A half century ago, John F. Kennedy energized the nation with the admonition, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Last year, President Barack Obama was re-elected by telling the voters what the government would do for them. Oh, how society has changed.
When I returned from the South Pacific - where I fought the Japanese for two years, having no contact with family except for an occasional letter, no rotation home, no home calls or emails - I married, finished school, went to work and continue working every day at age 88.
I have never taken one dollar from the government except for Social Security, which I paid into for 67 years. I was proud to serve and never expected the government to take care of all my needs or wants.
My biggest concern, in the twilight of my life, is the debt my descendants will have to pay for all of these government handouts today. I thank God every day for having been born in this great country, along with the opportunity and ability to earn my way.
ROBERT L. RAYBURN
Are there not more serious matters for the Free Press side to editorialize on than the city of Chattanooga recreation department's ownership of a pottery studio and Missy Crutchfield's film career of 30 years ago?
Here are some suggestions of matters of possibly greater concern: $9 million in future taxes to developers for the construction of a private road, crumbling schools forcing parents to lobby local government and a seemingly unending stream of gang shootings.
Faulty thinking undermines this opinion piece of March 30 which maintains that marriage should require no approbation other than the consent of the persons entering this relationship. Such a view is not properly informed by history or the need of society for stability.
During recorded history, marriage has been a state entailing the approbation either of the families from which the persons are drawn, or the immediate community, or of some level of government (whether primitive or developed). Societies have regularly distinguished between casual liaisons (which have lacked this approbation) and marriage. Thus today, whether a marriage is entered into under civil auspices or in a religious ceremony, references are made to this sanctioning of marriage by surrounding society. Witnesses are present.
Grant the wish of the opinion piece, and what is lost? The rights and the protection of many are lost. Societal approbation at the onset of a marriage is the basis for our insisting that termination of a marriage will involve division of property and the provision of ongoing support for dependents. Societal approbation undergirds the insistence that individuals must bear ongoing responsibility for choices made in marrying. We eliminate this only at great peril.
KENNETH J. STEWART, Lookout Mountain, Ga.
Knowledgeable Chattanoogans know that Jack Benson has been a responsible city councilman. He is a man of character who takes his service to his community seriously. Indeed, he has made his seat on the council a full-time job. Contrary to naysayers, he has not been afraid to take positions against mayors or developers.
Attempting to tie him to an unpopular mayor will succeed only with the ignorant. Jack Benson's record is one with which we can all be proud. We need more, not fewer, Jack Bensons in government. The Times editorial last Wednesday said it best.
We do not need another "tea partyer" on the City Council! We have all seen what a minority of them in Congress can do to the working of government. Chip Henderson broke a signed pledge not to go negative in his campaign. Henderson does not need, as Ken Smith says, Larry Grohn to help him put the brakes on a progressive Chattanooga. Jack sacrifices a great deal to serve his constituents. If I were him, I would rather be with my beautiful wife than taking the slings and arrows of negative politics.
WILBOURNE C. MARKHAM SR.
I am an educator in Chattanooga and would like to ask for the repeal of the sequester, as it affects Tennessee children in many ways. Disadvantaged and disabled children will lose HeadStart, day care, vaccines for disease, after-school programs and food assistance from WIC.
Is it really necessary to harm young ones who need help? The sequester has been brought about by lack of compassion and the desire for re-election. Please think of the children of Tennessee.
We are immersed in a breathless flood of people urging us to prevent more slaughter in unprotected schools and have lost all perspective. On the day in Newtown, Conn., that 20 students died, the other 83-plus million (federal figures for 2011) students returned home safely again. My point here is that for every student who was killed, 4.5 million others were not. That's perspective.
Turn now to Mrs. Feinstein, Mr. Obama et al, legislators whose function is to invent new laws. To believe that for any legislation will be effective, you have to believe that a potential madman will always (or ever) go into the nearest gun shop and apply for a weapons permit. If the illusion soothes you, that is its only benefit. He simply goes to some guy on a street corner.
The real reason our government wants fewer weapons, especially military grade, on the street is that there are going to be a lot of unhappy folks when they discover that doubling the national debt in the last four years and printing worthless money to repay with has reduced the value of their paper dollars by half. Federal theft from our kids.