Freedom of speech is a necessary condition for peaceful, civil society; it is the right by which we secure all other rights.
That's why it is disturbing that one type of speech is under attack in this country.
Rather than affirming the value of free speech and enlightening leaders of nations where free speech is inconceivable, our president attempts to appease violent Islamists.
Dishonestly blaming recent violence on a video, thereby legitimizing further unrest, Obama requested that Google take the video offline. His federal officers questioned and later arrested the video maker for "parole violations." His chairman of the Joint Chiefs personally contacted a private citizen, pressuring him to stop promoting the video.
The president's appeasement effort isn't new. In 2011, his secretary of state worked with the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) to draft a U.N. resolution to restrict blasphemy. This past July, his Department of Justice repeatedly refused to assert that his administration would not push to criminalize criticism of Islam.
Our president's effort to suppress anti-Islamic speech tells Americans that he will not defend our rights and tells those who murder Americans that their crimes are understandable.
SUE HUGHBANKS, Signal Mountain
To all of those who labor so diligently to remove God, Christianity and prayer from people's lives, what will you do when the hard times come, and they will come, for they come in everyone's life. You cannot call upon God then, for he will not hear you. I am thankful that I have a God and a Savior whom I can call upon to help me at all times.
BARBARA F. SWYGART, Sewanee, Tenn.
We've always enjoyed benefits derived by having a dedicated president in our White House. It's difficult to see any evidence of Obama's dedication to us or to the protection of our nation from foreign interference with our American freedom-driven way of life.
Obama's a weak protective leader, if he is that. He brings on foreign relations problems by not standing firm on our precepts. Whether they're his precepts or not, he still owes it to us to stand by them. Regardless of him, this is still America. One of his main goals, leading up to his election, was clearly to downsize America, and we allowed him to become president.
Obama seems more dedicated to radical Islamists and other members of the envious world than to America. Left to his own devices, he will deal out to us the final and most devastating blow, the freest nation of our planet, will ever experience. He's obviously more concerned with re-election than maintaining a strong tie with our closest ally in the Middle East. Of course, again, he has no respect for our long-standing friends around the world. He didn't accept that part of his job when he was sworn into the office of president.
DONALD B. DUFFEY, Huntsville, Ala.
If you are a very wealthy white male, you should vote for Romney/Ryan. If, however, you are a woman, minority, immigrant, student, veteran, middle class, poor, old, ill, gay, under 55, (Ryan's Medicare cutoff), if you believe in science, or if you are a police officer, fireman, or teacher, vote for Obama/Biden.
Remember, Republicans in Wisconsin tried to break all unions, but settled on teachers'. Then Gov. Walker and Paul Ryan backed NFL referee unions although those referees make three times the salaries of teachers. Refs are not government employees, but taxpayers furnish stadiums.
This is not the only instance of teacher/education bashing. Republicans support costly programs, which have not proven effective, including excessive testing (good for testing companies, bad for kids), vouchers, merit pay, charter schools, privatization of public schools, and private online education. Many of these programs accept only bright students with no special needs. Teachers know what is important in education: small classes, the arts, physical exercise, collaboration rather than competition, peer review, parent involvement, community support, and time to include history and science -- not teach to tests.
As a former classroom teacher (36 years), I believe the educated vote is for Barack Obama, Mary Headrick and Andrae McGary.
On Sept. 30, UT's loss was front page. How about some support for our hometown team? UTC's victory over the Citadel deserves such coverage.
SALLY COOK, Hixson
Several things to consider about Obama's "legacy" so far:
(1) Monetary easing is called "counterfeiting" if you or I did it. It may result in massive inflation.
(2) Mishandling of Libya and the riots in 24 foreign countries against the U.S.
(3) Thousands of new regulations in the last four years on businesses at an estimated cost of $488 billion.
(4) National debt exploding from $10 trillion to over $16 trillion. That's a 60 percent increase in only four years.
I could go on and on. Someone please tell me, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant and impressive? Vote him out!
E. LEE GERALDSON, Harrison
Redistribution and transformation of America?
Obama has turned America into a nation of entitlement recipients!
Almost 15 percent of the country -- 46.5 million Americans -- lived off food stamps in May, a quarter-million increase from the month before. The number of people on food stamps is growing three times as fast as the number of people finding jobs. But it doesn't stop there!
The U.S. population has grown 6 percent since 2005 -- from 296 million to 314 million. But the number of people on disability has grown nearly six times as fast: from 6.5 million to 8.75 million -- or 34 percent -- in the same time.
Surely the number of disabled workers isn't growing six times faster than the total population. What gives? What gives is our mentality as a nation.
The government has our populace addicted to entitlements and neither wants to wean. As long as the handouts keep coming, Obama will stay in power.
"Who's going to vote against free lunches?" Oooh, but they aren't "free," are they? And guess what? They vote.
America needs four more years of Obama?
GARY SMITH, Flintstone, Ga.
Reasonable people disagree about significant issues often; most do so civilly. Unfortunately, we see political candidates name calling rather than addressing issues. As a voter, I'm tired of it.
Angelia Stinnett, Senate write-in candidate, called Bob Corker the "greed" candidate because he is a successful businessman. The work ethic that made him privately successful serves his constituents well. Sen. Corker is known for his expertise on foreign policy, banking and the economy. He also is known as an aisle crosser who deals cordially with his opponents. It's called problem solving. I'm grateful for his work in the Senate and I admire his personal success.
Though I don't support Democrat Mark Clayton or his anti-gay agenda, I can't imagine that calling him a hater (as Ms. Stinnett did) does anything to further discussion of our differences. Name calling stops dialog in its tracks and does nothing to solve problems.
Locally, Andrae McGary did the very thing he accused his opponent of doing. By leveling baseless accusations, he brought negative attention on himself. Kindly stick to the issues, Mr. McGary.
Candidates: we voters are sick of negativity. Address the issues and facts. You smear yourselves with your mud flinging. And we remember when we vote.
LISA S. STRAIT