Free at Last

To the Editor:
“Free at last, free at last.” Perhaps the citizens of this community will now be freed from the yoke of political corruption that has permeated our state legislature in recent years. Hopefully, the federal indictments of several political heavyweights will pave the way for meaningful reform and serve as a constant reminder to all elected officials to clean up their act.
The FBI sting band is playing “The Tennessee Waltz.” Let the dance begin!

Gordon Bomar

To the Editor:
Memphis and Shelby County have reason to celebrate: Finally, we are freed from the oppression of crooks who scream “racial discrimination” when anyone tries to point out their crooked ways.
I know many fine African Americans and know they are offended by what John Ford and Kathryn Bowers and others of their ilk are really saying: which is that it is okay to be crooked when you are African American. We all know that that is not true.
Finally, there is a chance for a prosperous future for our county. Finally, there is a chance for real freedom.

M.C. Best


To the Editor:
I have family roots more than 80 years “deep” in Memphis. It is gratifying to see Memphians in general and the Flyer in particular finally acknowledge that there are indeed serious problems that need to be resolved, e.g., failing schools, ineffective government, massive deterioration of families and neighborhoods, etc. (“Bright Ideas,” May 19th issue). This is a significant change from the past, where bringing up such problems (especially by those who no longer feel it is rational to have our homes in our former hometown) was usually met by snooty assurances that things are really just fine in dear old Mempho and/or some mean-spirited name-calling.
However, most of your brainstorming on specifics was the same old tired, one-sided rehashing by special-interest groups demanding immediate “solutions” that only benefit their own constituents and/or desires at the direct expense of others. The artists want more arts funding. The multimillionaire real-estate baron wants everyone given a neighborhood like his. Activists want a $30,000 to $42,000 annual “minimum wage” in an area where the average and median wage is about $30,000 a year. Others want those now working hard all week at their jobs, keeping up their homes, and raising their families properly to redirect their time and efforts to take care of those who don’t have jobs, don’t take care of their homes (especially if paid for by taxpayers), or raise their children decently.
Poverty is not caused by a lack of money or not having a nice home; these are some of the symptoms of poverty. The root cause of most poverty in the U.S.A. is a lack of three things: education, marketable job skills, and a decent work ethic. None of these root causes will be solved by taking more money and more time from those who have earned decent livings and homes. This is exactly why the trillions of dollars in welfare in the past 40 years in the U.S. and local toys like AutoZone Park, the FedExForum, and downtown redevelopment haven’t really reduced poverty.
Yes, I’m sure John Q. Memphis would rather get paid $15 to $20 an hour than $6 an hour, even if his education and skills were worth only $6 to an employer. And who wouldn’t want a free house in a nice area with neighbors taking responsibility for kids their fathers won’t? But are these hand-ups or hand-outs? Are you solving poverty or just subsidizing it?
Are you willing to really work on solving the problems by fixing the real root causes or are you just trying to make your own pet symptom(s) better at the probable expense of making the problems worse?

Herbert Kook

Bad for the Common Good

To the Editor:
A bipartisan bill passed in the House would expand federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. President Bush vows to veto it, not wanting to upset his evangelical base, which is clamoring for a rejection of the bill. And so we have another political debate colored by religious overtones.
Human embryonic stem cells have the potential to grow into any cell or tissue in the body and hold great promise for the treatment of disease. Yet one man, President Bush, is allowed to tie the hands of science and let his religious ideology trump the common good of millions. Sixty to 70 percent of Americans support ethical embryonic research, but Bush sees only his political agenda.

Ron Lowe
Nevada City, California

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