It's up to us citizens
I woke up election day with hope but also tremendous anxiety. I had a lot of worries about this election:
That many quarters were defining "progressive" largely in terms of fiscal responsibility and governance, sidelining the need for a progressive agenda to address inequity and poverty in our city;
That any vote not for Michael Nutter would be a vote for Tom Knox; and
That our obsession with a (possible) mayor-elect would cloud issues that I care about far more than I care about any candidate: public education; neighborhood development; creating a welcoming city for immigrants.
But as I left the booth, I saw my 10-year-old daughter taking signatures on a petition to increase city funding for public schools. She reminded me that the only people who will ever make this election live up to its hype are not the candidates, but all of us. We're the ones who will have to hold our elected leaders accountable, demand that all residents have a voice, and place our concerns before them. It's what we've always done, and that work begins anew.
Michael Nutter's proposal for a "stop-and-frisk" policy to combat crime clearly violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is an affront to black men, who would be automatic victims of bigoted law enforcement, which would be further empowered by this travesty.
The majority of us black men have jobs and are responsible citizens. Nutter's proposal is offensive and sets race relations back to the 1950s and 1960s, when any violent treatment of black men by law enforcement was justified. How would Nutter like to be stopped and frisked, simply for being a black man? Or how would he like his daughter to be stopped and frisked?
Robert A. Butler
An ethical man
I almost fell off my seat as I read in The Inquirer yesterday that some Bush administration officials had acted ethically ("Ex-deputy: Gonzales pressed ill Ashcroft.")
Of course, it was not a surprise that Alberto Gonzales, who was then White House counsel, did his best to keep illegal warrantless wiretapping. Next to his assessments of torture and the Geneva Conventions, this action was practically trivial.
No, the real shock was that former Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller 3d both recognized the illegality of the practice and were willing to resign rather than permit it.
On the other hand, why was this information not revealed to Congress during the confirmation hearings for Gonzales? Had Congress known, would it have confirmed him as attorney general? Knowing now, can Congress allow him to remain?
Gonzales violated the oath of office he was allowed to take because facts were concealed from Congress. If this is not sufficient cause for impeachment, then what are the standards, other than sexual immorality, that Congress would apply to impeach a civil officer of the United States?
Jerry Falwell called Nobel Prize-winning South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu a "phony." He told a country built on tolerance for people of all races, religions and political persuasions: "If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being." He railed against the ACLU, Jews and homosexuals.
I'm sure he's now in Heaven instructing his Lord on the blessings of capitalism, hate, war and intolerance while asking for more tax cuts for the privileged.
Word from the troops
In the news story on the military situation in Iraq ("Troops on mission to protect civilians - and themselves," May 13) soldiers are quoted saying things that could have been said by the liberals so criticized by President Bush and his supporters.
Sgt. First Class Michael Eaglin: "What do you want us to accomplish over here? We aren't hearing any end state. We aren't hearing it from the president, from the defense secretary." Spec. Adam Hamilton: "It's almost like the Vietnam War. We don't know where we're going."
So there you have it, and not just from those of us who have opposed this massive mistake of a war from the beginning. It is time to bring the troops home, getting them out of harm's way and using diplomacy to combat terrorism. Perhaps this course of action will also allow us to regain a bit of our respect in the world that we have lost as a result of the decisions of this administration.
Marc R. Inver