- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 29, 2002

Hurrah for Dixie

I commend The Washington Times for running Thursday's editorial "Southern pride." One particular passage sums up what I know to be true: "Just as there weren't communists under every bed in the 1950s, neither is every Southerner (or Southern image) an homage to racism. Anyone who feigns indignation at the family friendly and absolutely non-racial 'Dukes of Hazzard' and its mascot, the General Lee, is seeking bogeymen where none exist." Indeed.
As difficult as it is for some people to believe, this is the truth. Very few of us who are proud of the South her people and her symbols have racist tendencies masquerading in the form of the Confederate battle flag or any other symbol. Those who say so are nothing new, though.
Writing almost 100 years ago, Booker T. Washington knew their false tune: "There is a certain class of race problem-solvers who don't want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public."
And, with respect to former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder's criticism of former "Dukes of Hazard" actor-turned-politician Ben Jones, consider the source: He is a slum lord, and the majority of his tenants are poor black people. I seriously doubt his concern for the plight of the black man. The following quote, also from Mr. Washington, aptly sums up Mr. Wilder and his ilk:
"There is a class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs."

Fifty Six, Ark.

Simon has given his campaign enough

Contrary to what certain "big GOP donors" think, just because he has deep pockets doesn't in any way oblige Bill Simon to empty them on this campaign ("Simon faces snub from GOP donors," Nation, Thursday). History has shown that self-financed candidates from both parties lose in California. Are those purported big donors quoted in the article trying to set Mr. Simon up for failure?
Mr. Simon has already paid out of his own pocket some $9 million, taken a leave of absence from his job, weathered very public personal and professional attacks, had his taxes microscopically examined, spent hundreds of exhausting days on the campaign trail - and they claim he's not serious about this campaign?
What if the Republican candidate for governor were not a person of means? What would the criticism be then? It seems to me that the GOP fat cats in question will always find something to criticize and will never be happy. Perhaps they would like to see California saddled with another four years of Gray Davis. Then they would really have something to complain about.

Sacramento, Calif.

Setting the facts straight in a Central Asian country

I am writing in response to "Early test of security strategy?" (Commentary, Tuesday), which was written by Bruce Fein, an attorney for a disgruntled investor in Kyrgyzstan's telecommunications sector. Frankly, the column is based on innuendo and false assumptions.
First, it suggests that the firm KATEL lost its privileged position in the telecom market in Kyrgyzstan so that President Askar Akayev could obtain some personal benefits. The facts are quite the contrary: International financial institutions insisted, as a condition to their support for the overhaul and privatization of our telecommunications sector, that the quite extraordinary benefits given KATEL be revoked.
As an early player on the scene, KATEL scored some advantages that a more experienced sovereign nation never would have granted. The solution, which our government is pursuing, is to privatize Kyrgyztelecom, and we expect to announce a tender to that end by the beginning of next year. The suggestion of personal gain by the president is untrue, unfair and a red herring.
Second, the author suggests that Kyrgyzstan is threatening to shut down Ganci Air Force Base in Kyrgyzstan. This is equally absurd and untrue. Our government is an active participant in the campaign against terror led by the United States. We participate because the same forces that leveled the World Trade Center and struck the Pentagon have been waging war on our territory since 1999. Ganci Air Force Base is an anchor to our security, just as it is to the security of the United States.
Kyrgyzstan remains committed to the anti-terrorist coalition and will continue its support of that cause until all the roots of terrorism in our region have been eradicated. In this process, we have no greater friend than the United States, and we are thankful for that friendship and support.

Embassy of Kyrgyzstan

Border wars

It is a shocking abrogation of basic governmental responsibility that Roger Barnett must live under a state of siege on his own ranch ("Border rancher fights to stem flood of aliens," Nation, Wednesday). The nation's first duty should be the protection of its borders from foreign invasion of any sort so that U.S. citizens can live their lives without having to act as unpaid law enforcement officers.
Mr. Barnett could surely spend his time more profitably than by repairing damaged fences, cleaning up trash and patrolling his land for illegal aliens and dangerous drug smugglers. The measurable financial costs are considerable: for example, the $30,000 spent on electronic sensors and the numerous cattle slaughtered and poisoned. The personal danger is real, too, as drug gangs have become more brazen after experiencing official U.S. indifference.
What's wrong with President Bush and Congress that they tolerate this border chaos even after September 11? The same undefended borders that allow Mexican aliens to cross with impunity just as easily accommodate Middle Eastern terrorists. The U.S. military should be stationed on the border immediately to protect all of America's citizens from those living in New York City to forgotten corners of Arizona.

Berkeley, Calif.

I met Roger Barnett two years ago, who at the time had rounded up more than 1,000 illegal alien trespassers on his ranch and turned them over to the Border Patrol. He was infuriated by the ongoing destruction of his property, as well as by the repeated failures of the Border Patrol to stem this relentless flood. He was fed up with the unmerciful stealth migration that had knocked down fences and gates, trampled flowers and shrubs, cluttered neighborhoods with filthy litter, rotting garbage, piles of discarded diapers and toilet paper, food containers and plastic water bottles acerbated by the stench of excrement, poisoned (or throats slit) pets and live stock, and lots of stolen property that wasn't tied down.
There's no sovereignty nor tranquillity for U.S. citizens along much of our frontier with Mexico, especially at night. Ranches and communities have been transformed into staging areas for hordes of illegals to pillage, trample and destroy on their relentless onslaughts into our sovereign nation.
And while our pandering government wrings its hands and pleads for "understanding," mainstream Americans in these affected areas are telling Uncle Sam to get out of the way so they can get the job done on their own.

Glendora, Calif.

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