Has the American Dream finally died? After decades of industrializing, up to becoming the world's sole super power, the United States is on a steep decline. The breakup of the Soviet Union did not alleviate this situation. U.S. strength plateaued in the 1960s.
At first it was trinkets and toys with "Made in Japan" labels. Then it was motorcycles and automobiles. Recently Toyota passed GM to become the world leader in auto sales. Now it is almost impossible to buy an electronic device without a "Made in China" label or an electrical appliance not "Made in Mexico." Almost all apparel is made outside the country. About the only things we make are military weapons.
Thanks to globalization we no longer have industrial might. Blue-collar workers are disappearing as their jobs go overseas. The lucky ones find jobs in the service sector at a fraction of their former wages. One wage earner once supported a family; now it takes two. A program provides retraining in information technology to blue-collar workers whose jobs are sent abroad. Now IT jobs are going to India.
Robert E. Durbin
Re: "It's a matter of honor," by Kevin Ferris, April 20, lauding the sense of honor of Sen. John McCain.
How did Ferris miss the savings and loan scandal of 1989? McCain, one of the infamous Keating Five, was reprimanded by the Senate Ethics Committee for attempting to deter regulators from investigating Charles H. Keating's role while (surprise!) McCain was receiving campaign contributions from Keating. True honor does not disappear when money is involved.
The piece by Peter Dobrin (April 15) and the editorial (April 19) about increasing diversity in the Philadelphia Orchestra wrongly focused on numbers rather than talent. World-class orchestras achieve that status based on talent, not racial composition. If such talent crosses racial lines, that's a plus.
Moreover, if there's blame for the lack of proportional representation of a minority in prominent orchestras, it should be attributed to the education system for not exposing children to classical music; to parents for not motivating their children; and to members of minority communities who do not apply for open positions.
Broaden the definition of minorities, and most prominent orchestras include significant numbers of minorities.
Samuel J. Savitz
The writer is a member of the orchestra board, but his views here are his own.
What's wrong with America's major symphony orchestras being mostly white? If there's no evidence of unfair hiring practices, why can't a group of world-class musicians be mostly of a single race? To try to get the Philadelphia Orchestra to shed its "lily white" image is discriminatory against its current members. Which "lily-white" members should be replaced by darker ones?
It's unfortunate that some of us feel guilty that every organization isn't made up of every color of the rainbow. African Americans deserve the right to explore any form of music they please. If many of them do not aspire to perform in a symphony orchestra, they should not be pressured into doing so.
Kudos to Sen. Arlen Specter for being a lead sponsor of legislation to return ownership of our elections and federal government to the voters by curtailing the influence special interests exercise over Congress through campaign contributions.
The Fair Elections Now act provides public funding for congressional candidates who agree to spending limits and to accept only small contributions from individuals. Similar systems are working well in Arizona and New Mexico - with overwhelming public support. This means, instead of spending their time dialing for dollars, and annoying us with meaningless television blitzes, candidates can devote time to meaningful conversations with us on their ideas.