Letters to the editor

July 22, 2008

The right not to fly our flag

To the editor:

Unfortunately, we as a nation have lost sight of the spirit, enthusiasm, and respect that created this great nation in which we are so privileged to live. To many, the end of May is a wonderful three-day weekend, or a chance to find great bargains, not a chance to remember those who gave their lives in sacrifice to provide us our many freedoms.

Members of the local Rouzerville-based civic organization wished to hand out free American flags this Memorial Day to remind everyone of the significance of the day, and to share their patriotic pride with the community. The location with which to do this seemed obvious to all - the Rouzerville Commons Shopping Center is a huge business hub in the Rouzerville community and Wal-Mart is a main anchor of that center.

When a request was made to the management of that location, the organization was denied the opportunity on the grounds that it was store policy.


A letter of displeasure to corporate headquarters brought a quick response that this was store policy and not a corporate policy. Calls from local store management to club representatives also made it clear that this was a local store policy and not a corporate position. The argument presented for the local position is that if one organization is allowed to solicit or hand out pamphlets, flyers, American flags, etc., then they would be required to allow all to do the same.

While I understand the position, it troubles me greatly for several reasons.

1. I am a huge proponent of the freedom of speech; while I may not agree with the message, I do believe in the right for whomever to say it. I also believe it should be the right of any business, organization, and individual to pick and choose the platforms they wish to support without fear of legal repercussions. I am sure that this is a byproduct of the legal system that requires me to have untold number of labels reminding me that I cannot wash and dry my hair at the same time, or that my hot coffee is, in fact, hot, or keeps people from assisting others out of fear of legal repercussions.

2. The most troubling aspect is that I find so many people unwilling or afraid to take a stand for what is, in fact, the right thing to do, and deal with the repercussions of that right decision. If allowing local people to hand out free American flags, no other pamphlets, political statements, or solicitations of donations is a store or company policy is wrong, especially from an organization that built its reputation on the American way.

I close with this reminder to all - take a minute and, in silence, ponder the sacrifice of all who gave their lives to provide Wal-Mart with the freedom to not allow American flags to be handed out, yet profit from the sales on this day of remembrance.

Keith Grossnickle
Waynesboro, Pa.

An alternative in 6th District

To the editor:

Earlier this year, the Libertarian Party of Maryland nominated Gary Hoover Sr. as its candidate for the 6th District of Maryland.

Hoover was running as an independent candidate to unseat Roscoe Bartlett, who is seeking a ninth term in Congress.

Hoover decided, after talking with the Libertarian party leaders, that their stance on the issues of importance agrees with his positions. Hoover accepted the nomination of the party.

"I want the people of the 6th District to have an alternative party to vote for than the two major parties that control our great nation. Nothing will change in Washington until the people's voices are heard, and with the Democrats and Republicans controlling Capitol Hill, their voice is not being heard. It is time to let those in Washington know that we have had enough of the partisan politics that the Democrats and Republicans offer.

"It's time for the people's work to get done, and that won't happen if the people don't have an alternative candidate to vote for. An alternative candidate should be one that is truly independent, not one that becomes an alternative after not winning one of the two major party primaries. We need to change the way things are done in Washington, not merely the person that goes there. If we elected a person who is committed to the Democratic party or the Republican party way of doing business, nothing will change."

Gary Hoover
Clear Spring

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