Letters to the Editor 

Too Many Elections?

I disagree with John Branston's contention that "When it comes to democracy, more is less" (City Beat, May 13th issue). The problem is not too many elections but not enough focus on the importance of the primary process.

Borrowing Branston's analogy, we seem to treat our right to vote like a sporting event. We all tune in to the World Series or the Super Bowl but forget about the regular season. In the United States, we not only have the right to vote but the right to pick who we vote for. This is how a representative democracy operates, through elections.

If you disagree with your current representative but there is no way in hell you are going to vote for that other party, then the primary is where you clean house and you make your trades. It is America's primary process that separates us from dictatorships, where the government chooses who you can or cannot vote for.

Branston's call to "reduce the number of elections" could lead to increased incumbency and a further reduction in citizen participation. Maybe Shelby County could combine Bill Giannini's idea to extend the number of voting days with Van Turner Jr.'s concept of enlarging the number of voting sites. America's democracy should not be measured in dollars but in participation.

Brandon Chase Goldsmith

Memphis

Cultural Politics

In response to Bruce VanWyngarden's editor's letter (May 13th issue) detailing his observations while driving down Vance Avenue, let me say that I agree with his assessment: Memphis needs a new worldview. The local cultures are badly in need of some new ideas about being human.

The same low level of consciousness that changed waist-high pants to thigh-highs also reduced the cultural diversity that already existed in Memphis — just as it does in New York — to skin-based "black" and "white" politics. Perhaps VanWyngarden could get the necessary cultural movement in Memphis started by introducing himself, culturally.

As Albert Einstein wrote: "No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. We [all] must learn to see the world anew."

Maia Ajanaku-Locke

Memphis

Alternate Universe?

For roughly the last 10 years, I have wondered if an alternate universe without logic exists inside the Washington Beltway. I recently came across a speech that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates gave in which he stated that the military is actually fighting Congress to keep two items out of the budget that they say they do not need or want or can't afford. One is an alternative engine to the Joint Strike Fighter, costing around $3 billion, and the other is more C-17 cargo planes costing around $4 billion.

That's at least $7 billion that the military wants cut out of the budget but some members of the congressional leadership seem hell-bent on keeping it in the budget. I would think we could trust the military on the things it does not need. And I think in a time of ever-increasing deficits, we would cut these items from the budget. But leave it to Congress to make things difficult and not use common sense.

Philip Todd

Memphis

Moronic Junk

If I have ever read a more moronic and idiotic piece of junk than the bird-cage-liner Viewpoint on immigration, "Don't Reject. Assimilate!" (May 6th issue), I surely don't remember it. No wonder our schools are turning out buffoons; our universities hire buffoons as teachers.

I am amazed at liberal vermin who think that every problem deserves programs and more government spending. My family came here from Ukraine. There were no handouts and no affirmative abomination. And there was no "press 2 for Ukrainian." Yet, they learned the language and became contributing citizens. We spend too much on minorities, too much on immigrant perks, too much on education, and too much giving bubble baths to scum in prison.

For the immigrants who can't seem to grasp our way of life, send them to me: I have a nice size-13 shoe to kick their ass while they get on the bus back home.

Tommy Volinchak

Memphis

Weird

What's going on with News of the Weird? I used to see it in every issue. Now, it seems to be kind of hit and miss. If I may issue my vote, I would love to have it in the Flyer in every issue.

Debbie Denny

Memphis

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