In the late 1780s, John Adams expressed his opinions concerning the Constitution to Thomas Jefferson. Adams was more concerned about the creation of a “ruling class” or aristocracy than about the power of an elected president. Adams felt it was easier to remove one than many.
Unfortunately Adams’ fears have been realized not in Congress, but in the “free press.” At no other time in American history have the media tried to influence an election with such open bias. The idea of an objective press allowing the public to form their own opinions is giving way to corporate media agendas that are attempting to influence both state and national elections.
These media outlets have apparently convinced themselves that they hold the truth and know what is best for the American public. The power of the media to influence public opinion is immense. Let us hope that they have the courage to present the truth and not their personal opinion beyond the editorial page.
William Totten Jr.
Can people really be responsible for governing themselves?
Since the ratification of the American Constitution, the essential framework of the nation has proved resilient. The house is strong. Various occupants may paint the walls yellow or green, and people will loudly proclaim that they detest yellow and can’'t stand green, but nobody’s saying the house needs to be replaced.
We are the government. In the 2004 general election, 64 percent of eligible voters in North Carolina actually placed a vote. That means if there are nine people in the check-out line at WalMart, five of them are getting to make some very big decisions for the other four. If you don’t want to be involved in choosing your representatives, my friends and I will certainly do it for you.
The sometimes painful fleshing-out of who has a right to vote has presented the nation some of its biggest challenges, but by soberly trusting in the intent of the framers of the Constitution, we’ve essentially put these challenges behind us. In this way, the Constitution is even smarter than the men who wrote it. Because the Constitution guides us, we can now rightfully interpret the intent to be: of course, voting is a fundamental right for all Americans.
Your vote is not a gift to the candidate. No candidate will send you a thank-you note. Withholding your votes will also not upset the candidates. An entire election could be decided quickly with only three votes cast. Can we self-govern? If you don’t vote, that’s your answer to the question.
How can Americans debate the presidential election? Where is the debate in a conversation between a man who has fought for our country in the armed forces and a man who is publicly associated with people whose names and the word “terrorist” can be stated many times in the same sentence? Where is the debate in a conversation between a man who has over 20 years experience in the government of this country and a man who has less than four years of experience in the same venue?
I am appalled at Americans who have so little respect for what this country stands for that they could even remotely acknowledge an inexperienced, terrorist-associated man for the chief executive office in America. At this point in our economy, how can Americans wish to put forward the Democratic way of tax and spend government?
The above is the inconvenient truth that many Americans seem to set aside because a candidate may happen to be a charismatic speaker. Facts are facts. These facts are simple and true. Wake up, America!
With the news that N.C.-based troops will increase deployment to Iraq to the highest level since the war began, the war in Iraq is ultimately the most pressing issue our next president will face. Taking a look at the candidates’ positions as stated on their own Web sites, one sees a difference:
Sen. Barack Obama sees the problem in Iraq as: (1) a lack of political progress in Iraq, (2) excessive strain on American servicemen and women and equipment, (3) a diversion of resources, and (4) inaction on needed cooperation with Iraq’s neighbors, all of which endanger our security and perpetuate an unresponsive Iraq government that is dependent on the U.S. military and fails to use Iraq’s oil revenue to provide for its own people and rebuild infrastructure, thus creating a vacuum to be filled by al-Qaida. His solution is a phased military withdrawal and a surge of diplomacy with Iraq and its neighbors.
Sen. John McCain intends to “bolster U.S. regional military posture,” behave belligerently toward Iraq’s neighbors, and yet paradoxically he expects increased U.N. and international community support. He expects to increase further U.S. involvement in Iraq’s military, police, legislature, even “microfinancing” of small businesses in Iraq and rebuilding Iraq’s economy — a skill of which his expertise is highly suspect, to say the least. Generally, McCain seems not to see a problem with largely staying the Bush course and fears Obama’s efforts to end the war.
One senator seems to be serious about ending the war.
When John McCain continued his primary bid in South Carolina 2000, he walked into the most despicable, political smear machine that has ever threatened our democratic process, vicious attacks against his family and questions about his patriotism and military service, courtesy of Bush’s campaign adviser, Karl Rove.
Rove’s perverse brand of political mayhem spans 35 years. His biography reads like a criminal’s rap sheet of political hatchet jobs and scandals. In Rove’s world, the Constitution, media and voters are merely pieces of the election process to manipulate into producing the win. His power and influence in the Republican Party don’t reside in his so-called political genius, but rather from his astonishing lack of ethics and morals.
Why is this important? Both Karl Rove, as informal adviser, and Steven Schmidt, a Rove clone, are working for John McCain. John McCain’s pre-campaign pledge to raise the level of political dialog in America was apparently a meaningless slogan. Political campaigns provide a “Preview of Coming Attractions” in terms of what the potential administration will look like if successful. The American people have already seen this movie and continue to pay dearly for having had the privilege.
Through his readiness to serve in combat in the Vietnam War and the extraordinary courage he showed as a POW, John McCain earned his countrymen’s enduring admiration and gratitude, partly because we needed a heroic example for our children. But with his negative, misinforming presidential campaign, he has demeaned himself and stained his reputation far more than he has hurt his opponent.
A wise person once said that we are responsible for the predictable consequences of our actions. Therefore, for all of you who cast your votes for George W. Bush in 2004, and for all of you who are considering voting for John Sidney McCain III this year, here are some numbers for your consideration.
Since the 2004 presidential election:
3,056 -- U.S. soldiers killed in the war and occupation of Iraq, according to the Pentagon. More souls than were tragically lost on 9/11.
77,268 -- Minimum number of Iraqi civilians killed, according to the U.N.’s World Health Organization. This figure represents noncombatants only. Total deaths due to our military action in Iraq have been estimated at over 650,000. McCain has repeatedly affirmed his commitment to remain in Iraq for the foreseeable future.
18,000 -- Annual deaths of Americans due to the lack of health insurance, according to the Centers for Disease Control. This number, which was falling during the Clinton administration, has risen more than 10 percent a year since Bush took office. McCain, following Bush’s lead, has refused to dedicate his administration to implementing any form of universal health care.
To all of those who voted for Bush, this is what you voted for and this is, sadly, what you got. To all of those who are considering voting for McCain, thousands of lives will be sacrificed for your decision.
The new McCain/Palin campaign slogan of “Who is the real Barack Obama?” is absolutely despicable. Poll numbers for Obama are rising steadily, no doubt a reflection of Americans’ growing confidence that he will deal best with the economic crisis. John McCain’s campaign planners are trying one last trump to reverse this trend. They are playing the fear card. It has worked well for Republicans in the past.
After nearly two years of campaigning and public vetting, they are pretending there is much about Obama we don’t know. And what do they think that is? The worst dirt they could trump up was that Obama once served on the same board as William Ayers, who was a Weather Underground bomber four decades ago. If they could find more dirt, I’m sure we’d hear about it. But because there isn’t anything, McCain and Palin think stoking the fires at their rallies and getting angry mobs shouting “terrorist” will scare enough voters away from Obama.
We may not know everything about John McCain, either, but there is one thing about his character that is becoming increasingly clear: He will stoop to unbelievably low levels just to become president.
I am appalled at the series of events unfolding in this presidential campaign. In this time of economic chaos with the majority of the citizens of our country suffering from its impact, we need to come together as a group in need of comfort. Instead Sarah Palin and John McCain are inciting the public by portraying Barack Obama as a terrorist.
At a recent rally in Columbus, Ohio, the crowds chanted “terrorist” and “traitor” at the mention of Obama’s name. This is appalling. As our country stands on the brink of ruin due to the past eight years of Republican antics, we are faced with a Republican ticket who will stoop to any tactic to get elected. How can we accept this behavior?
We as a civilized people must group together and support one another at this time of crisis. We do have an alternative to hate and violence. We as individuals can make a difference. We cannot support a regime that advocates hatred. We can and should vote for Barack Obama.
After reading “Supporters boo McCain for defending rival Obama” on Oct. 11, I have some advice for John McCain’s campaign if it really wants to cool off the anger of his supporters at his rallies.
First, they need to quit dishonestly trying to paint Barack Obama as some sort of radical who is a good buddy with William Ayers. Then McCain might tell his supporters to quit listening to hateful speech on right-wing talk radio or stop watching Hannity or O’Reilly on the Fox News network, or passing around dishonest hateful e-mails. He might also request Sarah Palin tone down her rhetoric. It would go a long way to heal this very split nation.
The News & Observer article “Stem cell research is a weapon in the governor’s race” raised some interesting questions.
If Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue is indeed a strong defender of embryonic stem cell research, where was she during the debate on SB 1857, a bill to legalize stem cell research in North Carolina — specifically embryonic stem cell research — and to provide $10 million in state funding? The proposed funding would have come through the Health and Wellness Trust Fund, a fund of which she is chairwoman. The bill generated a chorus of ethical objections and eventually died in committee. Still it’s interesting that during the discussion not a single comment was heard from Perdue.
Perdue’s commitment to ESC also seems to ignore recent scientific advances. Truth be told, adult stem cell research has proven far more promising than ESC research. Adult stem cells are readily available from every tissue in the body. In addition, recent medical studies have shown ASC have lower rates of rejection by patients and are better suited for treating many diseases.
Another area of stem cell research that appears to hold greater promise than ESC research involves amniotic fluid-derived stem cells (AFS). Unlike embryonic stem cells, AFS cells do not involve the destruction of human life and are not subject to rejection and the onset of tumors. Dr. Anthony Attala of Wake Forest University is conducting pioneering work in this area and his success is already attracting considerable attention and research dollars. Last December researchers successfully reprogrammed skin cells to mimic embryonic stem cells — without ever destroying an embryo. The developments were welcomed by politicians, scientists and religious leaders on all sides as a possible solution to the ESC debate. These advances have taken the sheen off ESC research and — in many ways — have started to change the direction of stem cell research elsewhere.
Perdue asks: Shouldn’t North Carolina be investing in stem cell research to help those suffering from long-term chronic diseases? She seems unaware that private and public universities in North Carolina have been investing in stem cell research. In 2005, an informal survey of North Carolina research universities showed the schools had invested over $8 million in stem cell research projects. Duke University alone reported over $5.2 million in research projects. While recent figures are difficult to obtain, last year Wake Forest University reported over 80 stem cell research projects with a value of over $10 million.
In the last two years Duke University has also begun a cooperative stem cell research program with the National University of Singapore. The total value of the research program is in the millions. N.C. State is also involved in conducting significant stem cell research in animals.
To suggest North Carolina needs additional public investment because the state is lagging in this area ignores these efforts and the investments and the many ways the private sector has already helped to facilitate this research.
The vast majority of Americans agree the next U.S. president faces extraordinary challenges — getting the economy back on track while assuring our workers are competitive in a global marketplace, breaking our dependence on foreign oil, dealing with an aging and expanding population, addressing global warming, restoring our reputation in the international community — among many others.
Modern political campaigns often distort facts and issues and play off people’s fears and unconscious biases from their formative years — focusing people on their emotions and making them lose track of their own intellect. Fear is one of the most effective human motivators. Fearful people frequently make irrational decisions. Fear can easily be used to manipulate people away from making conscious decisions and into instinctive, often desperate but thoughtless reactions. The most common fear tactics in politics are to shout “my opponent will raise your taxes” and “my opponent isn’t like you.”
Forget all the political ideology, rhetoric, campaign and media distortions. Forget race, religion, and past experience in nonpresidential endeavors. Forget how we got in this mess and who’s to blame. Put aside your fears, rational or artificially induced. Ask yourself one simple question:
Given the challenges we face – would you rather have a highly intelligent, articulate and cool-headed former editor of the Harvard Law Review who has had to work hard for everything he has accomplished and surrounds himself with the brightest financial, international, and energy experts — or an honored patriot who was at the bottom of his class in a prestigious school focused on warfare that his father helped him get into, lives in a life of unearned luxury provided by his wealthy wife, and has recently had his own high personal integrity severely compromised by those he has chosen to guide his campaign and future administration?
Ignoring all the political distractions and fear tactics, the choice is trivial for addressing unprecedented challenges — intelligence, eloquence and brilliant advisers trumps patriotism and many years of experience in what is clearly a broken political system any day.
Please put aside all the fringe issues and vote for our best chance at prosperity and gratifying lives for ourselves and our children — Barack Obama — then get involved in helping him solve any of the challenges you can possibly contribute to.
The administration has failed miserably in the last eight years.
We missed the signs to detect 9-11, were slow to form a commission afterward and still haven’t adopted all its recommendations.
We invaded Iraq without finding weapons of mass destruction, evidence of a nuclear program or any connection between Iraq and al-Qaida. After “Mission Accomplished” we were welcomed with an insurrection, not roses.
We managed neither an evacuation before, nor the recovery after Katrina successfully (Helluva job, Brownie).
Subprime loans, bundled mortgage- backed securities and the credit crunch have precipitated an economic crisis.
Starting with a surplus, we’re mired with the large deficit and debt.
The health care system is broken, with 47 million people uninsured, our costs double those of other industrialized nations and our life expectancy and infant mortality rates lagging behind the rest of the developed world.
We’re losing jobs and our manufacturing base rapidly.
Our addiction to oil is unchecked. We’ve made no effort to transition to alternative sources of energy.
The rest of the world frowns on us.
Sen. Barack Obama entered the race for his party’s nomination inexperienced, but now has been severely tested and battle scarred. A vote for him will improve our lot.
Richard J. Rosen, M.D.
“Let’s disagree without becoming disagreeable.” My high school public-speaking teacher, Mr. Armiga, always said that, and I never forgot it. He was wise and always kind, and I miss him sometimes.
We should not forget that we are Americans in spite of the fact we disagree. I have Republican relatives and Democratic relatives, as well as friends on both sides. We should not let this divide us as a people or cause us to treat others badly like we were rotten children who always had to get their own way.
With our rights come responsibility to do the right thing and to treat others with compassion and mercy. This is America, and we should not let the conflict that is between us tear this nation apart because we are going to need each other to get through what is ahead.
Ask yourself whether you have the courage to think for yourself rather than let anyone tell you what to think or do I live in a nation of bullies and cowards? I’m ashamed of anyone supporting John McCain who would berate anyone who decided to vote for Obama. If I hear about one more person giving problems to anyone who decides to vote for Obama, then I’m going to vote for Obama as well to protest this.
I say McCain should tell his followers to behave better. We should all respect the right of an individual to vote for whomever they want to and not try to coerce them. We survived eight years of Bush so anyone would be an improvement — even Socks the cat.
Kathryn (Katz) Heitmann
It can be argued that this has been the greatest nation on earth for the last 75 years. It can also be argued that this is one of the greatest civilizations this world has ever known. As far as world history goes, this is yet a young country. This is America, and this is our time! We must not be so nearsighted that we believe this is safe forever.
The election we have before us is perhaps the most important election in most of our lifetimes. There may not be any Lincolns or Roosevelts available to us this time around. Therefore, I would like to encourage two things:
1. Exercise your privilege to vote.
2. Please consider the individual who carries with him the least amount of mystery and risk.
Please choose wisely. May God Bless America.
Dear Mr. Future President: Congratulations on your victory! Both parties did a great job at pointing out each other’s faults. It is my hope that change will be made in your term as president.
I am a 44-year-old middle class laborer and have been through a lot. I remember odd and even gas days with Jimmy Carter, I remember when wood and coal stoves were hot commodities. I remember all the “talk.” I remember solar panels, solar cars, etc. Where did they go? I guess as the years passed we didn’t need them anymore, or maybe those ideas were bought by big oil.
Our Founding Fathers would be ashamed of our country. They truly worked hard for our freedom and to make this the best country on earth. What happened? The greed and deception that have landed in D.C. are horrible! I am, as Sarah Palin says, “Joe Six Pack.” I am sick and tired of supporting the poor and bailing out the rich. If you want to stimulate this country’s economy, you can bail out the people who are hard working and making much less than 100K a year. We need the help. We are the backbone of this great nation.
Our forefathers made this country what it is. They made automobiles, trains and planes and worked the land. They were true Americans. What happened? This country has changed, and instead of being leaders in the world, we are consumers. We make very little and buy everything. We buy goods from people who try to poison us with lead paint and melamine. We transfer jobs overseas where work conditions would not be tolerated here.
My wife and I adopted two lovely children from Siberia. While we were there, I asked our translator what Russian people thought of the U.S. Her reply was, “Why does the U.S. need to be involved in everything around the world?” My reply was, “I don’t know.”
Mr. President, how can we expect to fix the world, when we can’t fix the U.S.A.? We send our children to Iraq with their hands tied behind their backs, to fight a war in a country where no one likes us. We send them to Afghanistan where they hide in caves. Oh, and in case you forgot, Russia spent 10 years there and accomplished nothing. We waste billions of dollars going to outer space. Enough is enough! Let’s get it right here first! U.S. first!
Mr. President, the conditions here are of great concern to Joe Six Pack. We are continuing to lose jobs and money to illegal immigrants. It is time to close the door. Bring everyone home and get our country in order. It is time for the U.S. to stop policing the world and start helping our own citizens.
Joe Six Pack is scratching his head, wondering whether he’ll ever see his retirement money again. Will he have a job? What if he gets sick? This government is killing Joe Six Pack. How much can you drain him before he rolls over and dies?
I hope that you and Congress can get together and make this country great again, as it once was.
May God bless the United States of America.
I was recently given a Voter Guide produced by the N.C. Family Policy Council, a nondenominational religious organization, that posed a series of issues-related questions to all of the candidates for state offices and candidates for federal offices representing North Carolinians. The questions were different depending upon the office sought, but all were issue oriented and were questions that would concern families. I wanted to pass on some enlightening statistics that struck me about the results of the survey. Not about the answers to any particular question, but about what wasn’t said and by whom.
In the survey for candidates for the U.S. Congress, 15 questions were posed to 33 statewide candidates. Of the 33, 14 refused to respond. Of those 14, 12 were candidates of the Democratic Party, one was a Republican and one was independent. Only one Democrat responded to the survey: Teresa Sue Barton of District 6.
In the survey for candidates for governor/lt. governor of North Carolina, 17 questions were posed to the six candidates. Of the six, three refused to respond. Neither candidate of the Democratic Party responded to the survey as well as one of the Libertarian candidates. Beverly Perdue’s refusal to respond doesn’t surprise me as she has carefully avoided any situation that might showcase her differences with her rival.
In the survey for candidates for the state Senate, 17 questions were posed to 88 statewide candidates. Of the 88 candidates, 42 refused to respond and another four responded, but refused to answer any of the questions. Of these 46 candidates, 34 were candidates representing the Democratic Party, two were Libertarians and the rest Republicans. So 87 percent of the Democratic candidates refused to answer the questions.
In the survey for candidates for the state House, 17 questions were posed to 196 statewide candidates. Of the 196 candidates, an even 100 refused to respond or responded without answering any questions. Of these 100 candidates, 83 were candidates representing the Democratic Party, so 86 percent of the Democratic candidates refused to respond to the survey.
The questions posed ranged from “Should the N.C. Constitution be amended to prohibit government entities from using eminent domain powers to take private property for economic development purposes?” to “Should N.C. law recognize an unborn child as a separate victim of a separate crime when the child dies as a result of a crime against the mother?”
I find it extremely disturbing that we contemplate electing candidates who spinelessly refuse to respond to questions. Why is it that the overwhelming majority of candidates who refused to respond are Democrats? Maybe they don’t want us to know where they really stand on important family issues. Maybe they’re so confident of victory in this state, they don’t feel the need to let folks know what we’re getting into. Maybe they’re downright ashamed of their answers and know that they would be cutting their own throats by putting their views up against their opponents’.
I applaud all of the candidates of all parties who had the courage to answer and felt a responsibility to the people they may be elected to represent. At least they were willing to put their views out for all of us to scrutinize and discuss. The issues brought up in this survey were important to me, and I appreciate candidates with candor. We may not agree on all issues, but honesty and courage go a long way toward getting a vote from me. I will not vote for any candidate who has something to hide, and refusing to answer simple questions means you have something to hide.
I strongly encourage all voters and particularly the leaders of North Carolina families to check out this survey at www.ncfamily.org before you vote.
Barack Obama’s singular “accomplishment” of note to date has been an eloquent speech given at the Democratic convention several years ago, which alone has propelled him to where he stands today — on the precipice of being the leader of the free world. Yet we know very little about this man’s formative years and exactly what are the guiding principles of his life. We know what he says — hope, change — but none of his past actions that we are aware of support that vision.
His intimate associations with Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers give pause to any thoughtful patriot about his veracity because these are two men who have railed against America in vitriolic diatribes and one wonders whether Obama is just one provocation away from doing the same.
In short, Obama’s associations and true beliefs have not been adequately Ayer’d by the press.
In watching the conduct of the two presidential campaigns, it has occurred to me that both are relying on a four-letter word to excite their crowds, each beginning with the letter “H.” McCain’s is “hate” while Obama’s is “hope.”
I am trusting the citizens of this country will choose the latter.
I truly appreciate that your newspaper is not one of those biased media that I have seen so far in America! This is such an important election that I believe Americans deserve to know all the ins-and-outs of the candidates’ proposed policies and their philosophy.
Barack Obama told the Ohio plumber Oct. 13 that spreading the wealth around is good for everybody. This is a pure socialist view of the world. I could not see this comment reflected in CNN, CBS, ABC, etc. I am just appalled that the mainstream media are so protective of Obama regardless of what he said on the campaign trail!
I grew up in Hong Kong where capitalism flourished from WWII and propelled Hong Kong from a fishing village to Asia’s financial power house. I also lived in Canada, where its socialistic tax policy took 55 percent of my prime time earnings from my engineering job for 10 years! When my husband got a raise, we were so happy until we saw our new paycheck that it was less than the take-home paycheck before!
Socialism discourages hard work and hinders economic growth! I left Canada a year later to this great country!
I learned and lived in different countries in this world, and know which economic system would help to flourish growth. Especially in this period of economic distress, we have to promote growth by encouraging hard work, not by penalizing hard work to earn and spend more money! Obama’s socialism policies will bring this great country’s economy to its knees during this trying time.
I understand that this is a very emotional and racially charged election. I hope that all citizens will clamp down and dig deeper to understand each candidate’s policies and how they will affect their families. There is no perfect candidate or person in this world that you would agree with 100 percent, but we have to choose the most important issues at hand to tackle. Obama’s economic philosophy is truly not in line with the Founding Fathers of this great country! Increases in taxes in any sector of the society in this economic crisis will hamper its recovery in a big way.
Obama’s policy to raise taxes heavily on people who earn over $250,000 is absurd. With today’s inflationary standard, $250,000 is not considered a lot of money for two professional jobs in a household. Those are the people already paying the majority burden of the taxes. They are the folks who will spend money in the community to help stimulate the economy. If the government starts putting a high water mark in their earnings, and trust me, this number will not be changed with inflation over time (just like the limits for Alternate Minimum Tax, which affects 20 million Americans), this will definitely discourage spending and hard work.
Spreading the wealth around is not the way to dig us out of this economic crisis! If the government does not have the economic policy to cut taxes across the board to encourage growth, we will have to face heavy job losses in the years to come!
I strongly support the philosophy of equal opportunity, but not equal outcome! We need to ensure that people have the skills to get good jobs and provide assistance to disabled and good schools to children. Spreading the wealth around means that Obama will equalize our hard-earned money to folks who don’t work as hard to earn it by the means of tax credits.
His comments in Ohio truly revealed how he wants to move this country forward. I cannot believe that no mainstream media picked up on this important remark!