Let's shorten the election process
As the presidential race drags on ad nauseam and we hear both parties' candidates embrace saving the environment and decrying the high cost of fuel, perhaps we citizens should demand some changes in our political process.
How much jet fuel has been wasted by numerous candidates criss-crossing the country for almost two years? How many hard-working Americans (sitting around the kitchen table) have been contributing millions of dollars to this seemingly endless campaign in order to help their candidate on the road to the White House?
I would propose that anyone seeking the presidency only be allowed to declare their intent in January of the election year. After all, our elected representatives, senators and governors should be focusing the majority of their time on what we elected them to do.
Then all state primaries should be held on the same day in May, and both parties would have a clear nominee for the presidency. (This, however, might enrage delegates, who enjoy whooping it up at useless conventions, and members of the news media who would have to find other talking points.) Then, mercifully, we citizens would be left with only six months of debates and TV commercials and mailings before the November election.
Historically, most Republicans are going to vote for the Republican nominee and most Democrats are going to vote for the Democratic nominee, but undecided voters would have six months to make up their minds.
Carol Mathis, St. Petersburg
The Obama imperative
List the great presidents and you have to include George Washington. Why? Washington understood that if he failed, America's grand experiment with democracy would most likely fail too. Because the father of our country succeeded, we are preparing to elect our 44th president.
For the first time in our nation's history there is the real possibility that a black man will assume the Oval Office. If elected, Barack Obama will have to work harder, longer and smarter than any president in recent memory, and no matter how much he succeeds it won't be good enough for many.
But wouldn't it be refreshing to have a leader of the free world who understands he represents something greater than himself? A man who knows he has to make it work.
Paul David Pruitt, Tarpon Springs
U.S. again out of step with the world | June 1, Bill Maxwell column
A questionable concern
Bill Maxwell derides the Bush administration for not sending a representative to Dublin for a meeting on cluster bombs. The two greatest offenders, according to Maxwell, are the United States and Israel. While the article ostensibly is a swipe at the Bush administration, particular disdain is leveled at Israel. Clearly Maxwell has an ulterior motive.
If Maxwell is truly concerned about civilian casualties through antipersonnel munitions, should he not be writing about the homicide bombers employed by Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist organizations?
Whereas cluster bombs may have been used on military targets in Lebanon, this followed unrelenting rocket and mortar rounds fired at civilian targets in northern Israeli cities. An Israeli response under such attacks cannot be termed immoral.
When the so-called human rights groups begin to be concerned about human rights instead of their own political agenda then maybe we will begin to see an end for the need of cluster munitions used against military targets.
Robert Weisberg, Tierra Verde
Unprofessional antics | June 1, letter
I sat shivering as my grandson graduated from the Air Force Academy in Colorado on the cold, rainy morning of May 28. We were all thrilled to have President Bush give each of the 1,012 graduates a handshake and warm congratulations.
Some of them asked him to wave at their families in the stands. One young man from Texas asked for a "chest bump," the way athletes congratulate each other nowadays. The letter writer said he could understand the exuberance of a new graduate, but it was embarrassing to him to see a picture of the leader of this nation executing a "chest bump" during the academy's formal graduation ceremony.
Actually, the dignified formal commissioning ceremonies had taken place the night before. Graduation was an exciting time for throwing hats in the air after four scholastically and physically rigorous years. President Bush acted appropriately.
Mozelle Bell, St. Petersburg
Get a life before you share yours | June 1, Perspective story
Keep it in the family
Tamara El-Khoury tells us of the woes of a woman who used a blog as a venue to tell the world about her life, and ended up "oversharing." Like most of us regular folk who lead regular lives, our personal lives won't interest most readers. Neither does Robyn Blumner's personal life, or that of her parents' 50-year-long marriage.
I'm always exasperated when respectable journalists fill up prime news space with feel-good personal anecdotes about their cats, houses and children.
One's friends and family are one's audience for sharing a life story, not the St. Petersburg Times.
Sarah Lehrmann, Clearwater
The key to half a century of marriage | June 1, Robyn Blumner column
An inspiring story
My compliments to Robyn Blumner for finally writing a decent and uplifting article. The article was void of whining, political digs and wacky conclusions of why the world is the way it is.
It was a beautiful visit to a marriage and vows taken seriously. Their love for learning and personal growth is inspirational! My congratulations to the Blumners. I hope the party was grand!
Dorothy G. Jata, Port Richey
Never say die | June 1, Floridian story
No time for euphemisms
I know many people can't bring themselves to use the words "died" and "death," but I strongly feel that those are the only appropriate words to use.
My husband died last year. I didn't "lose" him. He didn't "pass away" into the wild blue yonder. He died! It was the most awful thing I've ever experienced. An experience this terrible doesn't deserve to be talked about with euphemisms.
My husband died. Only that word truly conveys the true and full impact of what happened.
Linda Erlich-Tirnauer, Palm Harbor
No a.m. AC | June 2
Looking for AC savings
You reported that Pinellas School Board hopeful Steven Isbitts suggested not running the air conditioning on school buses in the mornings. When I rode the school bus waaay back in the late '80s we never had AC. If you cut it out altogether you could double the savings Isbitts suggests!
Cyndi Schmitt, Dunedin