Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 11, 2005

Voters can force country to adopt new leadership

Dan Rodricks has it right for the most part ("It's time we own up to lack of leaders," Sept. 4).

He rightly blasts Americans for re-electing President Bush in 2004. He rightly blasts those who choose to drive petrol-guzzling, air-polluting SUVs.

And he (also rightly) impugns Maryland's Democrats for their lack of foresight and backbone on growth and conservation issues, as well as for their apparent collusion in the Iraq debacle.

However, Democrats at the national level haven't been mute; they've been silenced by the Republican majority.

Being in the minority in both houses of Congress, Democrats have little voice in our federal government.

Mr. Rodricks is also right in saying the American people have no one but themselves to blame for stacking the federal government with GOP ideologues.

The obvious conclusion (which Mr. Rodricks only hints at) is this: To restore healthy discussion, balance and, one would hope, forward thinking to our federal government, Americans need to purge the House of Representatives of Republicans in 2006.

This train wreck of a federal government won't begin to clean itself up until voters force the issue.

Lea Jones Margaret Flowers Sparks

The writers are co-founders of Progressives of Northern Maryland.

Can we find leaders to reverse our slide?

Dan Rodricks' forceful condemnation of America's leaders, both Democrats and Republicans, who fail to "speak with truth and honesty about where we're headed as a nation" raises questions not only about the quality of our leadership, but whether, as a nation, we are in decline ("It's time we own up to lack of leaders," Sept. 4).

What else can be said when we cannot protect ourselves against man-made terrorism (9/11) or the consequences of natural disaster (Hurricane Katrina)? Meanwhile, we internally continue to tolerate unconscionable poverty, the breakdown of our public infrastructure and waste billions on an unjustifiable war, tax cuts for the richest and mindless consumerism.

This is akin to Nero fiddling while Rome burned.

The question now is whether the American people can wake up to the seriousness of our national problems and produce a leadership equal to the daunting tasks ahead.

I have my doubts.

Howard Bluth

Baltimore

Local officials lead response to disasters

Among all the Monday-morning quarterbacking regarding the New Orleans disaster, it's amazing that few people, if any, have noted the basic element of American emergency operations plans ("Bush vows inquiry into response to crisis," Sept. 7).

The primary responsibility for natural disaster response in every emergency plan I've read lies with local and state government officials, not federal officials. Federal officials are to aid local and state government, not usurp, invade and take over.

The American federal system thus rightly builds upon the truism that local officials know their situation far better than the federal officials.

Also built into our American system are specific safeguards against military intervention into local and state matters.

Hence, the National Guard, not federal military assets, is directly available for such disasters.

The distinction between local, state and federal government responsibility used to be taught in high school civics courses, but judging from the media talking heads and the many letters to The Sun that is apparently no longer true.

Charles A. Clough

Bel Air

Change lifestyles to use energy wisely

The Sun's editorial regarding the reasons not to hoard gas was full of good points ("Don't hoard gas," Sept. 4). However, as a society we need to do far more.

Words such as recycle, reuse, walk and carpool need to become part of our lifestyles, not something that is bandied about whenever there is a hint that our drive to consume might be even slightly derailed.

As a culture we put a man on the moon with fewer than 10 years of effort.

We could certainly develop many viable energy alternatives if we decided it was truly a priority and not just something that gets political lip service every decade or so.

Let us be the generation that says enough is enough and leads the way to change.

Paul Renn

Baltimore

Copeland plants seeds of division

The insensitivity to people with disabilities award must be awarded to Bonnie S. Copeland, the chief executive of the Baltimore school system.

Her comments regarding funding the court-ordered special education reparations plant the seeds for dividing parents of kids in regular education against those whose kids are in special education ("Millions planned for special-ed sessions," Sept. 8).

Ms. Copeland has revealed her prejudice and resentment against special education students by characterizing them as a financial drag on the school system and as depriving other students of their entitlements.

It is not the fault of the special education students that the system is being held accountable for educating them.

Susan F. Keller

Finksburg

Airport should honor those proud of city

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