Letters to the Editor - May 1

April 30, 2011

Letter writer misued the word 'socialism'

To the editor:

This is in response to the April 21 letter with the headline "Socialism is the evil that is destroying us."

The letter writer is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts. Socialism is an economic social system in which the means of producing and distribution of goods are owned collectively. We live in a social democracy with an economic system of capitalism based on an open and free market. We do not even approach socialism.

We, as a nation, long ago answered the question about whether or not the government is responsible to provide decent housing, adequate health care and a social education to all of its citizens. Programs such as "The New Deal" and "The Great Society" come to mind. Equal opportunity to become unequal, in a manner of speaking.

President Reagan coined the phrase "safety net" for those who cannot provide for themselves. The real questions debated are how to provide this net, through what programs and approaches, and ultimately how to fund these services.

Various people on the right have chosen to misrepresent the facts, either through ignorance or a deliberate attempt to distort them, to defame President Obama and his policies.

We are not at war with Libya. We are involved in a NATO-sanctioned action against a tyrant committing crimes against his own citizens.

Socialism has become the new buzzword of the right to replace communism. It seeks to instill fear and hatred on a segment of the population that seems unwilling or unable to research the correct meaning of this word.

Thomas H. Rockwell


Teachers are underpaid for all that they do

To the editor:

I felt the need to comment on the numerous negative comments about recent articles detailing front-line teachers' (I'm not talking administrators) salaries and that they make too much money. I am not a teacher, but I know some teachers, although none are teaching in Washington County. For those criticizing the salary levels: Do you know how much it costs to go to college to get a teaching degree? Do you know summers are not spent off but taking classes to maintain certifications, which also cost money?

Teachers contribute to their health care costs and retirement plans. They often purchase classroom supplies and are never reimbursed for them. They have to put up with unruly kids but cannot discipline them. They have to put up with unreasonable parents who think their little angel is the smartest, most perfect kid in the world when they are nothing but a spoiled brat. They can't even use red ink to correct a paper as it may lower a child's self-esteem.

In many instances, the teacher will spend more time with the child in a year than a parent. Teachers can have a great influence on a child who is willing to learn. I would think parents would want someone who has a good education and is happy with their job to be teaching their children.

For those who say they are being paid too much, why don't you go out and get a teaching degree and try it?  Frankly, with what teachers have to put up with, I don't think they are getting paid enough. I say hats off to the teachers in my past — from first grade through graduate school. A week does not go by that I don't think of one of the many teachers who have touched and influenced my life.

Cindy Shank


Senator says illegal immigrant tuition bill has its costs

To the editor:  

I am shocked at the editorial of April 25 from The Herald-Mail ("Immigrant students have right to learn"). The Herald-Mail is demonstrating its true colors as a liberal mouthpiece that is totally out of touch with the citizens of Washington County.

The editorial makes the erroneous assertion that "there is no cost to us in this bill." The fiscal note prepared by the nonpartisan Department of Legislative Services available on the General Assembly's website shows that, by 2016, Maryland taxpayers will pay $3.5 million as a direct result of this legislation. The State of Maryland continues to face a billion-dollar deficit. Taxes and fees were raised this year by more than $487 million on everything from birth certificates to health care. Considering our situation, subsidizing educational costs for illegal immigrants should not be a public policy priority.

 With unemployment in Washington County at near 10 percent, rewarding illegal immigration is an insult. The General Assembly continues to encourage illegal immigration with taxpayer subsidies and refuses to employ common-sense measures such as checking new hires using the E-Verify system. Research by Northeastern University has found that nationwide, between 2008 and 2010, an estimated 385,000 jobs were filled using illegal workers. I urge all citizens of Washington County to sign the petition to put this bill in front of the people of Maryland in a referendum. Copies of the petition are available at


Sen. Christopher B. Shank


Tilghman was face of evil and heartbreak to slaves

To the editor:

George Anikis ("Tilghman was more than a slave owner," April 24) laments the fact that a Herald-Mail story about James Pennington portrayed Frisby Tilghman, Pennington's owner, in a negative light. How else could the reporter have portrayed him? I would suggest that Anikis read Pennington's slave narrative, "The Fugitive Blacksmith," in order to get some perspective on the face that Tilghman showed to enslaved black people. Tilghman might have been a great "gentleman" to white society, but to his slaves he was the face of evil and heartbreak.

Slavery was a cancer that almost destroyed this country — the surgical removal of which has left deep scars throughout the nation's soul. From Gettysburg, Pa., all the way down to Olustee, Fla., there are battlefields and graveyards that attest to slavery's power and to the moral, economic and political cost of throwing off the disease of slave ownership — not to mention the deep and abiding scars of slavery in the hearts and souls of African-Americans, for whom slavery, rape, oppression and murder have been a profound historical experience.

Like all humans, Tilghman was a tragic man scarred and diminished by his own blindness. He did his best, but he was not a hero. He and his brother-in-law, Gen. Ringgold, sought to create in Washington County a kind of feudal barony based on chattel slavery and white deference to land-owning "lords of the manor" — the worst of Merry Olde England, and that which George Washington and the heroes of Valley Forge, at their best, sought to defeat. Like Edgar Allan Poe's "House of Usher," the Tilghmans and the Ringgolds died out, themselves victims of the demotivating power of slavery on white people.

The South is a beautiful place, but there was a snake living in the garden and his name was slavery. The American story is about freedom for all.

Sam Cuthbert


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