Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for Dec. 23

Happy to help out others

As a product of the social programs we are currently faced with axing, I for one don’t have the luxury of being against finding a way to fund them. Having grown up with too little to eat, sheltered in subsidized housing, tutored in school with extra classified staff, and mentored by people who volunteered for various tax-exempt nonprofits, it would be hypocritical of me to want to preclude any other being from the same humane treatment.

The only one in my family to graduate from college, I did so with the help of financial aid and subsidized loans.

Now, as an adult who does not need help paying for housing, food, or medical care, I am happy to chip in for others in their time of need. And now, as a taxpayer, I am paying into a Social Security system that will likely be a distant memory by the time I’m ready to retire. Perhaps this can be considered remuneration to the age cohort who helped finance my childhood?

Indeed, this independent, thriving, investment is able to give back time, (a little) money, energy, and most of all, a constant reminder of why we vote to take care of the least among us.

Let us not forget that humans are the ultimate investment. I’m not eager to pay more taxes to line the pockets of the wealthy.

But I wouldn’t mind more of us paying our fair share to invest in the collective betterment of our future.


Work for justice, feed the hungry

The war on Christmas could be funny if it wasn’t a distraction from serious, life-and-death issues.

Why do people bother getting upset over the proper holiday nomenclature? I can wish you “Merry Christmas” without believing in Christ the same way you can wish me “Happy Thursday” without believing in Thor.

On the other hand, if a secular holiday greeting truly offends you, you may wish to re-examine your priorities. (Helpful hint for Christians: If someone offends you, try forgiving them.)

Now onto some real issues that actually deserve your moral outrage. Millions of people have lost their jobs and homes in the last few years.

Millions are without adequate health care, food and shelter in the wealthiest nation on earth.

Doesn’t this offend you more? Our current economic catastrophe is the result of widespread fraud and recklessness on Wall Street, the product of an endemic culture of greed and corruption that is aided and abetted by politicians on both sides of the aisle. Where is the righteous outrage at this massive swindle?

Let’s remember that we all, regardless of our particular faith or lack thereof, have a responsibility to work for justice, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, and try to make the world a better place.

“Peace on earth and good will toward men” should be more than words we mouth during this specific holiday season, but goals we aspire to all year long.

Merry Christmas, happy holidays and peace be with you.


Remember soldiers, their service

As even more citizens prepare for deployment, many prosperous Americans have no personal contact with a soldier. In fact, we often consider soldiers a separate social class.

We support the troops, as long as they don’t include our children. We support the troops, as long as it doesn’t mean more taxes.

This holiday, please connect your heart to the brave band of brothers and sisters in uniform. Remember, soldiers do not choose foreign policy, they choose to serve us.

I can think of no better season’s greeting than to share these words from a soldier in Iraq. In a college distance-learning program for the military, he wrote this for my World Religions course: “I’ve been a soldier for 16 years. I deployed to this war zone with the 4th Infantry Division, Ft. Hood, Texas, in March 2003. During that time, I had plenty of opportunities to reflect on my spirituality. I found that my religion, and my view of worship, had substantially changed.

“My religion now revolves around what we were taught as children. Treat others as you would be treated.

“I believe that all the goodness you inject into the universe finds a way of returning to you. I am trying to love strangers as I do my family and have found that, in doing so, some of those strangers have become my family.”