Letters to the editor - 7/14

July 14, 2004

Klan destined for obscurity

To the editor:

I was appalled to see the letter from Keedysville on July 4, in which the writer said the Ku Klux Klan has some good points when it comes to gay people. This comes on the heels of reports that the Klan is planning an August rally in Sharpsburg.

An official from the State Highway Administration, which issues permits for activities on our public roads, told me on July 7 that the Klan no longer plans to march, but that they may hold some other event in our community. Whatever assembly that will be, the official said, is "up to the people in Sharpsburg."

Sadly, there is a reservoir of people here with sympathies for at least some of the Klan's positions.

It appears the Klan is trying to legitimize itself here by promoting the same brand of hatred it uses to attack African-Americans, Catholics, Jews and other "non-Aryans." Gay bashing is simply another chapter in the Klan's vicious history.


Our Keedysville correspondent would do well to consider this. Does he really want to stand up for those kinds of values? Would he also like to see burning crosses and swastikas adorning our countryside? If so, for shame.

Rank bigotry has no place here or anywhere else. I urge our community leaders and citizens to take every opportunity to condemn it. Hopefully in so doing, we can drive the Klan and its nascent supporters back under the rock from whence they came.

Heidi Welsh


Voting machines open to fraud

To the editor:

I write to draw readers' attention to the issue of computerized voting machines. I hope to convince you that it's worth getting upset about. The national media has not covered the issue much, or prominently, but it has shown what's at stake:

  • Most computerized-voting systems are insecure and subject to tampering.

  • Most computerized-voting systems, including the one the state of Maryland uses, don't have an auditing system to do recounts or otherwise ensure that the computer results match what people actually voted for.

  • Where there's opportunity for theft, eventually someone steals.

I'm the information technology director for a small nonprofit organization. That doesn't make me an expert in this matter, but it does inform me enough to draw conclusions based upon what little has been in the national media.

We've got a serious problem, and an apparent unwillingness to substantively address the issue by people in power to do so. I don't credit this lack of will to fix the problem to nefarious motives, but the result is the same. Our elections, and therefore our democracy, are at risk.

This is a story that needs to be repeated, loudly and often, until our elected representatives fix the issue. Convincingly. If not, not only won't we have confidence in our election results; we won't even be able to find out what the real results are.

Our society is more polarized than ever. Collectively, we seem to be all too willing to attribute unsavory motives and methods to the "other side."

In a winner-take-all democracy such as ours, if the losers of an election ever reach the conclusion that the way to advance its goals is not through the ballot box in the next election - because control of the ballot box results is in the hands of the winners - woe is us. All of us.

Alan Septoff

Clear Spring

Hardly patriots

To the editor:

I am writing in response to the Rev. Jim Lewis and his organization, West Virginia Patriots for Peace, and their use of "boots on the ground" to protest the global war on terror. The Rev. Lewis should know this scripture by heart: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

While in Iraq and Kuwait as a JAG officer with the 111th Engineer Group, I made some Iraqi and Kuwaiti friends. Although God protected me and blessed me with safety, I would have gladly given my life for the cause of liberty, even for people I did not know.

Had I been killed in action, I would not want some political operative using my boots to encourage terrorism, protest the liberation of the Iraqi people and degrade the cause of freedom that I gave my life for.

You have the freedom of speech, but do not conceal your opinions by claiming that you are honoring veterans. I met one of your so-called patriots at the Civic Center recently. He got me interested with a big sign that read, "Honor our veterans." When I approached, he gave me a flier attacking the president and the war I just returned from.

I told the young, tie-dyed shirt-wearing, dreadlock-adorned young man, that if he truly wanted to honor his veterans, that I knew a National Guard recruiter right down the road that would be glad to sign him up. God bless every life given in the defense of freedom.

Hiram Lewis

Morgantown, W.Va.

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