Letters to the editor: Sept. 5, 2012

We must pro­tect our great pro­tect­ors
When an of­ficer or fire­fight­er passes away, the city joins to­geth­er in sup­port­ing these fallen her­oes. We clasp hands and col­lect­ively grieve for these mem­bers.
In our pray­ers and con­ver­sa­tions we re­cog­nize the tre­mend­ous sac­ri­fices they make, and com­mend them for their hero­ism. Some­times it takes a tragedy to bring our thoughts to cen­ter stage.
All fire­fight­ers in our city need our sup­port now more than ever. Every day these men and wo­men make our homes safer, yet wheth­er it is be­cause of waves of brown-outs or a nev­er-end­ing con­tract dis­pute, they are un­der at­tack.
It is im­per­at­ive that we stand in solid­ar­ity with our fire­fight­ers. We are all quick to re­cog­nize their need for sup­port in the face of tragedy, but frankly the cur­rent en­vir­on­ment they must en­dure is also a grave tragedy. Our neigh­bor­hood pro­tect­ors should not have to worry about the abil­ity to make ends meet.
Our en­tire neigh­bor­hood should be griev­ing at the loss of re­spect giv­en to these brave souls. Every day they stand up ready to make the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice, and as their friends, fam­ily, and neigh­bors, we need to stand up with them.
I re­cently sent a let­ter to May­or Nut­ter ask­ing him to ac­cept the terms of the bind­ing ar­bit­ra­tion pro­cess.
It is my hope that you will join me in fer­vent sup­port for our fire­fight­ers.
State Rep. Kev­in Boyle
172nd Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict

Gut­less theft of a flag
After re­turn­ing from va­ca­tion, we couldn’t be­lieve our eyes when we real­ized someone had stolen our Amer­ic­an flag. It had been on our front lawn since Sept. 11, 2001.
Hope­fully the per­son or per­sons who had the guts to steal it, have the same kind of guts it takes to pro­tect it, like our men and wo­men are do­ing right now over­seas. My guess is they prob­ably don’t.
Bri­an Deal

Same-sex mar­riages are any­thing but tra­di­tion­al
Ah, the left! Al­ways ready to put out rhet­or­ic­al fic­tion to ad­vance an agenda. That was my re­ac­tion upon read­ing the lengthy let­ter by Kim­berly Kunda jus­ti­fy­ing her “mar­riage” to her same-sex part­ner (Same-sex wife ap­peals for mu­tu­al re­spect, Aug. 15 edi­tion). Her piece is pure rhet­or­ic, be­cause it rests on the flim­si­est reas­on­ing I have seen in some time. 
First, she con­tra­dicts her­self. She states that “free speech is a sac­red, Amer­ic­an right” then, later on, she writes that oth­ers don’t “have the right to have an opin­ion” on her mar­riage. Kim, isn’t that what free­dom of speech is, the right to have and pub­licly state opin­ions? And that in­cludes ex­press­ing opin­ions we may not like to hear, even ones that do not sup­port cer­tain so-called “life­styles.”
And, Kim, the fact that we de­bate mar­riage is not ab­surd, as you state, but is an ex­er­cise in free speech. The de­bate you de­cry came from YOUR side be­cause your side made the re­defin­i­tion of mar­riage an is­sue in the first place!  And, in an era when chil­dren more than ever need both strong male and fe­male role mod­els as par­ents, the be­ne­fits provided by sol­id het­ero­sexu­al mar­riages need to be aired thor­oughly, pub­licly and com­pletely. This is called re­spons­ible cit­izen­ship, and both cit­izens and pub­lic of­fi­cials alike have the duty to pro­tect and pre­serve fun­da­ment­al hu­man in­sti­tu­tions.
These are in­sti­tu­tions (of which tra­di­tion­al mar­riage is but one) that have been de­vised by hu­man­ity via tri­al and er­ror over the course of mil­len­nia be­cause they are most likely to pro­duce hap­pi­ness for in­di­vidu­als and be­ne­fits for the wider scope of whole so­ci­et­ies.
These in­sti­tu­tions are so vi­tal that gov­ern­ments have no right to tamper with them, and they most def­in­itely trump Amer­ic­an val­ues like “equal rights.” Pre­serving these in­sti­tu­tions is called re­spons­ible stew­ard­ship, and it falls to all of us to rise above the nar­row­ness of self-in­terest and half-baked ideo­lo­gic­al schemes and de­fend them.
Even you, Kim. Mean­while, I’ve got a chal­lenge for you: how about ap­ply­ing your writ­ing skills to genu­ine lit­er­ary fic­tion and avoid ideo­lo­gic­ally driv­en screeds?  As for the rest of us, to avoid fall­ing for such fol­der­ol, we should def­in­itely “eat mor chikin” and pray fer­vently for heav­en to touch these mis­guided souls.
George Tomez­sko
Fox Chase

• • •

Kim­berly Kunda’s let­ter ex­tolling her “mar­riage” to an­oth­er wo­man is an­oth­er ex­ample of the hy­po­crisy same-sex mar­riage ad­voc­ates en­gage in to ad­vance their agenda. In the be­gin­ning of her let­ter, she ac­know­ledges that free speech is a “sac­red, Amer­ic­an right.” But later in the let­ter, she states that oth­ers don’t have the right to hold an opin­ion on the so­cial ac­cept­ab­il­ity of her re­la­tion­ship. How is that not con­tra­dict­ory?
Kunda states that be­cause she and her “wife” love each oth­er and have the same chal­lenges that het­ero­sexu­al mar­ried couples do, they are just like any­one else. But, like many same-sex mar­riage ad­voc­ates, she com­pletely ig­nores the ba­sic dif­fer­ence between her re­la­tion­ship and a het­ero­sexu­al re­la­tion­ship. Her re­la­tion­ship can­not gen­er­ate off­spring like a het­ero­sexu­al re­la­tion­ship can. That is the whole point of her be­ing ho­mo­sexu­al. For those op­posed to same-sex mar­riage, this dif­fer­ence out­weighs the sim­il­ar­it­ies Kunda claims her re­la­tion­ship has. Her not ac­know­ledging this point simply does not make it go away.
Gay rights ad­voc­ates em­phas­ize that be­ing dif­fer­ent from het­ero­sexu­al couples presents no mor­al is­sues. Then, for mar­riage pur­poses, they wish to down­play that dif­fer­ence for the pur­pose of por­tray­ing their re­la­tion­ships as no dif­fer­ent than het­ero­sexu­al couples. It’s the clas­sic “have your cake and eat it too” scen­ario. Let’s all real­ize how disin­genu­ous this tac­tic is.
Mi­chael L. Bane

Blame it on the Demo­crats
Keep these things in mind on Nov. 6:
It was the Demo­crats that star­ted the KKK.
It was the Demo­crats that en­acted the Jim Crow law.
It was a Demo­crat, George Wal­lace, that blocked the school­house door to keep black chil­dren out.
It was a Demo­crat, Robert Byrd, that was a mem­ber of the KKK.
LBJ, a Demo­crat, had to be forced in­to sign­ing the Civil Rights Act.
Now the Demo­crats have turned their ra­cism to­ward white people. Look at all the ma­jor cit­ies in Amer­ica: Chica­go, De­troit, Phil­adelphia, Oak­land, just to name a few. Who has been “in charge” for dec­ades? Demo­crats. They have done a stel­lar job, es­pe­cially in Chica­go, with those val­ues May­or Rahm Emanuel is so proud of.
Pat Dougherty

Big tick­et con­certs a big loser
Ac­cord­ing to the TV news, the city was ac­tu­ally go­ing to lose money from the sta­ging of paid ad­mis­sion pop mu­sic con­certs on the Park­way over the Labor Day hol­i­day week­end. This is on top of se­cur­ity fences that hampered the move­ments of loc­al res­id­ents and oth­er city dwell­ers.
With tick­et prices in the hun­dreds of dol­lars, I ima­gine that any­one try­ing to “crash” the events and watch for free might well have been shot on sight. I sup­pose they could have used goons from the Park­ing Au­thor­ity, CLIP or the trash po­lice for se­cur­ity. Is it just me, or is there something wrong with this pic­ture?
 In my ex­per­i­ence of the last 40 years, these con­certs were al­ways free events staged for the whole city. They were a source of pleas­ure and pride and unity for all Phil­adelphia’s people. Big-tick­et events only serve to di­vide the city.
Chris Mark

Show me the num­bers, May­or
For nearly four long, frus­trat­ing years, May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter has denied the city’s fire­fight­ers any pay in­crease what­so­ever and con­tin­ues to fight our fair, af­ford­able and bind­ing ar­bit­ra­tion award. Some­how, however, this may­or found the money to give his staff raises and to stage a massive, two-day con­cert on the Park­way at tax­pay­ers’ ex­pense. To add in­sult to in­jury, Nut­ter re­fuses to say how much the city was spend­ing on this self-serving ego-fest, so he could rub shoulders with Jay-Z and buff-up his na­tion­al pro­file while the city con­tin­ues to fall apart.
It’s a dis­grace. The may­or owes it to the tax­pay­ers of this city to come clean on how much the city was wast­ing on this con­cert, and he owes the city’s fire­fight­ers the raise they’ve earned and the re­spect they de­serve.
Bill Gault
Pres­id­ent, Loc­al 22, Phil­adelphia Fire­fight­ers/Med­ics Uni­on

Voter ID law is fraud
This let­ter is a re­sponse to the re­but­tal offered by Ms. Stephanie Burke to my let­ter in the Aug. 22 edi­tion (Voter ID is stir­ring our read­ers’ hor­net’s nest).
There are so many things wrong with Ms Burke’s let­ter, start­ing with the con­des­cend­ing way she states poor and un­der-edu­cated people have the same ad­vant­ages as all oth­ers so they “ap­par­ently don’t want help and are happy with the way things are, or don’t care.”
That re­mark ex­em­pli­fies all that is wrong with the con­ser­vat­ive right Re­pub­lic­an ideo­logy today, im­ply­ing that people who are of lower in­come and less priv­ileged choose to be that way so they’re get­ting what they de­serve.
No one who has ever been suc­cess­ful in this coun­try has done it solely on their own. Some­where along the line they got as­sist­ance from oth­er Amer­ic­ans — either as con­sumers of their products, em­ploy­ees who helped them build a busi­ness or par­ti­cipants in their com­munity whose taxes help fund the pub­lic schools they at­ten­ded, the ser­vices they used such as streets, lib­rar­ies, etc. — so this no­tion of “I got mine so now I should keep it all” really has to stop!
However since this de­bate is about the new voter ID laws, the real er­ror with Ms. Burke’s re­sponse was the end para­graph where she states, “Do you mean to tell me since the last elec­tion, the ‘poor people’ have not got­ten any kind of iden­ti­fic­a­tion. Give me a break.”
That state­ment il­lus­trates that Ms. Burke doesn’t even know the voter ID law re­cently put in­to ef­fect. The new law now re­quires that all voters have a val­id photo ID, and that was not a re­quire­ment in any oth­er elec­tion year be­fore NOW.
There­fore, Ms. Burke, these people had prop­er ID, which al­lowed them to vote, as the United States Con­sti­tu­tion stated was their God-giv­en right as Amer­ic­an cit­izens, un­til Gov. Corbett and the Re­pub­lic­an Party took con­trol in Pennsylvania.
The ed­it­or­i­al pos­ted in the North­east Times the same day as Ms. Burke’s let­ter, titled Do the Math, il­lus­trates how it is im­possible for all the es­tim­ated 750,000 Pennsylvania res­id­ents af­fected by the new law to ob­tain the state-re­quired photo ID in time for the pres­id­en­tial elec­tion. So, as I stated in my ori­gin­al let­ter, the new voter ID laws in Pennsylvania are about voter sup­pres­sion, which is a form of voter fraud, noth­ing more.
Stephanie Flowers

Voter ID law is an out­rage
A photo ID is eas­ily avail­able to most Pennsylvania voters. The Re­pub­lic­an Party knows that the thou­sands who do not have photo iden­ti­fic­a­tion are poor and eld­erly who do not drive and who tend to vote for Demo­crats.
Did you ever see a bill get pushed through faster than the voter ID? This bill has a stench like no oth­er, de­lib­er­ately de­signed to shift the vote to Rom­ney be­cause Pennsylvania is a swing state, with the poll num­bers so close that this dirty scheme could work. For that reas­on alone, the law should be sus­pen­ded un­til after the Novem­ber elec­tions.
Those who ar­gue that it’s easy to get ID neg­lect to real­ize that, par­tic­u­larly for wo­men, names have changed mul­tiple times since the birth cer­ti­fic­ate. I could not present my birth cer­ti­fic­ate as proof of who I am; I’d have to bring mar­riage and di­vorce re­cords.
Not only that, but for many of our seni­ors, who came to this coun­try in their youth, im­mig­ra­tion changed their names. Two of my uncles, who are broth­ers, have dra­mat­ic­ally dif­fer­ent spellings of their sur­name.
Bring proof of res­id­ence? Sure, ex­cept maybe you don’t pay util­it­ies be­cause it’s in­cluded in your rent or a fam­ily mem­ber or room­mate pays it. My guess is that half of those who do not have the ap­pro­pri­ate ID may not even be aware of the new law re­quir­ing it, so they will ap­pear at the polls with their voter re­gis­tra­tion card and be turned away. This is an out­rage and I can only hope the ap­peal to over­turn or sus­pend the law will hap­pen be­fore Novem­ber.
Miri­am Lev­in­son

What’s all the fuss about?
Read­ing your re­cent let­ters to the ed­it­or about the new photo ID law, I don’t know what all the fuss is about. I’m sure there are more drivers in Pennsylvania than there are people without photo ID. My wife didn’t have one, and get­ting it was no prob­lem. We waited about 30 minutes and that was that.
The great Afric­an-Amer­ic­an act­or Mor­gan Free­man claims that Barack Obama is not the first Afric­an-Amer­ic­an pres­id­ent be­cause he is of two races, black and white. So out of re­spect to both of his par­ents I will ad­dress him as Mr. 50-50. That’s more than fair.
Ed­ward Cam­in­iti

Speak your mind  …
Let­ters should be 300 words or less. Short let­ters have a bet­ter chance of get­ting pub­lished. All let­ters are sub­ject to edit­ing and MUST in­clude the writer’s full name along with day­time and even­ing phone num­bers for veri­fic­a­tion pur­poses. An­onym­ous or il­legible let­ters will NOT be pub­lished. Mail to: Let­ters to the Ed­it­or, North­east Times, 2512 Met­ro­pol­it­an Drive, Tre­vose, PA 19053. Fax: 215-355-4857. E-mail: pronews@bsmphilly.com

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