What an Obama loss would mean to me | Sept. 21, commentary by Randall Kennedy
Confidence in the cool candidate Randall Kennedy's commentary was somber in its grinding fear of a Barack Obama defeat. I have much the same intensity of fear but from different perspectives.
With an outgoing administration, this election offers a more even contest between the major political parties, especially since the incumbent's eight years are ending in an absolute financial meltdown plus the unnecessary war the current administration started in Iraq.
But much more importantly, I, an 82-year-old white male, will enthusiastically vote for Obama because I see him as the opposite of a maverick. I am confidant Obama is a person who surrounds himself with competent advisers and encourages dissent. I feel the smooth workings of his campaign are evidence of those leadership traits and will be fundamental for working on the overwhelming problems this country is encountering.
I feel Obama's cool, calculating approach to the nation's many difficulties is far superior to McCain's lifelong maverick trait of shooting from the hip.
John McCain is a military man. His stance seems to be to push rather than negotiate, fight rather than talk.
I believe Obama as president will give the country a new direction and eventually restore the free world's respect for our United States of America.
Jerry Hobbs, Lutz
Randall Kennedy states he will be disappointed and frustrated if Barack Obama loses this election. Due to obvious racial prejudice, he maintains that the loss will be seen by blacks as the result of Obama not being judged fairly or "on the real issues."
Does he feel the same way about Hillary Clinton's loss to Obama? Since the great majority of blacks voted for Obama in the primary, it can be assumed many did for the sole reason that he is black, despite her being the stronger candidate.
Kennedy will feel "anger and resentment" if Obama is defeated by McCain because of racial bias, but it was okay when Clinton lost for the same reason. Who's biased now?
Christine Fazio, Trinity
Commentary on culture | Sept. 21
Go for pragmatic culture
Lee Siegel must think liberals believe culture is solely defined by which fork you use for your fish course, the angle at which you must crook your pinky while sipping tea, and sagely discussing T.S. Eliot. Liberals think no such Victorian thing. Culture, broadly defined, means "the way of life" of a group of people. Most people know this. Everything is infused with culture.
Siegel knows this. Therefore, I see validity in his examples of the Republican sense of culture. It is telling that the specific words he chooses embody a great deal of sentimentality and emotion: courtship, relationship, believing, rejoicing, suffering, and "hallowed by religion."
He's right that politics can grow inseparable from culture. But this is what many liberals see as Republicans' problem: If conservative culture is primarily emotion-driven, what place does that have in the process of running a country? Riding high on a wave of sentiment does not make for sound business practice. What about the culture of economics, health care, and education?
Yes, liberal culture has its share of sentiment, especially for the poor and downtrodden. Still, liberals are tired of conservatives trying to supplant their leftist culture with right-wing culture, not letting them coexist side by side. Liberals are insulted that their values are considered worthy of eradication through legislation. Liberals feel that a government's purpose is not to save souls, fetuses and the sanctity of marriage.
So, exit this emotional culture. Enter pragmatic and intellectual culture. Government is a business that should promote equality and fairness for all.
Sarah Lehrmann, Clearwater
Cuts undermine "house of wisdom" | Sept. 21, Bill Maxwell column
Don't sidetrack librarians
I'd like to thank Bill Maxwell for his column last Sunday. Public and school libraries have been the great cornerstone of democracy and yet it is the library that is always on the chopping block. Currently, in the Pinellas County school system, many of the library information specialists are told to forgo the library and library programs to tend to the technology needs of the school. In other words, library programs that are integrated with the classroom and teach students the skills necessary for the 21st century are being sacrificed so that the library specialists can service equipment needs.
Every public school has hundreds of computers being used by students that require constant fixing, teacher computers that require new programs to be loaded and updated, and printers that have unending problems. Then there is the integration of computers into the curriculum, which includes both staff and student training. Every public school needs a full-time tech specialist.
I urge parents to contact their schools to find out who oversees the school's technology and, if it is the librarian, ask what is being sacrificed in the library program. Every school needs a full-time library information specialist. Every school needs a full-time technology specialist.
The students at my school are fortunate to have both. Many schools are not so fortunate.
Diane Oldja, Lakewood Elementary library information specialist, St. Petersburg
He's anything but a typical politician | Sept. 21, story on Rep. Darryl Rouson
Let's move forward
Everyone above a certain age has a past and some are more colorful or tragic than others. Whether they admit to it is another matter.
Before us, we have a man who fell prey to an addiction while unable to accept the untimely death of his beloved wife. Although he is unconventional, he has been up-front and honest about his addiction and recovery. He has rebuilt his life and been clean and sober for more than 10 years. I believe his difficult history lends him a unique perspective on some of our most urgent social concerns. If Darryl Rouson has been able to reconcile with his past and move forward, shouldn't we?
It's time we allow our elected representative to concentrate on the issues of today and not his ghosts of a decade ago.
C. Parker, St. Petersburg
Danger zone | Sept. 21, Floridian story
The article about the struggles and anguish of parents who have adopted children from foster care was assuredly not intended to discourage people from considering such adoptions. But it certainly painted a bleak picture of these adoptions.
Perhaps a more balanced article would have been more constructive. The article itself indicates that the majority of such adoptions are successful.
There are approximately 4,000 foster children awaiting adoption in Florida. While adoptive parents certainly should seek help and support when they encounter difficulties, most of these families will find joy in offering a permanent, loving home to one or more of these children.
Judy Moore, Lutz