- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 2, 2004

Disenfranchised voters must head to the polls

I hope elderly black Florida voters who are being unfairly investigated by the state police will not be intimidated into not voting on Nov. 2 (“Intimidation by action,” Op-Ed, Aug. 27).

The shenanigans Florida Republicans pulled in 2000 should cause disenfranchised 2000 voters not to let anything stop them from casting their votes in 2004. Suppressing the vote of people of color via voter intimidation always helps Republican candidates. The lower the voter turnout, the better chance President Bush has of being re-elected.

The 2004 presidential campaign battle cry for Florida’s blacks and Democrats should be “Remember Florida 2000.” Black Americans in Florida and nationwide must go to the polls on Election Day in record numbers singing the words “We won’t be intimidated” to the tune of “We Shall Overcome.”

Blacks have come far since President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Don’t let nobody turn you ‘round.”

Efforts to suppress the black vote in Florida and elsewhere are shameful, undemocratic and un-American.

PAUL L. WHITELEY SR.

Louisville, Ky.

Ownership is key

Keeping in mind that everyone has speechwriters, Arnold Schwarzenegger summed up the political situation very effectively (“Arnold declares ‘America is back,’ ” Page 1, Wednesday).

There is still a big ideological difference between Democrats and Republicans, even if it isn’t often enough put into practice. It is a pretty simple message that merely reiterates constitutional ideals: self-determination versus government empowerment.

President Bush has a chance to deliver an extremely powerful theme: It is ownership. Ownership is the key to capitalist success. If you own something, you have a vested interest in it and you will be likely to take care of it.

That applies to everything that you own, including Social Security and health care accounts. Because you don’t own your Social Security, you have no control over it. If you decide it is a bad investment, you can’t do anything about it; you must continue to “invest” in it.

The prosperity of everyone in our community is beneficial to everyone in our community — and our community is the United States of America.

DAVE GRAYBILL

Arlington

Major league miss

After reading another column by Tom Knott regarding major-league baseball’s relocation of the Expos (“Cornfield, enclave or nation’s capital?” Wednesday, Sports), I couldn’t help but respond to his continued distortion of the Washington region. Clearly, Mr. Knott is stuck in the 1970s.

His disparagement of the Northern Virginia bid and the location in Loudoun County is not only insulting to those who live and work in the area, but it is entirely off-base as well. Perhaps Mr. Knott would be interested to know that not only does the area around the location boast a major international airport, but it also has more residents, jobs, disposable income and overall economic impact to the region within 15 miles of the proposed stadium site than what the D.C. site can claim.

Executives of Loudoun and Fairfax counties should be appalled at Mr. Knott’s view.

Perhaps the D.C. bid and its location represent the best decision for relocating the Expos, but the Northern Virginia bid and Loudoun County location should be viewed for what they are: an impressive, energetic, sophisticated and viable package.

Perhaps Mr. Knott’s continued diatribes on the competing bids simply highlight the area’s divisiveness, which plagues just about every regional decision that needs to be made and could potentially scare away baseball.

Shame on the majors for the continued delays in relocating the Expos, and shame on Tom Knott for having an absurd view of reality.

THOMAS SULLIVAN

Round Hill, Va.

Setting the record straight

After reading your Monday editorial about the Department of State’s efforts to bring seven children home from Nigeria (“Where was the State Department?”), I wanted to set the record straight for your readers. Our embassy in Nigeria acted promptly and properly in looking after the welfare of these children and helped them return safely to Texas.

On July 30, U.S. Embassy officials learned that seven children were stranded in Ibadan, Nigeria. We immediately contacted the Nigerian authorities who had taken the children into custody to ensure their welfare. There were no indications that the children were in any danger. So the embassy began by focusing its efforts on finding the children’s custodial parents or guardians.

Several days later, on Aug. 5, we were contacted by Texas Sen. John Cornyn’s staff with a report that the children were abandoned, in an orphanage and in danger. The embassy quickly made arrangements to visit the children. During the several hours that a consular officer met with them on Aug. 7, none of the children spoke of any mistreatment or abusive conditions. They were being cared for and were in good health.

The children expressed a strong desire to return to the United States. Our embassy officials worked with Nigerian and U.S. authorities to provide transportation, travel documents and escorts to get the children safely in the care and temporary legal custody of Texas Child Protective Services. They returned home to Texas Aug. 13.

Though the case is unique, our successful handling of this case is an example of the typical and consistent care our embassies overseas provide to Americans all over the world. Our embassy acted efficiently to ensure the well-being of the children.

Though we might have visited the children more immediately, in this case, our embassy staff was informed that the children were safe and well, and they were. We take seriously our responsibility to ensure the safety and welfare of U.S. citizens abroad, especially of minor children, who are our most vulnerable citizens.

COLIN L. POWELL

Secretary

Department of State

Washington

Check your sources

In regard to “Illegals’ costs outpace tax payments, report says” (Nation, Aug. 26): Why should American citizens have to pay for any costs illegal immigrants create while in this country? They have broken a fundamental American law by either sneaking in across our border or overstaying their visas.

Katherine Culliton, spokeswoman for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, typically depends on guesses and outdated studies. To support her position, she cites a Harvard and Princeton study from 1997, published long before the massive influx of illegal immigrants that we have experienced since.

The Center for Immigration Studies, on the other hand, relies on the latest Census Bureau figures for its conclusions. Whom will you believe?

BARBARA MCEWAN

Forest, Va.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide