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Sunday letters: Marriage is a search for meaning

I'd still settle | Feb. 14, Perspective story

Marriage is a search for meaning

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Lori Gottlieb's piece. Her candor, sense of humor, irreverence and anticonventional twist are very refreshing. Her realism is inspiring.

Yet, having been married almost 40 years, I need to add my two cents' worth of wisdom. In many cases, including mine, it took more than initial compatibility to be able to deposit our dentures side by side in the evening. It took the commitment to explore together an unknown land and to grow out of one's safe haven thanks to the often painful probing of one's spouse. Ultimately it took the awareness of being involved in a unique mission that only together the two of us could fulfill.

The goal of a successful marriage, in my view, is neither peace nor comfort. It is acquisition of a sense of meaning that neither of us could have gained alone.

The fundament of marriage, in my view, is the awareness that we are incomplete, that our unique mission or vocation consists in finding the unique partner destined to us, that only through the mutual sacrifice of oneself can we discover our ultimate meaning.

Lodovico Balducci, Tampa

I'd still settle | Feb. 14, Perspective story

Children outside marriage

a danger for our society

Lori Gottlieb celebrates that she has had a child without having to get married. She ignores the corrosive effects that her philosophy has on society. This outlook has a different effect among the poor than it does among the elite.

Elite women, such as Gottlieb, have the resources to successfully raise a child alone. But when poor women raise children without fathers their children tend to have social problems. In the Tampa Bay section on Feb. 13, an article said the number of adults in prison increased sevenfold in the last 40 years.

In 1960, only 5 percent of American children were born out of wedlock. Today the number is almost 40 percent. The percentage of out-of-wedlock births among African-Americans is over 70 percent. The Feb. 13 article states that, if current trends continue, one out of three young black men will spend part of his life behind bars.

These two statistics appear to be related. African-Americans are now seven times more likely to be incarcerated than whites. Can you think of an alternate explanation for this statistic, other than family breakdown?

But latest statistics show that about 50 percent of Hispanic children are now born out of wedlock. The number among whites has increased to 28 percent. This cancer is spreading. Gradually the associated social disorder will spread as well.

Arthur Volbert, St. Petersburg

Brutal death for baby, then mom | Feb. 18

Slow to learn

When will we ever learn? Our legal system still does not know how to respond to domestic violence cases. In this most recent death of mom and baby, I hold the judge and assistant state attorney responsible for her death. Domestic violence advocates have provided training after training over the past 30 years for police, judges, prosecutors, public defenders and other attorneys. Do they listen and learn? Not very many. Most are still at the understanding level of 30 years ago.

In this case, Largo police seemed to do the right thing in presenting their strong warning report, but the facts of the injunction for protection filed by the mother were ignored and the assistant state attorney was eager to "get the case resolved" out of court.

As a former advocate with domestic violence programs who has done some of this training, I am again disheartened by our legal system's response.

Roberta E. McIntosh, Dunedin

The story of oil | Feb. 14, Perspective story

Oil spills' real source

Congratulations for publishing a reasonable and accurate history of the world's longing for crude oil. Writer Howard W. French is clearly very knowledgeable on the subject, something sadly lacking in many previous Times editorials, and the press in general.

Was I the only one to appreciate the subtle photo caption, "Oil wasn't well"? The photo is an aerial view of the 1989 oil spill by the Exxon Valdez, which anyone can see is a tanker and not an offshore oil well. By far the most oil spilled on the world's oceans is from oil tankers, marine shipping, and natural seeps, as documented by several National Academy of Science reports.

Remember the big tanker and barge spill in Tampa Bay in 1993? That one oiled our beaches. Ironically, stopping offshore drilling could in fact increase the chance of spills and oiled beaches in the gulf. The amount of oil from foreign sources brought in by tankers will increase if we do not find our own.

An additional recent book closer to home is The Offshore Imperative by Tyler Priest. It is the history of how the industry explored and developed the technology to produce from deeper and deeper Gulf of Mexico waters since World War II. I highly recommend the book for those who want to learn more.

E.A. Shinn, St. Petersburg

Palin is at loss for deep thoughts | Feb. 14, Robyn Blumner column

We need common sense

I say thank goodness for someone without deep thoughts! We have people with deep thoughts in charge of our economy, and look where we are. We have deep thinkers in charge in Congress, and look where we are.

We need some real people with some good old-fashioned "horse sense" to make decisions about our country for a change instead of Washington automatons who think and talk like they are from another planet.

You can always call in skilled advisers who are knowledgeable about any subjects when you need deep thinkers. But you can't manufacture wisdom and common sense when it has been drilled out of people's minds through years of warped thinking.

In this year's elections, I will vote for common people who have common sense, and not deep thinkers. And I think I'll have lots of company.

Jane Kline, St. Petersburg

Palin is at loss for deep thoughts | Feb. 14, Robyn Blumner column

Words, words, words

Prior to reading this opinion piece, when I saw the sketch that accompanied it, a quote from Alexander Pope immediately came to mind: "Words are like leaves; and where they most abound, much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found." I stress the word "sense." After reading the article, the truth of this statement was definitely confirmed.

Robyn Blumner wasted a lot of words when she could have just said, "I don't like Sarah Palin and I love Barack Obama."

Sandra Tracey, Tarpon Springs

Sunday letters: Marriage is a search for meaning 02/20/10 [Last modified: Friday, February 19, 2010 6:28pm]
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