Japanese warplanes devastated Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, pulling the… (NATIONAL PARK SERVICE,…)
United we stood
Re "When unity was all-American," Column, Dec. 5
On a beautiful Sunday morning, I was listening to a football game with several other men when suddenly a special announcement interrupted the broadcast: "Pearl Harbor has been bombed."
We looked at each other and said, "Where's Pearl Harbor?" It didn't take us long to find out. In less than two months, we had all enlisted in the United States armed forces.
Franklin D. Roosevelt said we'd never forget that day. Seventy years later, I remember it well.
I was deeply moved by George Skelton's remarks on how Pearl Harbor brought Americans together "in a way we seem to have forgotten." As he points out, there is for many of us a "deep sense of nostalgia for the instinctive American attitude during World War II — an attitude of unity, shared sacrifice and, yes, unconcealed patriotism.
That was then. This is now, and that America remembered by Skelton doesn't exist anymore. "Out of many, one" has become "out of one, many."
The nation of the 1940s has long since perished.
Joseph A. Lea
Skelton forgot to mention the big why.
During World War II, we had a military draft that involved everyone. We were attacked by another country, not a bunch of terrorists.
Our leaders told us we could win the war if we worked together. The people believed them.
Today, we have a professional military. Our leaders send them into combat at the slightest (sometimes imagined) provocation, while telling the population to spend. They say we should be afraid of terrorists and that we should give up the Bill of Rights.
We can stop this by getting rid of the Patriot Act and restoring the draft any time the military is involved in armed combat for more than 30 days. Automatic tax increases should cover such military actions.
Our military fights best against other countries' militaries. Terrorists are best fought with police action.
Why are we still involved in unwinnable wars?
Derailment of the Cain train
Re "Cain backs out of presidential race," Dec. 4
Why is it that former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain's campaign could be so easily derailed by a sex scandal but be relatively unaffected by the disclosure of his exploitative tax plan?
The stories of alleged sexual harassment and infidelity are disturbing, but they are ultimately unsubstantiated. By contrast, Cain's tax plan would have essentially given corporations a tax break while increasing the tax burden for middle-class Americans.
Sure, we all enjoy a little drama, but it seems that Americans are overly
concerned with the private lives of politicians while they ignore the policies that directly affect their lives.
What is the matter with us? We judge Cain for his alleged infidelities and drive him out of the race, and them some flock to Newt Gingrich, who is the definitive adulterer.
We seem to have short memories. Did we forget Gingrich was having an affair while his first wife was battling cancer? What kind of hypocrites are we?
What makes Gingrich better than Cain? We should be ashamed.
Contrary to cries of media bias and attempts at character assassination, both Cain and the Republican Party should be grateful to the candidate's accusers. Imagine if they had withheld their stories until Cain had been (perhaps) nominated.
The idea that the Democrats would try to interfere with Cain's campaign is ludicrous; he would have been the most defeatable of the GOP candidates.
Re "In decline," Opinion, Dec. 2
Whether or not America is in decline is up to Americans. And exceptionalism — or, at least, how it's defined — may have a lot to do with that. It can be a sense of entitled superiority, or it can be a standard to which we must measure up.
Patting oneself on the back never kept anyone on top. And typically the people talking in the most self-congratulating way (and pasting it on bumpers and windows) have little to do with what they are congratulating themselves about.
If, however, we use tradition to emulate what has been done before, we can make the effort and sacrifices necessary to maintain or elevate the country.
The old slogan "My country, right or wrong," has a second part: "When right to be kept right, when wrong to be put right. But my country."
Greatness must be maintained.
William S. Seckler
Circus animals deserve better
Re "They're elephants, not clowns," Editorial, Dec. 2
Your editorial calling on Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus to lose the elephant acts was spot on.
While the record fine Ringling's owner paid to settle with the feds is welcome, the settlement does not require the circus to stop hitting elephants with bull hooks — a method of "control" that Ringling staunchly defends. It's a shame the government didn't take Ringling Bros. to court, but the circus' appalling history is well documented.