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Our democratic traditions are being undercut by fear



Published: Mon, October 2, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Our democratic traditions are being undercut by fear

EDITOR:

I am afraid that providence has turned her back on the United States. During major crises in our nation's past, from the revolutionary war, the Civil War, the Great Depression, World War II and through the Communist Cold War threat we have been blessed with great leaders like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan who were able to bring the country together to make the sacrifices necessary to overcome the threats.

Those threats were far more serious to the future of our country than what we are facing today. Those leaders fought to keep our democratic ideals, the envy of the world, intact. Those leaders spoke to the better angels of our nature. Those leaders spoke to hope, not fear.

Recently, in a speech in the Rose Gardens, Mr. Bush spoke petulantly about the need to disavow the standards of the Geneva Convention so that the CIA could use torture to extract information from terrorist detainees, even thought the information obtained this way would be dubious at best. He spoke of the threat terrorists pose to our democracy and how afraid we should be of the threat they present. Up to now Mr. Bush's theme has been that we can change the Muslim world by spreading democracy. Did he mean a democracy that allows torture? The Muslim world already has that type of democracy.

Do we need to allow torture to protect our nation's security? Will torture enable this administration to respond to threats like Katrina better than they did to keep us safe? Will torture allow this administration to respond to the bird flu or other epidemics that surely pose a greater threat to our world than Muslim terrorists? The sad truth is that we had leaders in the past that could work within democratic principles and still get the job done.

While manipulating public opinion through fear, the Bush administration has asked for broader powers than any of the past leaders of this democracy needed to meet and defeat threats to our nation. Bush knows that a populace kept in feat will allow curtailment of human rights. Roosevelt said that the only thing that we have to fear is fear itself. Bush says fear everything so that you cannot focus on the real problem, which is poor leadership.

I fear losing the principles that this country was founded on much more than I fear any terrorist. I want leaders who promote hope and confidence, not fear and division. But I am afraid our country's luck has run out.

FRANK DUNDEE

Boardman

Who benefits from slots?

EDITOR:

When Issue 3 regarding education with proceeds from slot machines was first advertised on TV, it was stated the money would be designated for students who were in the upper 5 percent of their class standing.

Recently the TV ads state Issue 3 is for all students. Exactly who does this bill cover? Does this now mean all students regardless of class standing from the bottom to the top qualify for educational assistance under Issue 3?

I would advise all voters to read this issue thoroughly before voting and be sure to read between the lines to make sure all students are treated equal.

MARGARET BENNETT

Hubbard

Academy is good idea

EDITOR:

Hats off and a great big hurray to Detective Sgt. Delphine Baldwin and Police Chief Jimmy Hughes on the first graduating class of the young cadets from the Youth Police Academy.

The problem some young people have with law enforcement is that there is no real connection to them. What they (Baldwin and Hughes) are doing will give the young cadets a respect for the police and will inspire some of them to choose law enforcement as a career.

ADELINE FIELDS

Youngstown




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