Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for Nov. 4

Good at using guilt

The story about balance in the teaching of history reminds me of a quotation by Albert Shanker, the decidedly liberal president of the American Federation of Teachers.

When demands were made of him that the teaching of history should show the left wing view that this is the most vile country every known, he replied that we would be the only country in the world teaching their children this way.

The only place where the political left and fundamental preachers coincide is the mass use of guilt to gain their ends.


Campaign contributions are legal bribery

Americans pay twice as much per capita for health care as the average in other modern industrial nations, but the World Health Organization ranks us only 37th in health outcomes. Our life expectancy is only 42nd.

Why the disparity between cost and results?

Other nations designed their health care systems to produce good health. The U.S. system is designed to produce big profits for insurance, pharmaceutical and hospital companies.

Single-payer – essentially Medicare for everybody – would replace health insurance companies with a streamlined solution. Medicare’s administrative overhead is about 3 percent but private insurance companies waste about 25 percent. The savings would be enough to provide health care for everyone who lacks it now.

But insurance companies have bribed Congress through many millions of dollars in campaign contributions, so Congress is more responsive to big business than to the American people.

Therefore, the bills moving through both the House and Senate offer only weak protections for public health but strong profits for insurance companies.

Big business contributions to political candidates are blocking progress on many other crucial issues. Oil companies prevent serious climate protection. Banks prevent serious financial reform. Polluters continue ruining our environment. Agribusiness interferes with food safety.

Big money contributions to candidates are legal bribery. A real solution would be optional public financing for candidates who choose to run clean campaigns without big donations from special interests.

The Fair Elections Now Act (HR 1826) would allow clean elections. Congressman Adam Smith is a co-sponsor, but Brian Baird is not.


Embrace Jesus’ message of love

The Olympian published two related articles recently.

The first article entitled “Vatican opens doors to disaffected Anglicans” and the second “Census to count gay couples for the first time.”

The net of the first story is that conservative Anglicans are unhappy that their church has been ordaining women and gays as priests and bishops and they would like to join the Catholic Church where women and gays are kept in their place, i.e. subservient to the male-dominated celibate priesthood.

The pope is in such sympathy with these poor conservatives that he is willing to allow them to form “personal ordinariates” where they could be in union with Rome but allowed to maintain their own married priesthood and liturgical traditions.

The second article describes how the U.S. Census Bureau for the first time will attempt to count the number of gay couples living in this country.

What I found fascinating about these two articles running parallel is that people would consider changing their religion to avoid dealing with homosexuality and women as priests without understanding the alternative.

What is the alternative? Join the Catholic Church where it is estimated that 50 percent of our priests are homosexual and half of our entire clergy is sexually active while claiming to be celibate. It seems to me that misogamy and homophobia are not attitudes limited to conservative and straight individuals. It would be great if Jesus’ message of love could be the driving force rather than hatred and fear.

TOM HILL, Olympia

Maybe it’s time to amend Constitution

Just how did we get so far off track?

At the risk of being labeled a flaming liberal, I am going to cite Michael Moore’s most recent film, “Capitalism: A Love Story.” The film included a clip of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1944 State of the Union message. In that message, the ailing president suggested a “second Bill of Rights” and he enumerated eight of those rights.

They included:

1. The right to a useful and decent-paying job.

2. The right to earn adequate food, clothing and recreation.

3. The right of a farmer to earn a decent living.

4. The right of a businessman to be free from unfair competition and monopoly.

5. The right of every family to a decent home.

6. The right to adequate medical care.

7. The right to be protected from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident and unemployment.

8. And finally, the right to a good education.

In the film, Moore pointed out that, while the first Bill of Rights provided good protections for our freedoms as Americans, the second Bill of Rights seemed to provide a clear road map for our nation in the post-World War II years. Yet, somehow, things got off track.

Ironically, the nations we defeated have attained those rights, using constitutions we helped to build, yet we have not.

It makes you wonder. We amended the Constitution 10 times to protect our most important freedoms. Might it not be time to amend it eight more times?