Time to encourage
Now is the time to keep encouraging our Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley to fight for a strong public option in the current Senate health bill. A Dec. 1 article in the Mail Tribune reported that the independent Congressional Budget Office report said that premiums would not rise. An effective public option would provide the competition to actually lower premiums.
Leave a message of support at the Senators' local offices: Sen. Wyden at 858-5122 and Sen. Merkley at 608-9102.
Don't frighten horses
I find it interesting that two gentlemen from the United Kingdom saw fit to lecture us on our attitude towards public nudity (see Dec. 7 letters at length). I was born and raised in the U.K. and was taught at an early age that having good manners was nothing more than showing consideration for the feelings of others. Common courtesy dictates that we try to avoid causing anyone distress by our inappropriate behavior. What could be more discourteous or arrogant than assuming everyone wants to see your naked body walking around town?
The Englishmen seemed fixated on children and teens, but what about the rest of us? I'm almost 70, and I'm sure there are many of us older citizens who think nudity has its place, but that place isn't the streets of Ashland.
The 19th century English actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell put it perfectly when she said: "My dear, I don't care what they do, so long as they don't do it in the street and frighten the horses."
Amen to that.
Class on Ramadan?
Since the Supreme Court has ruled that holiday trees are not religious symbols, the supporters of the tree do have the law on their side, in a narrow sense. However, many of their comments and letters to the editor display a serious insensitivity to the feelings of minorities, a misreading of the Constitution (which does give political rights to minorities), and really worrisome misunderstanding of the separation of church and state.
It is clear that many in the community do regard the tree as a religious symbol. And if those people feel that religious freedom means that Christmas should be celebrated in schools as a religious holiday, then it is fair to ask: Shouldn't we close school for the Jewish High Holy Days? Shouldn't we stop serving lunch in schools during Ramadan? Shouldn't we ask the Buddhists and Hindus which days they would like school closed?
Appalled at decision
Many of us here in the city of Ashland were appalled at the Bellview principal's action to have the Christmas tree, a giving tree for the less fortunate, removed from school grounds. According to the article, one family objected to its presence in the school and refused to be interviewed. They objected because it was a religious symbol. And yet, the principal chose to defy the Supreme Court ruling that a Christmas tree is not a religious symbol. I have great-grandchildren that don't happen to live in Ashland, but what a confusing explanation to make that the principal took the law of the school into her hands and make such a blatant decision.
I am please that the meeting resulted in reinstating the Christmas tree.
Not all drivers stop
The latest crosswalk accident (Ashland High School student Eldon Tobrock's) reminds me what a well-intentioned but bad idea crosswalks are. Crosswalks lead pedestrians to assume that the driver will stop for you, but not all of them do.
A stronger economy
I'd like to outline my less controversial ideas on how the U.S. can be spurred out of recession and made, for years to come, a stronger and more prosperous economy. First of all, I'd point out that bringing smart health care to more citizens would greatly increase productivity. The key is rational allocation of resources, focusing on preventative and holistic medicine, and encouraging better diet, etc. Another direction we need to move toward is globalism. The best way to do this is to offer scholarships for high school and college students to study a year abroad in places from France to Thailand to Zaire.
Then we need to stop "bailing out" corrupted banks and corporations and prosecute some high-ranking cons to set an example. As for the rest, we need to re-create a business environment that welcomes innovators and wealth creators, and also do what we can to boost high-end manufacturing and agriculture. Just as individual investors are encouraged to diversify, our nation needs to foster a diverse economy, investing in speculative technologies but also making sure that farmers and ranchers have what they need to be productive and profitable.
The key to all this is to, as Obama recently said regarding education, "Work smart." If we're willing to make tough decisions and think outside the box, something often said but rarely done in today's U.S., we'll find that our resources are far greater than our needs.
Sean Lawlor Nelson
Letters to the Editor December 11
Time to encourage