Letters to the Editor - August 21

August 20, 2011

The year is 2011, not 1861

To the editor:

Imagine a place where public schools, if they exist, are under-funded, where the wealthy send their children to private schools and universities so that they might retain their families' hold on wealth, privilege, and power over the uneducated masses.

Imagine a place where roads, bridges and city streets are falling apart, where government is weak and ineffectual, and where there is no manufacturing, no skilled labor, no middle class. Imagine a place where state governments are controlled by a few powerful interests and where the electorate knows that it is economically dependent on the "charity" and generosity of the wealthy.

Imagine a place where there is a permanent under-class of uneducated, politically vulnerable "outsiders" toiling relentlessly for the benefit of a few powerful families — and where legions of wild-eyed Christian preachers go around telling everybody that the whole crazy mess is "God's will."

Guess what? The picture you have been seeing is the resurrected version of the "Old South" that the tea party and its reluctant or not-so-reluctant Republican followers wants to bring back to the United States of America, which was once one of the most sophisticated, well-educated, and advanced societies in the world — imperfect, full of contradictions, but striving to become a "more perfect union."

The Republican Party, once the party of Abraham Lincoln, Federalism, and the abolition of slavery, is now the party of Jefferson Davis, "states' rights," and the "Lost Cause" of the Confederate States of America. In the next election, Republicans whose ancestors fought to save the Union will have to decide whether or not to hand the country over to Lost Cause.

Confederate sympathizers negate the results of the Civil War, and turn the nation backward to a time of bad education, depleted ideals and injustice.

Nobody is perfect (and I least of all), but there is no longer any doubt in my mind that the Republican Party is morally and intellectually bankrupt if it has to turn to Jefferson Davis and John C. Calhoun for a "compelling" vision of America that will "rouse the base." How are the past 2 1/2 years of Republican intransigence and noncooperation with Barack Obama morally any different from secession and dissolution of the Union? I speak as a (still) registered Republican. The year is 2011, not 1861.

Sam Cuthbert

Republican representatives are the real threat to country

To the editor:

So you think the recent standoff between Republicans and Democrats on raising the debt ceiling was about reducing the national debt? I wished. Unfortunately, that was the least of it. No, don't be naive, the Republicans simply used the debt ceiling as an instrument of leverage to assert their political power.

By threatening to run our country into the ground (need I say default?) and to inflict harm on the people of America, they were able to extort concessions from the Democrats that would otherwise have been unattainable. And why are the Republicans willing to run our country into the ground? Or inflict harm on the people? Because they really don't care about the country and they really don't care about the people!

Note that the Democrats eventually caved in to all Republican demands — because the Democrats do care. Remember that the next time you step into a voting booth.

In fact, the notion that it should be acceptable to inflict suffering on innocent individuals if only that it serves a higher political purpose has a name. It's the hallmark of an ideology called fascism.

Ironic, isn't it? The right-wing conservatives have long called President Obama a Nazi for no reason. Now, it turns out, their Republican representatives in Congress are actually the ones who act like fascists. And they have barely started. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Hans K. Buhrer

Visitors have an economic impact in Franklin County

To the editor:

Despite the nation's struggling economy, Franklin County, Pa.'s economic tourism impact exceeded $247 million in direct sales in 2009. Visitors come into the area to enjoy a rich variety of restaurants, shopping opportunities, transportation and many forms of entertainment. The money they spend during their time in the county is quite helpful.

But, how do tourists find out about Franklin County? The Franklin County Visitors Bureau (FCVB) is the lead agency that develops and implements strategies to build the programs that ultimately bring in more visitors. The bureau supports the communities and organizations that sponsor events, attracting outsiders into the friendly confines of Franklin County.

Two of those communities (Greencastle, Pa., and Chambersburg, Pa.) brought in a number of history enthusiasts, re-enactors and hundreds of others during their commemorations of "Civil War 150" in April. Many people don't realize how these small towns played a large role in United States history, but efforts are under way to fix that problem. The FCVB is committed to revitalizing and educating area residents by continuing to support events that help illustrate all that's happened here.

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