Recently, in a mocking column printed in these pages, Mitt Romney was attacked for his pro-life views.
And at the Democratic National Convention, speakers gave overly simplistic and hyperbolic arguments, accusing pro-life Americans of declaring a war on women or, as Sandra Fluke lamented, allowing "pregnant women to die preventable deaths in our emergency rooms." Such attacks do a disservice to our political discourse.
Like millions of our neighbors, time and experience led Romney to become more and more supportive of pro-life positions. As governor of Massachusetts, he consistently applied policies that were pro-life, earning praise by leaders of the pro-life community.
The deepening of Romney's commitment to life is the story of our nation. More and more Americans are identifying themselves as pro-life. And the mainstream position in America today is the same position that Romney holds:limit abortions with exceptions for rape, incest and to save the life of the mother.
That's a stark contrast from what we saw in Charlotte, N.C. There, Democrats mocked pro-life views. And both the Democratic Party and President Barack Obama have expressed their support for partial-birth abortion, a barbaric process that an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose.
Obama's views on abortion couldn't be more out of the mainstream. I can only imagine that's why he and his party have been so virulent in their attacks on pro-life Americans. It's a real shame, too. An issue this difficult deserves honest discussion. We haven't gotten that from Obama.
State Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami
Cut losses and exit now
Last month in Afghanistan, the Taliban beheaded 17 Afghan men and women for partying in violation of Islamic law and, at the same time, two more Americans were murdered by their Afghan allies. These killings should be enough to convince anyone that Afghanistan will always be the same corrupt tribal society that has existed since the Middle Ages. Except for corrupt leaders who are taking our billions, Afghans resent our presence. Is there any reason to believe that in two more years, some sort of democracy will evolve in Afghanistan?
Al-Qaida, for the most part, has vacated Afghanistan, so what is our mission? Al-Qaida is mobile and should be fought through intelligence, special forces and surgical strikes, not by invading a country where they may be temporarily housed.
Why not save the lives and billions of dollars that will be lost in the next two years by leaving Afghanistan now? How can we ask our sons and daughters to fight a war with an ally that is shooting them in the back?
Harold H. Dean, Lt. Col., U.S. Air Force (Ret.), St. Petersburg
Was it her remark? Or the poor timing? Sept. 12
I don't want an apology from Janet Long; I want her to cancel her campaign and go away. We do not need a heartless and gutless person such as her in any office.
To make such a low-blow statement about firefighters, male and female, who put their lives on the line for us every day to keep us safe was irresponsible.
If she thinks so little of firefighters, I can just imagine how little she thinks of the rest of us.
Dave Trump, Holiday
American killed in protest in Libya | Sept. 12
Stop the instigator
Once again the so-called minister Terry Jones, in a petty attempt to draw attention mostly to himself, but also to his small church, has cost Americans serving their country in the Middle East their lives. He has also given Arab radical fundamentalists the excuse to attack American interests and take American lives.
A great American in commenting on free speech once said, "Free speech does not entail the right to shout 'fire' in a crowded theater." It is time for Jones and the congregation that supports him to be held responsible for his self-aggrandizing, anti-Christian actions.
Jack Summers, Sun City Center
The death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, at the hands of extreme Muslim adherents is a clear blow to the principles of international law and civil discourse and society. It is rightly denounced by anyone who values these principles and the essence of human integrity and existence.
It is the sad irony of this tragedy that it came to pass in the name of religious purity and superiority, though it is the sadder irony that the history of similar tragedies is steeped in the blood-soaked intolerance of religion.
Islam's reformational upheaval parallels quite closely the violence and intolerance of such reformational periods in other religious traditions, only it is occurring in a global, 24/7 media environment. Such intolerance and violence betrays any notion that our existence is the "design" of some supposedly omniscient, omnipotent and all-loving creator.
No, it is the consequence of religion predicated on base wish-thinking and fear, and it is high time that the human race shake off the shackles of such small-mindedness.
Hugh H. Marthinsen, Tampa
Given the fact that Mitt Romney has only served four years in political office but has spent many more years running for office, it should be no surprise that his initial response to the recent violence in Libya is that of a politician rather than one of a statesman.
It is sad to see that the man who wants to be president did not follow the lead of other GOP leaders such as Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor and even his own running mate Paul Ryan and address this tragedy in a sober, statesmanlike way. Instead Romney has chosen to align himself with Sarah Palin.
Richard Feigel, St. Petersburg
Republican National Convention
Job well done
I saw all of the Republican Party activities on TV, and Al Austin and his wife, Beverly, should be very proud of the organization that they created for Tampa. The city of Tampa has never been publicized around the world in such a wonderful way, and it would not have happened if it weren't for them.
As a former mayor of Tampa, I wanted to say that the Austins and their Tampa Republican organization should be recognized by all the residents of Tampa for their wonderful work.
Bill Poe, Tampa
Why men fail | Sept. 12, commentary
Headed to oblivion?
The article voices concern that men are gradually failing in life. This problem may go away, however, since cloning human beings may make men unnecessary and obsolete. In a little over 100 years, men could be extinct.
Ken Leiser, Seminole
Bicyclist hit by car dies Sept. 12
Far from bike-friendly
I was saddened to learn that the bicyclist struck on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard earlier this week did not survive his injuries. My heart goes out to his friends and family, as well as the driver involved. These sad stories seem much too frequent here.
I moved to Tampa from Queens, N.Y., less than a month ago, and was well aware that this city is far from bike-friendly. However, as I have begun to ride and explore, I am shocked and disappointed by the lack of awareness, empathy and infrastructure that exist for cyclists.
Ironically, on Sunday I had contacted the Florida Department of Transportation about the exact location where the accident occurred Monday, since it is part of my commute to USF. The construction at I-75 guides the bike path across Bruce B. Downs not once but twice. These crossings are dangerous, time-consuming and difficult to navigate.
The DOT has been excellent in responding to my concerns via email, but these agencies, their contractors and the public need to be more aware of the bicyclist's perspective. One simple solution that may prevent future tragedies at this site is to create a path that does not cross Bruce B. Downs at all, and stays with the main path on the east side of the road. I don't know whether this is a feasible option, but the problem needs to be addressed.
Suzanne M. Young, Tampa