Re: Dear Jeb, your attitude needs work, by Bill Maxwell, Jan. 26.
I am a white Republican who is not a member of the country club because I can not afford it. I do not resent those who can. I am tired of being described as a "mean-spirited Republican." Yes, I believe in class determined by high standards of behavior, not money. There are high-class people in all races. It means adhering to a certain standard of behavior and has nothing to do with income. There are Democrats and Republicans with class. Class means treating others with respect regardless of their station in life. Class is not sitting in the governor's office and refusing to move until you get your way. Class is addressing the governor as Governor Bush, not Jeb.
Republicans are not evil. Republicans believe that you should help people to help themselves. I once asked my husband, who came from a working Republican family of 10 children in West Virginia, how he squared his anti-welfare stance with his Christian beliefs. He answered that he believed "Christ would give you a fish one day and a fishing pole the next." I know a "mean-spirited Republican" who gives to almost every charity.
Maxwell's view that all Republicans are wealthy racists is as misguided as people thinking all blacks are lazy and Irishmen are drunks. Possessing wealth is not a sin. The wealthy in all political parties contribute much to charity.
I am not a racist. I was raised to do what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. hoped to accomplish. I was taught to judge people by their character not by the color of their skin or income. When I taught, I used Maxwell's newsletter about minority students who were high achievers in my classroom.
I suspect the legislators who staged the sit-in in Gov. Bush's office were motived by politics. Was it a Democratic ploy to cast the Bush family in a negative light when Gov. George W. Bush is running for president? Should Gov. Jeb Bush be faulted for being lucky enough to come from a rich, highly principled, working family? I believe he is sincere in his desire to help minorities.
I do not lump all African-Americans into one group. I don't think Maxwell should characterize all Republicans as being the same. His column reveals his disregard for all whites who are not Democrats.
I do not agree with Gov. Bush's program of grading schools. However, I will not address that issue by refusing to move from his office.
Jean Foster, Clearwater
Maxwell's the one with an attitude
Re: Dear Jeb, your attitude needs work, by Bill Maxwell.
I hope that not too many young, impressionable kids read this column. It is filled with vitriol, lack of respect, bigotry, prejudice, stereotyping and just plain bad manners.
It contains remarks such as: "You are a true-blue Republican _ a privileged white dude . . ." and "Like the typical Republican, you are a creature of class." and ". . . the GOP is, as blacks have always said, a bunch of mean-spirited, country club white boys who still cannot get that noblesse oblige thing straight."
If Bush's attitude is such a problem, what can be said about Maxwell's attitude? Maybe we should ask those "black sycophants, Willie Logan, James Hargrett and Rudy Bradley."
Don Thorpe, St. Pete Beach
Keep up the good work
Re: Dear Jeb, your attitude needs work.
Kudos to Bill Maxwell! Although I am an old white broad of 72 years, I read Maxwell loud and clear. I am a fan, and this article was one of his best.
All of us of any color or ethnic group need to work on our attitudes if we want to live in a truly democratic country. Continue your good work of "telling it like it is."
Leotia W. Long, St. Petersburg
Where was the objectivity?
Bill Maxwell is supposedly a journalist, someone trained to be objective. However, it is clear that in his "open e-mail letter" to Jeb Bush, he lost all sense of objectivity and let all of his prejudices hang out.
I accept that Maxwell is a Marine, a columnist, a Democrat and an African-Amercan, or person of color (whatever that means, as who isn't of color?). I, on the other hand, am a white Republican (by choice, I might add and not by race). I don't like Maxwell's "attitude." He lost all sense of objectivity in his column when he stated that "blacks have alway said that the GOP is a bunch of mean-spirited, country-club white boys . . ."
Maxwell won't accept being called a "boy" and neither will I! I think that he owes millions of hard-working Republicans, both black and white (yes, I said black), an apology. It's obvious that he let his emotions overrule logic. I grew up during the Great Depression and knew what it was to collect bottles so that I could have the dime that it took to go to the movies on Saturday afternoon, so don't attempt to put your whitewash on me.
Yes, I agree that what Jeb Bush said was an unfortunate choice of words, but we've all said similar things _ or at least thought them. We, however, didn't have the omnipotent press clinging to our every word or thought.
In closing, I think that it's time for Maxwell to sit back and re-read his own column, as it does him a great disservice.
R.P. Shinn, South Pasadena
Unmasking the GOP attitude
Maxwell digs below the thin veneer of class civility and comments without varnish on the actions of a man at least as volcanic as Sen. John McCain, who has been declared by some GOP leaders as "unfit to hold the presidency" due to temper tantrums.
Maxwell plainly shows that attitude is the main problem keeping many below-average-income individuals away from GOP candidates. He needs to be reminded that there are a few "mean-spirited country club white girls" in that party, too.
Please continue to share whenever Maxwell e-dresses the governor or his office again.
John C. Fox, Bradenton
Governor could use a new perspective
Re: Dear Jeb, your attitude needs work.
Excellent, kick-ass article, Bill. Please continue to keep Jeb in line and bring him down a notch or two when he gets too big for his britches. Loved the line about the sycophants. I like Jeb too but, as you have described so accurately, he needs to see the world from a different perspective.
A.J. Minhas, Indian Rocks Beach
The column's other revelations
Bill Maxwell's screed to Jeb Bush reveals more about Maxwell than about Bush or Republicans in general.
First, it shows that Maxwell himself is obsessed with what he thinks of as "class," and that he doesn't understand what it is.
Second, it reminds us that Maxwell deems himself fit to decide how all blacks should think, and that if any dare think otherwise, he will be labeled a "sycophant."
Third, while he may be a "college-educated, well-read, well-traveled, hard-boiled professional," he demonstrates that he doesn't know the meaning of the word "literally," as in "the world literally is your oyster."
Maxwell should concentrate on what he does best, which is writing serious, well-chronicled articles about real problems rather than using his space to promote his peculiar brand of "class"-warfare.
Barry M. Johnston, Inverness
The erosion of personal responsibility
For sheer simplicity and cultural relevance William Raspberry has done it again in his column Let's try taking the responsibility (Jan. 24) when he pleads for the "quaint notion that individuals are responsible for the trouble they knowingly get into and the harm they knowingly do."
He is reflecting a principal tenet of our rule of law, our view of individual rights and duties and the tradition and common practice of our society. He uses recent civil lawsuits against gun manufacturers and tobacco companies as examples of individual victims engaging in avoiding personal responsibility.
I think he makes a good case no matter how offended the general public may be by the serious misconduct of those businesses. Not all end users of those business products can possibly say, "You made me do it."?? I believe that people choose to smoke and use weapons.
Raspberry has put his finger on the erosion of personal responsibility in many instances by self-indulgent individuals, new notions of "justice," public figures of all stripes who have well-developed forked tongues and ordinary citizens who have internalized the cliche, "The devil made me do it." I would rather read about people who have the class, character and heart to say they are wrong.
James R. Gillespie, St. Petersburg
Don't be so quick to execute
Re: The two Jan. 27 letters regarding the death penalty.
Both writers obviously do not value life. I submit this quote from The Lord of the Rings: "Deserves death? I daresay he deserves death. Many who die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Be not so quick in your anger to cry DEATH! The wise do not know all ends and even the condemned may have good to do."
Even one death causes consequences we cannot possibly comprehend. Fix the penal system, and show more compassion.
Anne Menasco, Clearwater
Protect people first
Re: Elephant legislation deserves support, letter, Jan. 26.
Is this what I helped send Rep. C.W. Bill Young to Congress for? People are suffering because we have no national health care and they cannot afford the insurance or the doctor visits. People are dying because they must make choices between prescription drugs or other necessities of life. Congress cannot get around to finding a solution to these problems but it can work on H.R. 2929 to protect elephants.
Let's get our priorities straight and take care of the American voters first.
Doris C. Miller, St. Petersburg
An excuse to be rowdy
Re: Rowdy sports fans.
Once upon a time local ball teams were truly "local." The most athletic players were recruited from schools and organizations in the area. When we rooted for our team, it was our sons, fathers and neighbors for whom we were proud. Team spirit was meaningful.
Now "local" teams consist of players recruited at great expense from wherever necessary to create a potentially winning team _ and we root for strangers. I do not understand why we get all puffed up over a group of transplants who purport to represent us. We are humiliated when they lose, euphoric when they win.
I suspect there are some people just waiting for an opportunity to become boisterous, and these manufactured teams provide them the impetus they need to justify their commotion. Then they can explain away their actions by proclaiming themselves "good fans."
B.J. Mitchell, St. Petersburg
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