.

Women, together with blacks, would now be given a legally enforceable preference over other job applicants. Quotas dictated the hiring of minorities in federal, state, municipal, and private businesses; the alternative was a law suit. Women were to become policemen, firemen, and business executives.

The key point is this: If a police department decided that it would be in the public interest to hire women, fine. Similarly, if a fire department thought having women would enhance their effectiveness, fine. And if a business exercised its freedom of choice and hung a sign on their front door, “Men Need Not Apply,” that, too, would be fine.

It is the government's strong-armed adventure into unconstitutional social engineering that grates.

The government, in concert with the zeitgeist of the '60s, would carry us still further afield from our foundational document.

The imagined “attitude crimes” of the glass ceiling soon morphed into thought crimes. It would be illegal to manifest dislike of certain groups. Somehow a judge was expected to read the mind of a felon to decide if prejudice was involved in the crime. If he so divined, then an additional punishment would be meted out.

Thought crimes devolved into political correctness, a self-imposed infringement of free speech. Speech was no longer free, but carefully redacted least someone be offended and haul the miscreant off to court.

The latest in the cavalcade of victims are non-heterosexuals. The government now waded in with sexuality laws to protect this minority. But the fed has no legitimate right to interfere in the private life of anyone. Personal matters should be the concern of the individual, his acquaintances, and his business associates. Not the government.

The current cause de celebre is over non-heterosexuals joining the military. Common sense would dictate that enlistment policy should be left to the generals, not the politicians, or the judges. But common sense was never the forte of Washington.

But suppose the race laws, the sex laws, and the sexuality laws were repealed. What then?

There would be changes: many would be welcomed, some would be disagreeable, and a few would be out-and-out obnoxious - but freedom would blossom. A rose does not come without thorns.

But what shall we do with individuals or companies that discriminate against race, sex, sexual proclivity? The freedoms that need the greatest protection are not those that find general favor, but those that are abhorrent to the majority. Protect these unwanted weeds of liberty jealously and freedom will flourish.

Bob Scroggins
New Milford, PA

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Letters To The Editor MUST BE SIGNED. They MUST INCLUDE a phone number for "daytime" contact. Letters MUST BE CONFIRMED VERBALLY with the author, before printing. Letters should be as concise as possible, to keep both Readers' and Editors' interest alike. Your opinions are important to us, but you must follow these guidelines to help assure their publishing.

Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript

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