Saturday's letters: Column will only add to unhappiness

Published Sept. 9, 2016

Find passion? First find job | Sept. 5, commentary

Column gives a recipe for misery

Gina Barreca's recommendation for young people to forget finding passion for what they do and to get a job is a great suggestion for increasing human misery. Her statement that work is not supposed to make a fulfilled individual but is supposed to make us employed will certainly accomplish one thing — it will swell the offices of mental health professionals with people who lack a sense of purpose in life.

I'm also involved in education at the university level, and we spend our days trying to help unhappy students who have been told not to follow their passion but instead have been told by parents that they must study law or medicine, the only areas the parents imagine will be lucrative. The students feel lost and lack motivation for their education. We start by asking them what they feel is important, and invariably they've been stifled so long from thinking for themselves that they can't begin to tell us what they like. I've had students come back years later and thank me for suggesting that they do the work of sorting out what is actually important to them.

If people do not find passion for what they do in life, they will lack the stamina and purpose to get ahead and will lead purposeless lives. Resigning to being simply employed rather than aspiring to fulfillment is the worst advice I've heard.

Tom Whitmore, St. Petersburg

As Congress returns, expect little action Sept. 5

Time to get things done

Congress has a golden opportunity to crush the prevailing notion that we can expect nothing more this fall than preventing a government shutdown. It can vote on pending legislation that has bipartisan support and prove that it indeed works for us and is capable of governing. Bills such as the Reach Every Mother and Child Act (HR 3706, S 1911) have extensive bipartisan support, including that of many Florida legislators. They deserve to come to the floors of Congress before this year ends. Passage may even help some candidates whose constituents yell at them for doing nothing.

Linda Schatz, Tampa

Campaign 2016

Major parties own debates

Sunday's Times front page once again covers the "horse race" between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — what states they have, what states they need to win. What a waste of newsprint that could have focused on their positions on issues facing all of us, like unaffordable health care, rampant unpunished corporate crime, or why over half of our tax dollars are spent on so-called "national security."

Today, two political parties have the power to keep the Green Party and the Libertarian Party out of the presidential debates because the Democratic and Republican parties own these illegitimate debates.

That means we will never hear the real solutions proposed by Jill Stein of the Green Party or Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party. In the rare times Stein has been allowed to appear in the national media, she has addressed these issues. Unless the print media rise up and complains, the corporate powers within the two major parties will leave us all in the dark once again this presidential election.

Timothy Masanz, Clearwater

Voters deserve better choices | Sept. 6, letter

Candidates are the problem

The writer mistakenly thinks that open primaries would have changed the outcome of this year's primaries. The thought is that if those who are affiliated with no party could have participated in an open primary — and actually 18 states have open primaries — that the outcome of the primaries would have been different. The facts point in a different direction.

In Alabama, which has an open primary, Hillary Clinton received 77.8 percent of the vote and Donald Trump won 43.4 percent of the vote against 11 other candidates. You can find similar results in the other states with open primaries.

If the writer has a problem with the choice of candidates in the general election, the problem is with the voters, not the type of primaries.

The voters chose Bill Clinton twice despite knowing his reputation; they voted twice for Barack Obama knowing his inexperience and witnessing his bungling of foreign affairs and the domestic economy.

They voted for Hillary Clinton in the primary despite her lies and bungling of national security. They voted for Donald Trump in the primary despite the fact that many were dismayed or repulsed by the things he said. Even Bernie Sanders, who once had a moral leg to stand on, lost his integrity when he buckled under to Hillary Clinton.

The only thing that the presidential election cycle has taught us is that money may buy an election, but it doesn't buy good candidates.

Terry Larson, Seffner

Army's bogus budget | Sept. 5, commentary

Calling all budget hawks

Many believe a nation's greatness is tied to military strength, but the Orange County Register editorial published in the Times reports that the Defense Department's inspector general has found the Army's figures are so jumbled as to create an illusion of accountability. A comprehensive audit may not be feasible in 2017.

This is a staggering bit of financial malpractice that reminds us of the $600 toilet seats the military bought in years past. What have civilian and military leaders been failing to do that produces such horrendous results? All branches of the military have huge current personnel costs and retirement obligations. Couple this with the billions that are invested in military weapons of all sorts, and a lack of accurate accounting may actually weaken military capabilities.

The Register and Times have performed a public service by raising issues of defense accounting, reported year-end results and required audits. There is nothing sacrosanct about federal budget items that are poorly reported. Indeed, the final check here should be Congress and its committees. Where are the conservative budget hawks now?

James Gillespie, St. Petersburg