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STRANGER THAN FICTION
After reading about Alan Keyes in John Wilson's article "Keyes to victory?" [Aug. 12], I have to ask one simple question: What in the H-E-double-hockey-sticks is the Republican Party thinking? I had a sense that Keyes was a little "out there," but the behavior that Wilson reports in this article has convinced me that this man is absofreakinglutely idiotic.
Compared with some of his other views, his flip-flop on a person representing a state that he or she does not live in is a minor issue. His incessant and obviously ludicrous claims of racism do a disservice to those who actually are victims of this hateful practice. Keyes has also bastardized the "right to life" stand on abortion by equating it to genocide, and his comparison between homosexuals and Hitler should offend everyone. Finally, yet most important, is his contention that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution -- you know the veryfirst amendment, the one that the framers thought important enough to make the first amendment -- is a basis of "a silly argument" and "entirely a lie."
Why would the GOP even claim this goofball as one of its own? What is even more baffling is that they would let him represent the party in the upcoming election. This action is likely to alienate even the staunchest of Republicans. They would have been better off to let Obama run unopposed than to suffer the immeasurable humiliation and possibly irreparable damage to the party that is sure to result from their association with this psycho.
To the boneheads who recruited Keyes I would like to say that there is soon to be one less Republican in Illinois. I do not intend to vote for Obama, but I do intend to vote. I will be writing in the name Jack Ryan. I would rather my vote be wasted on someone who isn't even running than to take a chance that it will help Keyes to have even a minuscule chance of becoming one of my representatives.
So, congratulations Mr. Obama -- you probably have this one in the bag.
CAN'T BE INFORMED IF YOU DON'T LISTEN
I would like to commend Brenda Ford ["Letters," Aug. 12] for encouraging the readers of this publication to search for the truth so they can make informed decisions this November. Ford's letter should serve as a wake-up call for citizens who do not think critically when they hear politicians and pundits speak, and especially for those who refuse to listen to anything that they might disagree with. Consider this statement: "When I see or hear a liberal on TV or radio anymore, I automatically turn it off -- they have nothing of value for me to listen to."
One might expect Ford to take issue with such a statement, considering that she took the time to write a letter stressing the importance of informed decision-making. Unfortunately, I doubt the statement would bother her because it was she who made the statement in that same Aug. 12 letter.
Technically speaking, a decision that is based exclusively on messages from conservatives (and possibly a few moderates) is an informed one. So is a decision based only on the messages from Fahrenheit 9/11. Information, however, is not always accurate, and when it is accurate, it may be incomplete. Ford is right that liberal messages sometimes consist of "spin, rhetoric, and half-truths." The same is often true of conservative messages. Many politicians will say anything to get elected, and those of us who listen to viewpoints from across the political spectrum know that liberals, conservatives, and moderates are all guilty of this.
A legitimate search for the political truth involves listening to liberal, conservative, and moderate messages and then critically evaluating the merits and shortcomings of each message. Ford's search is likely to be fruitless if she continues to refuse to listen to anything that liberals have to say.
THE STATE OF GRACE
It's true, Grace Smith's uncontrolled happiness over her new boyfriend is showing in her latest articles. I, for one, am glad that we now have one more happy person on the streets of Springfield. The newfound excitement of the boyfriend will wear off. I look forward to her future articles in Illinois Times. As an ultraconservative, I have been keeping up with the latest edition of the paper for a very long time. As they say, "Know thine enemy." But in the case of this paper, I find a great number of very well-thought-out opinions . . . and I love opinions, especially those that are born of honesty and honest concern. With the addition of Grace's column, I have also found the voice of a playful and happy friend. Illinois Times gets a well-deserved "attaboy" from this Republican reader.
GRACE UNDER FIRE
OK, we are all entitled to our opinions. We all don't have the same opinions, and that is great and that is America. I have noticed the previous two editions of Illinois Times have had letters to the editor that didn't favor Grace Smith's weekly column. These people do understand that they are not forced to read the article but maybe don't understand that some of us choose to, and enjoy it very much. I find "Grace about town" perfectly eases my mind out of the very important articles in IT, and sets me back to my laid-back pace of life. I don't need to be thinking all the time. I don't need to be deciding all the time. Sometimes, I like to just be entertained, and that is exactly what Grace does so well.
Janet D. Ford
IT WAS BETTER THAN BEING THERE
The coverage of the Democratic National Convention by your paper was insightful and fun to read [Gale Walden, "The big show," Aug. 5]. I especially liked the description of the cage for protesters and Obama's gift for relating to the American people. Thanks for the front-row seat.
FIX THE PROBLEM, MR. FIX
I hope it isn't too late to get on the bandwagon. I have intended to write this letter for years, but a recent article pushed me into action [Todd Spivak, "Transit fix," July 22].
I am a faithful rider of the Springfield Mass Transit District. I rode the bus when I was going to high school and have ridden it to work for 25 years. When I retired, in 2002, I rode the bus to Lincoln Land Community College for classes. I still ride the bus to the library uptown and various other places. It has always been convenient for me [except] I cannot ride the bus in the evenings or on Sundays. Recently when my vehicle was in the garage for repairs, I called a taxicab to take me to and from church, to the grocery store, and so on. But taxicabs do not always come when you request them, plus they are expensive and not an option on a regular basis.
Richard Fix says you can't compare Springfield to Peoria or Bloomington. I agree somewhat, [but] how can Quincy provide bus service on Sundays when it is much smaller than Springfield? We are the capital city of Illinois, not some tiny town with a few hundred people. Why can't Mr. Fix, along with Mayor Tim Davlin, research the topic and perhaps take a page out of Quincy's book and provide bus service in the evenings and limited hours on Sundays?
If it has been a problem for many years, Mr. Fix, isn't it time to fix the problem? I, for one, would like some answers -- better yet, some positive results!
Margaret J. Herr
I just wanted to thank you for the piece you did last year on Sinclair Broadcasting and The Point [Dusty Rhodes, "Less point," Oct. 16]. I recently did a guest opinion piece for my local paper critical of Sinclair generally and The Point specifically, and your story helped me in doing my research. By the way, I've recently started a Weblog devoted to responding in detail to The Point. It's at thecounterpoint.blogspot.com.
Adjunct professor of rhetoric
University of Iowa
I owa City