Eastwood bared GOP imaginings
Clint Eastwood's Republican Convention performance was superb. Putting Obama in an empty chair, Eastwood mirrored Republican strategy the last four years. Republicans have created an "imaginary Obama," fantasizing bizarre things about Obama like, "Obama's a Muslim; not a citizen; a socialist; against business. He's taking the work out of welfare" and more. All untrue, but, as Republicans said: "We won't let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers." Now that is true.
Take Paul Ryan's convention speech. A Fox News correspondent scolded Ryan for setting a new record for Obama lies in a political speech. Ryan even blamed Obama for closing an auto plant that closed when Bush was president.
Romney also confused fantasy with fact. He said Republicans did their best to work with Obama to fix the economy. The Republican Party, proud to be "The Party of No," has spent four years blocking the efforts of President Obama to turn our nation around.
If Obama is all that bad, why do Republicans need to lie by fantasizing an imaginary Obama? Eastwood's dramatic performance re-enacted the Republicans' confused and confusing imaginings. Dramatically, he showed us how many Republicans choose to operate and so provided a valuable perspective on this election.
Mayor displays juvenile behavior
Re: the article (Sept. 1) "East Ridge mayor blasts councilman in email."
As a resident of East Ridge, I'm shocked and embarrassed by the behavior of our Mayor Brent Lambert. Our city has more serious problems than someone parking in his parking spot while he's on vacation. I believe the safety of the children and residents of Cedar Glenn should take precedence over his overinflated ego.
Jim Bethune is a man of the highest integrity, and his honesty is beyond reproach. Anyone who's watched Councilman Bethune serve on the council for the past two years knows he doesn't have "reading comprehensive issues." Perhaps Mayor Lambert is unaware that Jim Bethune graduated high school, served in the armed services four years, came home and attended business college, then worked as a general manager in the car business for the next 37 years. By his past history it appears Jim Bethune does, indeed, have "reading comprehensive" skills.
Mayor Lambert was out of line in writing that email. The mayor owes Councilman Bethune and the entire city of East Ridge an apology for his childish behavior. I respect and appreciate the way Councilman Bethune reacted to this email. He reacted with understanding and without hostility to this juvenile behavior.
Police need help with enforcement
A recent story in your newspaper presents yet another example of the local judicial system's incompetence and lack of commitment to law enforcement. One of the perpetrators of the March 27, 2010, Coolidge Park violence was allowed to plead guilty to one charge, resulting in a two-year suspended sentence, further weakened by the grant of judicial diversion is just plain silly. In addition to that travesty, 16 of the 17 charges against this person were dismissed.
It should not have taken two years for the individuals involved in the commission of this crime to be brought to justice and for each of them to be sentenced to a meaningful term in jail. Diversion is a cruel joke played upon the victims of violent crimes, and it should be eliminated in all cases where guns are involved, whether or not each member of the criminal pack had a firearm.
Until our judges, prosecutors and legislators get serious about law enforcement, our crime situation will not improve. Our police are already doing their best -- why don't the others in law enforcement and the Legislature help them?
Government aid not part of 'self-made'
A letter (Sept. 2) argues that no one is "self-made." Credit for one's accomplishments is shared with anyone who "helped," particularly the government. By that logic, the Soviet government gets credit for Solzhenitsyn's literary accomplishments. By throwing him into a gulag they helped him write "The Gulag Archipelago."
"Self-made men" are those who rise from modest origins to achieve success. If government services available to everyone were the proximate cause of success, everyone would be successful. Government provides teachers; students earn grades and degrees. Parents and friends guide and influence; individuals choose to act wisely, foolishly, rightly or wrongly. Governments build roads; entrepreneurs alone conceive the business, obtain loans (usually mortgaging all they have), toil, sweat, worry, manage, hire, produce, market, make payroll, risk and succeed.
The writer expresses a fashionable new Democrat theory, the rest of which goes like this: Since government "helps" businesses, liberal politicians are morally justified in imposing higher taxes and using the money to buy more political power. Federal, state and local governments together already take 50 percent of business profits, which far exceeds government's relative contribution to business success. As for morality, coveting others' property and scheming to take it via punitive taxation is immoral.
DAVID L. MOSS
Middle class is a set of values
In my recollection there has never been as much political talk about saving or restoring the middle class as there is currently. Setting aside the ambiguity and downright silliness of such talk (questions like" who?" and "how?" are never entertained), the rhetoric suggests that somehow the American middle class is a government creation, and only Big Government can "save" it. Nothing could be further from the truth.
America's middle class is partly the creation of an ocean expanse over which Old World social distinctions began to diminish, partly the product of vast territories available for development to the willing and able, and partly the byproduct of the rule of law by which the industry of individuals was safeguarded and sometimes rewarded.
But above all, America's middle class is an attitude and a set of values: self-reliance coupled with a sense of community; personal responsibility joined with family responsibility; honest business dealings and keeping one's word; industry and hard work; saving and deferred gratification. When the system instead rewards irresponsible behavior and discourages family formation, no amount of rhetoric will save the middle class.
Lookout Mountain, Ga.
Did Volkswagen get speed waiver?
I was just wondering when Volkswagen agreed to locate in Chattanooga if the mayor and the police department agreed to let their employees drive like they are on the autobahn. I get passed by several Chattanooga-built Passats every morning like I'm driving my car in reverse. Come on, guys, slow down before you kill someone doing the actual speed limit.
It's time to revive public discourse
I would like to ask the local editorial board and WGOW to sponsor a Third Congressional District debate at Miller Plaza. Imagine a wonderful fall evening with Mary Headrick and Chuck Fleischmann discussing their vision for the Third District and our country.
Let the staff from both groups ask the questions and carry it live on the radio.
Meanwhile, engaged citizens with their families can hear both sides while having a Taco Sherpa, something from Taste of Argentina and an Italian ice.
It is time for citizens to become engaged in public discourse again as generations before were.