- The Washington Times - Monday, December 20, 2004

Carolers on the Hill

Yvonne Law (“Keeping Christmas,” Letters, Dec. 13) can take heart. I have lived on Capitol Hill for 25 years. It is one of the bluest of blue areas in the country. On Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. we had a large group (30 to 40) of young parents and children Christmas caroling on our street. They stopped at our home, singing traditional carols. As they moved down the street, they all wished us a Merry Christmas. This is the first time we’ve had Christmas carolers and it was wonderful.

PAT CHARLES

Washington

Can’t choose which laws to obey

When did nannies become such an indispensable part of American life? Linda Chavez seems to believe that our world would end without them (“Another nanny bust,” Commentary, Saturday). Most people I know enroll their children in day care or find a babysitter. But in her defense of illegal immigration Mrs. Chavez isn’t talking about most people; she’s talking about people like herself: affluent professionals with six-figure incomes and careers that are just too important to suffer the inconvenience of having to find child care outside the home.

But what a good trooper she is to come to the aid of recently derailed homeland security nominee Bernard Kerik with the specious rationalization that “suspicions about mob ties don’t doom a nomination but hiring an illegal alien does? Something is very wrong here, but it’s not the White House’s fault.”

What’s wrong here is people like Mrs. Chavez deciding for themselves which laws they will obey and which they won’t. Even if she could make a convincing economic argument for the presence of millions of illegal immigrants, which she can’t, it’s no defense for hiring one to help raise a child, especially for people like Mrs. Chavez and Mr. Kerik who are chosen by the president to hold positions of authority.

DOUG BELL

San Diego

I was really disappointed in the commentary “Another nanny bust” by Linda Chavez. Bernard Kerik should most definitely have been disqualified for the position of homeland security secretary. As a former police commissioner for New York City, he knew he should not hire an illegal alien. He, of all people, should be abiding by the laws of our country.

Mrs. Chavez states that by kicking out the 12 million illegal aliens currently here we will have to pay more for everything from burgers to new homes. For your information, Mrs. Chavez, we are already paying in many ways by having these illegal aliens in our country. It is because of the cost of treating these illegal aliens that many hospitals and clinics have had to close. Our schools are crowded because they are bringing their children with them. Around 10 percent to 12 percent of those jailed in California, Arizona and Texas are illegal aliens. In California, more than a million illegal aliens claiming to head a household are collecting welfare. Many of these illegal aliens will work for less money and their employers are paying them under the table. Many of them are taking jobs away from our citizens. They are a burden on the taxpayers of this country and it is time for them to be sent back home.

My parents came to this country from Mexico; they came here legally. They worked hard and after being here long enough to learn English they went to night school to better themselves and to become citizens of this country. I do not approve of rewarding people who have no respect for our laws. Illegal aliens are lawbreakers and should be treated as criminals.

MARGARET GALLES

Millersville, Md.

Retirement options

In his commentary (“Retirement age crunch,” yesterday), Bruce Bartlett made the following statement: “I think some people may not even realize the lower benefits they get at age 62 last a lifetime. They may be under the erroneous belief their benefits will be bumped up at age 65. They won’t.”

He didn’t offer any supporting evidence for the statement, which does a great disservice to those Social Security personnel who process retirement requests. I was an early retiree three years ago, and my options were fully explained to me. In addition, the agency has paperwork which clearly explains the options, which it mails out with the annual statement.

I agree with his thesis in the article; just disagree with the above statement. The average American is much smarter than he gives them credit.

RALPH GOODSON

Vero Beach, Fla.

Truth in history

Robert E. Brand seems to think that the history books children are reading in school today are not truthful. (“Teachers, children and revisionist history,” Letters, Friday).

Mr. Brand, I have read the “non-revised history” you support teaching. I read them in the 1940s and 1950s when I was in elementary and high school. What do those books say about the selling of Indians into slavery after the Pequot War (1637) and King Philip’s War (1675-76)? What do they say about the Trail of Tears?

What do they say about the pictures of dead Filipinos in souvenir books purchased by veterans of the “Philippine Insurrection” (1899-1901) which had a racial slur in the caption?

History, Mr. Brand, is not one-dimensional. It must be viewed from all sides. And it must be remembered that, just as there is a “fog of war,” there is also a “fog of history.”

As I remember it from school, history was, and still is, my favorite subject. I never got less than an A, and the history books I was taught from said nothing about the three things I mentioned above. History books should be written not to suit the biases of certain people or groups of people, but to tell the truth, as best it can be determined, no matter painful or embarrassing it may be.

DARREL SALISBURY

Lorton, Va.

Don’t abolish Christmas

Preach on, Diana West (“Pope defends Christmas,” Op-Ed, Friday). I went to elementary and middle school in suburban New York. Most of my family was Catholic and celebrated Christmas in December, but some were Orthodox Christians who celebrated it in January. Many of our closest family friends were Jewish and celebrated Hanukkah.

As a child, I found experiencing different religious and cultural traditions to be refreshing and fun. I enjoyed participating in my Jewish friends’ celebrations and they enjoyed participating in mine. Learning about each other brought us closer together.

To me, “diversity” has always meant embracing the fact that people are different and learning about their differences in a positive way. But to the political-correctness police, it seems to mean creating a godless, soulless society where no one’s beliefs can be acceptably expressed in public. To me that is just plain wrong and divisive.

The Washington Times has reported that some stores avoid wishing shoppers “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah.” Well, I am not buying into their secular, politically correct view. Literally. If I do not see a Christmas tree and someone or something that clearly wishes me “merry” when I enter your store, dear merchant, then I will shake the proverbial dust from my sandals and leave without purchasing a single item.

ANNE PASTORKOVICH

Fairfax, Va.

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