Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 04, 2006

Senators out of step on flag amendment

As could have been expected, Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Paul S. Sarbanes voted in lockstep with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party to help kill the flag-burning amendment by single vote ("By one vote, Senate rejects flag measure," June 28). In so doing, they once again dismissed the views of the majority of mainstream Marylanders.

How out of step are our two Senators? Consider:

Forty-eight states had outlawed flag desecration before the 1989 Supreme Court ruling invalidated a Texas law that did so.

All 50 state legislatures have passed resolutions urging Congress to approve a constitutional amendment prohibiting flag desecration.

The House of Representatives in 2005, which was not an election year, passed a flag-burning amendment by a lopsided 286-130 vote.

Had either of our senators voted for the flag-burning amendment this year, it would have been subject to ratification or defeat at the state level.

Their vote knowingly denied local voters our fundamental right to debate the issue and to more directly influence the amendment's fate.

Citizen empowerment? That's rarely seen in one-party Maryland.

Entrenched politicians taking you for granted? You bet.

Is now the time to balance our representation in the U.S. Senate?

If not this year, when?

Joe Migliara

Owings Mills

Backers of bill ignore real issues

Anyone whose patriotism, faith and flag cannot withstand criticism or even disrespect is highly suspect ("By one vote, Senate rejects flag measure," June 28).

I welcome all tests of my beliefs. The patent toadying of the 66 senators who voted for the flag desecration amendment and their lack of attention to matters of genuine importance should cost them all their jobs in the next election.

Congratulations to Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Paul S. Sarbanes for being adult and resisting this posturing.

William Trolinger

Ellicott City

Failing freedom to secure a symbol

At least for one more year, the First Amendment remains intact. With the narrow defeat in the U.S. Senate of a bill that would have authorized the Congress to desecrate the Constitution, we Americans temporarily retain our freedom of speech ("By one vote, Senate rejects flag measure," June 28).

Civics and history lessons are needed by those who equate "protecting" the flag with patriotism.

The flag is a symbol. Our Constitution and the freedoms it guarantees are what the rebels in 1776 fought to secure for themselves and for us.

One of the things that make America different from North Korea, China, Cuba and a host of other countries around the world is our freedom to criticize the government. It is our most precious right.

Those who support a flag-burning amendment, in a misguided effort to protect our symbol of freedom, want to take away that freedom. This makes no sense.

Desecrating the flag is offensive to me and to many others.

However, Americans should have the freedom to destroy a flag that was purchased with their money and that is their property as long as they are not infringing on the rights of anyone else.

America is more than a collection of symbols. It is a country founded on the principles of freedom.

Let's not trade our freedom for a symbol of that freedom.

Neil Cohen

Towson

Parents must act to save city kids

The Sun's article "Schools challenge report" (June 27) states that the city is disputing a study that found that Baltimore schools have only a 38.5 percent high school graduation rate, boasting that the rate is really 59 percent. The article also says that there are several measures that can be used for this statistic. But until all of the measures say 100 percent of the children are graduating, the schools are failing.

The city schools have been an abysmal failure for decades. There is plenty of political blame to go around. Several mayors, several governors and other politicians have pledged to help. None has succeeded.

Until the parents refuse to accept what the schools provide and move to better their children's lives, there can be no change.

Parents must be involved in their children's education.

If the politicians say they will fix the schools, look at history. They are giving us false hope.

Parental involvement is the corrective measure needed.

Robert Shreeve

Manchester

The dangers of salt are well-established

I am concerned that the article "The great salt debate" (June 23) may have confused readers about whether they should reduce their salt consumption.

Based on overwhelming evidence, the American Medical Association has concluded that if all Americans were to cut their sodium consumption in half, 150,000 lives in the United States would be saved annually.

The AMA is not alone in concluding that the public would benefit greatly if the food and restaurant industry substantially reduced the amount of sodium in their products.

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