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Letters to the editor

October 10, 2003

Losing the battle


To the editor:

Imagine for a moment that you are a small business owner. Now let's say that you must hire someone for a very important position within your organization. You do all of the necessary advertising, you spend weeks interviewing candidates and you have finally found the person you're confident can do the job.

Now you hire this person for a position that is crucial to the ongoing success of your business. It's their first day on the job and you have a brief meeting with this person. You tell them how important it is that they do a good job, and that the success of your business depends heavily on them. Then you tell them, "from this day on, I will never speak with you again or pay any attention to how well you're doing your job."

Sounds like a pretty foolish business owner doesn't it? Well folks, guess what? This is exactly how the majority of Americans deal with those we elect to public office. We spend months hearing about their qualifications and their ability to do the job. We hold our initial interview with the candidates in the form of a primary election, and then, on election day, we hire them for the job . . . and never communicate with them again.

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As if that's not bad enough, imagine that your new employee needs some guidance and they go to your main competitor to get it. How long do you think this business is going to survive? Who is this competitor? Some people call them "special interests" or "lobbyists." What they really is competition for your voice in democracy. We are losing this competition.

According to the A.C. Nielsen Co. (1998), the average American watches three hours and 46 minutes of TV each day (more than 52 days of nonstop TV-watching per year). By age 65 the average American will have spent nearly nine years glued to the tube. How many hours so far this year have you spent being involved in your democracy? Out of the roughly 113 hours per month you spend watching television, how much of an imposition would it be for you to do one (or more) of the following;

- Attend a township meeting, Attend a Franklin County Board of Commissioners meeting, Attend a meeting of the not-for-profit organization of your choice.

- When it comes right down to it, special interests get all of their influence from those of you who don't involve yourself in democracy. Don't blame (most of) the politicians for the state of our democracy.

- The third most important thing in your life (behind God and family) ought to be your democracy. I have grown very weary of people who think that the only definition of a good American is one who waves the flag. While the flag may be important, it is only a symbol of our chosen method of governance. Spend a few moments thinking about what really gives the flag any value. For some, it has been the ultimate sacrifice, for others, it's been the loss of a loved one. For still others, it is the courage to speak out against perceived injustice.

Thomas Jefferson said, "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance." My fellow Americans, we aren't even paying the price of admission!

Scott Blanchard
Chambersburg, Pa.




Pray for safe return


To the editor:

At the present time the United States has armed forces stationed in many countries around the world. Some people agree with their deployment, some people disagree. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree, there is one thing all Americans should be doing in this regard.

I believe every American should be praying daily for the safe return of all the troops. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer and believe that collectively, we can make a difference.

Meredith Fouche
Funkstown

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