Letters to the Editor: Sept. 10

September 10, 2012

The divide between minorities and GOP grows wider

To the editor:

I attended all-white schools as a kid. My college, the basketball powerhouse, University of Kentucky, squandered several championship opportunities before black players were welcomed to the team. Plenty of racism existed in my boyhood Kentucky. Ten years of medical practice in Alabama layered on a few more lessons. I became aware of the raw, painful unfairness of racism during the Civil Rights Movement and can recognize racial prejudice in most of its various disguises. Racism contaminates the national DNA like a virus.

I keep expecting to see a “post-racist” America, but I am becoming discouraged. The Obama presidency has inflamed that “virus” into a contagious form of rabies engulfing much of a political party. Sanitized rhetoric has not drowned-out dog whistles rising from carefully crafted speeches ringing faded echoes of Dixie.

Voter suppression, anti-immigrant campaigns, Birtherism, implying the president may be an alien, even legislative obstruction to White House initiatives are historic tactics used to delay minority civil rights.

Right-to-work policies were also incubated in a racial environment. Fabrications mocking the president made the Republican convention sound like a zombie chorus. I detect an institutionalized, racial-tinged slander embedded in fact-free comments. Mr. Obama may eschew pushing back against personal racist attacks, but he would not deny minority vote suppression exclusively by Republican statehouses is unconstitutional.

Republican campaign rhetoric deliberately stokes resentment of economic pain suffered by every American since ’08 — just to peel away a few white voters. They would have the voter angry that “other” or “less deserving” folks are soaking up some larger share of entitlements. (Not true! White poor families deservedly receive the majority of Medicaid and supplemental nutrition funds.)

A recent poll reported 0 percent of black voters would vote for Romney. Zero percent! Of course, African-Americans recognize racism far better than I. They understand this cruel game, whereas I merely have a spectator’s grasp. That statistic identifies the residue of prejudice.

In my humble estimate, minorities simply want a well-paying job and an equal chance for middle-class status, like any other citizen. Sure, there’s competition, but if fairness shapes the process, they will not complain. Look into your own heart before you vote. Reject racism.

M. Douglas Becker

Evolution opponent proves opposite point

To the editor:

Talk about muddying the waters ...

In his latest letter — while dismissing the theory of evolution — Mr. Yumlu actually posted arguments that support it.

Evolution is driven by two essential processes: Mutation and natural selection. Mutation is what causes the “species-diverse genome” Mr. Yumlu quotes. Without mutation, everybody’s genes would be exactly identical, identical to that of our parents, and ultimately identical to that of the biblical Adam.

In reality, cell division introduces small errors in our genome — the mutations Darwin theorized about. Our species-diverse genome is thus evidence for evolution.

Similarly, the “adaptation process which gives the species ability to survive” that Yumlu quotes, is exactly what biologists call natural selection. Because it is the “species” that adapts, not individual members of that species. Individual members either survive (if they have the ability to survive encoded in their genes already) or die (if they don’t).

And the ones who survive then pass on that ability to their offspring. The fact that strains of microorganisms become immune to antibiotics is thus evidence for evolution — just like Darwin theorized.

By contrast, the 30 percent increase of red blood cells in people who live in Denver is merely a metabolic change. Residents of Denver don’t pass on that change to their children. Therefore, the whole point on red blood cells is irrelevant as far as the theory of evolution goes.

Hans K. Buhrer

Writers not given chance to rebut biased columns

To the editor:

On Sunday, July 29, in the wake of the Colorado shooting tragedy, Tim Rowland wrote an 855-word diatribe titled “NRA should help find a way to curtail gun violence,” in which he denounced the NRA as maintaining “irrational positions,” peddling “nonsense” and having positions that are “not defensible.”

As a proud member of the NRA for decades, I wondered exactly what had Rowland so upset, so I wrote him and politely asked him to state for the record exactly what laws the NRA resisted that he felt are “indefensible” and how he thought those laws would have prevented events such as the Colorado tragedy.

Rowland’s response to my inquiry was, in total, this: “Steve, go ahead and write what you want to write, but I have no interest in an unending back and forth with you or anyone else on any topic. I’ve never done this in the past and am not going to start now. Feel free to jump to any conclusions you want to regarding that policy.”

Rowland is always quick to point out and ridicule politicians and others who, in his view, perpetuate lies, dodge debate, exhibit “boorish” behavior, or “…pull the strings behind the scenes and then slink back off into the shadows when things get hot.” I say, better grab a mirror, Tim, and take a good look.

Rowland and his ilk get a virtually unlimited bully pulpit from which to spout their opinions, but the public who would like to correct what we feel are inaccuracies are much more limited in space and opportunity to write rebuttals. That’s too bad, because I think many of us “amateurs” could do a better job, particularly in areas where we are passionate. Maybe The Herald-Mail would consider a point-counterpoint type feature where both sides are on a level playing field?

Steve Bell

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