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January 23, 2011
Salem News

Become members of a larger world

To the editor:

Growing up in white America, the struggle to realize dignity and justice because of one's skin color was a distant and largely ignored footnote in my everyday life. Isn't that the sad way it is, though?

If you were not a European Jew in 1940, the Holocaust was a phantom, certainly nothing to be afraid of or concerned much about. If you are not a gay teen, then bullying and isolation is a social issue to be examined, not a daily reality to be endured.

What moves the heart to become awakened to injustice is the courage of a few to stand up for what is right and just. For all his faults-the main one being a stubborn support for the war in Vietnam-I admire President Lyndon Johnson for standing before Congress in the racially-charged environment of 1965 and echoing the anthem of the Civil Rights Movement: "We shall overcome!" Yes, he had a problem on his hands that was not going away, but I believe deep inside this tough Texan resided a sincere desire to make things right in a nation that promised liberty and justice for all.

Nothing changes one's opinion of others more than reaching beyond what one has heard about others, and finally listening to them face to face. This is what I think happened to President Johnson, as he met with Martin Luther King Jr. and other African American leaders. He wisely evaluated them to be unwavering in their cause, highly articulate, and patient enough to fight the good fight to the finish.

The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday offers a brief season of reflection about our lives.

Surely all injustice has not vanished from our nation or our world since 1940 or 1964. Are we aware of what is going on in the world around us? Do we have a cause to stand for? Or, in the comfort of our homes, are we satisfied with respectable quietness, and a self-satisfied ignorance about injustice, poverty, or other social ills around us?

The greatest honor we can give the memory of Martin Luther King Jr., is to become members of a larger nation, a larger world, and light our lights of courage.


North Lima

What has happened to our society?

To the editor:

I'm writing this letter due to my sadness concerning the shootings in Tucson, Ariz. What has happened to our society? Why is it that there are people who feel compelled to just take a gun and start shooting people for absolutely no reason?

Why is it that there are people who just feel that it's OK to do such a heinous act? Is it because our society lacks understanding, kindness, respect or manners for people or children that they can just walk into any type of setting and start shooting? I believe it started with the shootings at Columbine High School, and it still continues.

Something needs to be done with these individuals. Not just putting them in prison for a life sentence. That just doesn't seem to be much of a deterrent.

I don't know if all the media attention makes them feel like they have done something heroic, or that it will make society better, but, it shouldn't. I honestly think that it's time for everyone to start making their children and families come together as a strong family unit, spend quality time together, eat dinner together, go to church together, throw those cell phones away for some length of time and actually sit down as a family and talk to one another.

Manners and etiquette need to come back into our lives. Respect each person with the utmost consideration that each and every person in this United States deserves. All these barbaric acts need to stop. It needs to start somewhere.

Look at your own children tonight and start there. If your children are grown, stop and tell your husband or wife you love them, care about them, and treat them the way they should be treated. Also, remember your parents and grandparents who also need our care. Remember the song by "Crosby, Stills and Nash," which states "Teach Your Children Well." It's definitely time to start doing that.



Saddened by abandoned pets

To the editor:

Hey, you forgot your cat!

It always saddens me to see abandoned pets. One only has to walk through the park on a semi-regular basis to see an assortment of cats turned loose and fending for themselves. All of my recent pets have been recovered strays turned loose by uncaring unknown owners. I can only do so much and don't have the ability to take on your neglected responsibility.

I guess the recent residents of East Eighth Street, Salem, figured that some kindhearted person in the neighborhood would rescue their throwaway cat from the severe weather now under way.

That may be true. On the other hand, this helpless animal may face starvation, a run- in with a car or risk freezing to death on a bitter cold night.

How could you be so uncaring? What lesson are you teaching your young children? Just wondering what kind of person treats a pet as a disposable item?

When I see an abandoned pet, I always wonder who could do such a thing. Now I know.



Plow drivers do not own roads

To the editor:

I am writing this in reference to the recent accident involving a Crestview school bus and a Middleton Township snow plow truck. I have also had a personal experience with a Middleton Township snow plow on the road I live on two winters ago when the driver was in the center of the road coming toward me, eventually running me off the road into a tree, and kept driving!

He was not cited for that incident and it cost me to get my car fixed. Luckily, the bus driver nor the students in this recent accident were not seriously injured. I feel that this is something that needs to be addressed. These particular plow drivers have to realize that they do not own these roads. I see the way they drive their trucks on my road every time it snows and am not impressed one bit.

The students and families of the students on Tracy Whitacre's bus are very fortunate that they had an experienced bus driver that has the strength, compassion and calmness that was needed during their ordeal.


New Waterford



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