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Letters to the editor - 5/25

May 25, 2004

'Commoner' referencespeaks volumes



To the editor:

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark married Australian commoner Mary Elizabeth Donaldson on Friday, said The Herald-Mail.

Wait a second. Have I read this correctly? A commoner. Well, well, well. I believe we are all created equally, but obviously some of us do not believe it. What is the purpose of stating the adjective "commoner" anyway?

Just the nationality would not do to tell who she is? This indicates to me that racism is alive and so pervasive that even when our acts are racist we are not aware of it.

Nonetheless, I would like to take this opportunity to wish the couple a happy life and also thank them for trying to bring equality with their uncommon union.

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S.V. Yumlu

Hagerstown




Unions make life better



To the editor:

As an active union member I am often asked what a union is and why anyone who works for a living should belong to one. To begin with, unions are groups of workers who join together to win respect, improve wages and benefits, gain flexibility in order to meet family and work needs; counter the power of employers and provide a voice for improving the quality and service and products.

Once workers choose to seek union representation, they must vote the union in. Unlike presidential elections in the United States, in union elections all votes are equal and counted. If the workers win the right to union representation, then they begin negotiating a pact with management that spells out the responsibilities and rights of both management and workers.

Today, virtually all groups of workers, from unskilled workers, such as janitors and fast food workers, to high skilled workers such as nurses, engineers, office workers, and physicians are forming unions in order to gain a voice at work. Among the benefits that are realized by union workers are improved wages (union workers earn an average of 28 percent more than non-union workers), health care and retirement benefits.

In short, unions have made life better for all working Americans by helping to pass laws that ended child labor, established the eight-hour work day, protected workers' safety and health and helped to create Social Security, unemployment insurance and the minimum wage. There is no need to take my word for it; check out www.aflcio.org for more information on unions and union membership.

Dave Donohue

Shepherdstown, W.Va.




Upside down world of Bush



To the editor:

It has been a lesson in tip-toeing, side-stepping and verbal dissimulation to watch the hawkish advisors of President Bush defend a policy that has been clearly exposed for what it was - a strong-willed, unilateral display of military power which provoked an unnecessary war.

When their absolutely sure statements about the need to invade Iraq are read back to them they resort to evasions and reinterpretations that would do justice to the cagey Talleyrand (the astute French diplomat). The cream on the blueberry muffins came when Dick Cheney recently showed up at the Vatican to present the Pope with a crystal dove of peace. A crystal hawk would have been more appropriate and certainly more symbolically honest.

But each Bush advisor in turn appears on television, trying to convince Americans that black is white and that two plus two equals five. Since all of President Bush's advisors have been exposed to books that convey ideas, it is probable that they may have come across The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli. If so they will recognize his advice (chapter 18) as to how a prince should behave when it comes to keeping his word and maintaining appearances required by the moment.

"It is not, therefore, necessary for a prince to have all of the above-named qualities (merciful, faithful, humane, sincere, religious), but it is very necessary to seem to have them. Thus it is well to seem to be merciful, faithful, humane, sincere, religious, and also to be so; but you must have the mind so disposed that when it is needful to be otherwise you may be able to change to the opposite qualities."

Machiavelli proposed the idea of political amorality - the end justifies the means. Bush and his advisors would adamantly deny any Machiavellian connections. But, to paraphrase and old adage "beware of Republicans bearing doves."

Allan Powell

Hagerstown

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