- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 19, 2002

In defense of Lincoln

Columnist Cal Thomas' reference to Abraham Lincoln in "Habitual offender putting GOP to the test" (Commentary, Sunday) seems to have elicited a somewhat expected if not old response highlighting Lincoln's 19th-century views on civil rights ("Honestly Abe," Letters, Tuesday). Such a response ignores the essence of Lincoln's progressive civil rights views in order to discredit his image.
Lincoln's support for the African colonization of freed slaves is no secret, nor was it a revolutionary movement on Lincoln's part. The idea also was supported by Thomas Jefferson and Henry Clay. Some abolitionists were proponents of the movement, and support for the idea often was based upon a realization of the difficulties of achieving true racial equality after slavery in the United States. The movement failed overall, and Lincoln himself changed his mind about its practicality.
Instead, Lincoln and others recognized the vital service and loyalty to the nation that more than 180,000 black soldiers provided to the Union during the Civil War and pushed for complete equality.
In 1864, Lincoln clearly expressed his views in a letter to James Wadsworth. "How to better the condition of the colored race has long been a study which has attracted my serious and careful attention," Lincoln wrote; "hence I think I am clear and decided as to what course I shall pursue in the premises, regarding it a religious duty, as the nation's guardian of these people, who have so heroically vindicated their manhood on the battle-field, where, in assisting to save the life of the Republic, they have demonstrated in blood their right to the ballot, which is but the humane protection of the flag they have so fearlessly defended. The restoration of the Rebel States to the Union must rest upon the principle of civil and political equality of both races; and it must be sealed by general amnesty."
His statement hardly draws a picture of an ardent advocate of white superiority or racial isolation.
Lincoln is not a model of 21st-century civil rights advocacy. His views, however, especially toward the end of the Civil War, led the way for this nation to have a "new birth of freedom." The "party of Lincoln" and all Americans should appreciate that.

IAN SPURGEON
Silver Spring

Morning-after lies

The old saw, "How do you know when [insert name] is lying? When his lips are moving," never had a more appropriate application than to the contraceptive-abortion industry.
Consider its most recent lie: The "morning-after pill," although at times it functions to prevent implantation in the womb of a new human being, "cannot affect an established pregnancy" and, therefore, is not an abortifacient ("Study finds pill process helps cut abortion rate," Nation, Tuesday).
This is just the latest lie coming from that industry. Other examples include: Abortion is only legal for the first three months of pregnancy (it is, in fact, legal for all nine months of pregnancy), and abortion just eliminates a mass of tissue (in fact, the human form is easily distinguishable earlier than 8 weeks' gestation, and the human heart is beating at 21 days).
Proponents of this pill lie to women when they say that it never aborts babies, but lying is their tradition and their legacy.

CAROLYN NAUGHTON
Silver Spring

Misleading headline

Monday's Page One headline "Grassley probes complaints about postal inspector" is misleading. It would be more accurate if it said, "Grassley probes complaints about inspector general for the Postal Service."
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service, one of the oldest federal law-enforcement agencies in the country and the law enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service, is not the target of the probe of Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican. Rather, the article deals with complaints about the Office of Inspector General, an entirely different organization that focuses on the traditional inspector-general duties of investigating fraud, waste and abuse.

DANIEL L. MIHALKO
Inspector in Charge
Congressional & Public Affairs
U.S. Postal Inspection Service
Washington

Saluting the Virginia Legislature

I came to the United States as a legal immigrant, and I have been a U.S. citizen for many years. As an immigrant, I am very familiar with the immigration laws of this country. They are very strict. The problem is that our government has decided not to enforce them in the majority of cases.
I applaud the Virginia Legislature for backing a bill that will keep tabs on who is enjoying the privilege of driving in our country ("Lawmakers back bill on alien licenses," Metropolitan, yesterday). I hope that other states will follow its example.
We are quickly becoming a lawless country. It is time to enforce our immigration laws and guard our borders.

HAYDEE PAVIA
Laguna Woods, Calif.

At last, FTC hangs up on telemarketers

It is about time the Federal Trade Commission finally started following individual states' lead by enforcing nationwide rules to restrict sales calls ("Consumers to get help avoiding telemarketers," Page 1, yesterday).
We have had a no-call list in Texas for about a year, and it works. The list was created in response to public demand. We had tried screening calls via Caller ID, but the telemarketers started using fake IDs by using individuals' names instead of a company name. Southwestern Bell had even started marketing a product called Privacy Manager to help customers screen calls. Short of using an answering machine to screen all calls, there was almost nothing you could do to prevent the constant interruptions.
It is well worth the $5 (per three-year subscription) cost to regain my peace and quiet. Before the list became active, I averaged between four and eight telemarketing calls per evening, all of which got about five seconds of my time before I hung up on them, which is a very common response. Now, there is none. I finally control my phone and my evenings, and the telemarketers are more efficient. I have discontinued the Privacy Manager service, which more than paid for the no-call subscription.
Regarding the telemarketing spin cited in the article, each of their contentions merits a debunking:
The no-call list violates "commercial free speech." Wrong. The government is not restricting anyone's rights. It's people's right to be left alone in their homes. We pay for our phone service, not the telemarketers. The government is merely enforcing our privacy rights at our request and (in the case of Texas) at our expense.
It will hurt industry sales and jobs. Wrong. Anyone who takes the time (and maybe expense) to sign up is so fed up with interruptions that he won't buy anything from a telemarketer, anyway. The no-call list is actually to the telemarketers' advantage, as they have a chance of getting someone to (at least) listen to their pitch.
The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) list is sufficient. Wrong. I was on that list for three years (both mail and phone), and the volume of calls and junk mail steadily increased. Most local telemarketers are not members of the DMA, so that list does not apply to them.
Last, consumers won't find out about new products and services. Wrong. The same logic applies as to the it-will-hurt-industry-sales line. There are other advertising venues that can be used, but they wouldn't be in a force-fed environment where consumers cannot ignore the ads if they aren't interested.

CHARLES W. BARGAR JR.
Richardson, Texas

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