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Amid legitimate complaints about vetting every move through polls and focus groups, today’s politicians hardly need exhortation to be more slavishly driven by public opinion. Conservatives should be more confident of their position and less reliant on the shifting sands of popular whims.

GREGORY C. MCCARTHY

Arlington

First the border, then the system

Victor Davis Hanson’s column “Victorious revolt,” (Commentary, Saturday) gets it absolutely right. The American public is a much smarter group than the “inside the Beltway” crowd gives us credit for. Looking at each piece of the problem instead of rushing to pass another massive and ultimately worthless bill is the best way to honestly attack the problem.

The next step I would recommend, as soon as the new border fence project is under way, is a thorough examination and revamping of our present immigration system and procedures. The people with the skills and abilities from around the world who we want to allow into the United States are being strangled by our inefficient and cumbersome system that often allows itself to be hijacked by manipulative and deceitful sponsors who keep immigrants as their personal “helpers” past the time when they should have received their work papers or green card.

TINA OWENS

Fairfax

Why do people pledge?

I fully support those individuals who wish to exercise their right to pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States (“Pledging allegiance with liberty, breakfast for all,” Metropolitan, Sunday). That Chick and Ruth’s Delly chooses to do so every morning is their right to freedom of expression and speech. However, what disturbed me about the article is the suggestion that reciting the pledge is meaningful, yet at the same time, it is done more out of “respect” than personal belief, most clearly seen when foreign diners place their hands over their hearts, when they are clearly not making a pledge.

A pledge is supposed to be deeply meaningful. It is not merely a position taken in a debate or even a proclamation in a public setting. A pledge is an expression of one’s values and self-identity such that one is promising to uphold the substance of that pledge. A pledge of allegiance should not be taken lightly. Those who support the Pledge of Allegiance and wish to see more individuals take the pledge should look more toward individuals acting it out than reciting the words for it. Saying a pledge to be polite does not show it respect.

ALEXANDER MCCOBIN

Research Assistant

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