Wanted: Conscientious leader
As the parent of a gay citizen, I was saddened to see President Obama exploit the emotional divide over the definition of marriage for crass, political objectives, rather than using his moral authority as president of all Americans, whether straight or gay, to lead an effort to develop a solution acceptable to all.
There are some who hate gay people, but they are a statistically insignificant minority, so it is manifestly unfair and intolerant to portray all who oppose gay marriage as homophobes. The vast majority in opposition are decent human beings who strongly support enforcement of antidiscrimination laws. They also agree that gay couples should be entitled to all of the financial benefits enjoyed by couples in a traditional heterosexual marriage.
However, for sincerely held religious and/or traditionalist cultural reasons, they object to the redefinition of the word marriage to include unions of couples of the same sex, when the definition has been restricted to heterosexual couples for thousands of years. To them, it would be like redefining the word Christian to include Hindus, modifying the word male to include females, or replacing "The Star-Spangled Banner" with "Born in the USA" as the national anthem.
Can't we all join in calling for a conscientious political leader who will promote mutual respect and understanding between people on opposite sides of this issue, and attempt to mediate the dispute, with the hope of agreeing on a word to describe the uniqueness of a committed, loving, gay union that is acceptable to all?
Jack Penders, Media
Setbacks for the GOP
The GOP has recently suffered a severe one-two punch. When President Obama expressed acceptance of same-sex marriages, the roof blew off and hordes of badly needed voters appeared to have come over to the Democratic side.
Number two is the JPMorgan Chase debacle, which has had little apparent effect on voters outside banking circles, but could have a much greater influence as Election Day approaches and voters realize that the big banks are often as ignorant of the effect of their investments as ordinary investors are.
The banks have been pushing Congress for more lenient regulations and I hope, now, their complaints will fall on ears that are even more deaf than before.
Conrad J. Fowler, Blue Bell, firstname.lastname@example.org
Focus on what's important
Three letters railed against Mitt Romney for a prank at age 18 (Tuesday). I am so delighted to see the liberals around Philly so desperate when it comes to setting independent voters against Romney on this issue.
President Obama has destroyed the American job market, has continued the wars in the Middle East, has not closed Gitmo, has bailed out banks and auto companies, has spent more money than all presidents combined, has tried taking over our personal health care and the health-care industry, has pitted Americans against each other, and has warned our Supreme Court against ruling Obamacare unconstitutional. These issues are more important than what Romney did as a teen.
Connie Waterman, Narberth
Thought-deadening noise words
Johnathan Gurwitz has enlightened us concerning the sinister leftward slant of the word forward ("Obama '84: Echoes of Big Brother"). He noted that Friedrich Engels, Leon Trotsky, Vladimir Lenin, and Stalin all used the word in titles and in slogans. The word now joins the list of code words that encapsulate Republican-think — along with job-killing,government takeover, job creators, failed policies — an accumulating list of phrases whose unsupported repetition has rendered them unfit for discourse, and turned them into a sterile pile of knee-jerk, thought-deadening noise words.
Wayne Williams, Malvern
More dialogue, fewer form letters
I am not at all surprised by this article ("Pennsylvania congressman muffs Mideast message," Wednesday). After numerous attempts at dialogue, by e-mail and letters, over the years with U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts concerning various issues, I finally gave up. Each and every correspondence was answered with a form letter or e-mail that had absolutely nothing to do with my comments. Apparently, someone sees a key word in the correspondence, finds a form letter with that keyword, and sends the reply. Disgusting! But, of course, the laughable campaign literature ultimately followed when the representative was looking for my vote.
Diane L. Donato, West Chester, email@example.com
Humans' failure to communicate
Kudos once again to Faye Flam for her (as usual) excellent overview of the current state of the species, in the latest case concerning verbal communication — or the lack thereof ("Evolution may help explain prolific texting and tweeting," May 7). I have lamented the tendency of people — and not just "young" people — who are proud of their gadgetry prowess, but seem to have lost the ability to simply sit and talk without grabbing the newest "communication" device to demonstrate that ability or to prove a point that could wait until later in the "conversation."
Flam's articles are always entertaining, educational, informative, and well-researched. In this case, the light she shone on our collective (perhaps) inability to retain our humanity — to rise above the sometimes violent tribal rule of chimps and other lower primates, for instance — simply demonstrates our human need to rein in the dependence on ascendancy and dominance, whether it involves electronic communication devices, war, or any other activity that demonstrates the "devolution" of our species.
Cletus McBride, Bensalem
According to the letter "Special interests hold city back" (Tuesday), investment in manufacturing requires freedom from "unions, trial lawyers, eco-wackos, and women and minority grievance parasites."
The ideal business climate would seem to require the suppression of unions, the absence of the rule of law and independent courts and judges, tolerance of environmental pollution, and the suppression of the rights of minority groups. There is a place where all this exists: the People's Republic of China.
That would seem to explain why American investors have moved so many of our manufacturing jobs to this totalitarian communist paradise.
John McFadden, Philadelphia, firstname.lastname@example.org
Politicians cave in to unions
Your editorial "Union job is nice work, especially the pay" (Sunday) states that "we can hope unions will refuse improper government giveaways on principle, but it would probably be a vain hope."
It's a vain hope because government negotiators are not forcing the unions to accept endless millions of taxpayer dollars for doing nothing. The unions demand these payments, under the threat of striking and closing down services in municipalities.
The politicians doing the negotiating are often dependent on the unions' support in money and people to run their campaigns, so they will cave in to almost any demand, no matter how outrageous.