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VOTE FOR ME: I WRITE LETTERS
The Republican Party needs to rebuild if it expects to win in the future. When Republicans picked Alan Keyes to run, they threw in the towel [John K. Wilson, "Keyes to victory?" Aug. 12]. I can't believe they couldn't find someone in Illinois to run for the seat. I would have had a better chance of winning than Keyes. I believe I have more name recognition that Keyes. I have more than 40 years of writing letters to the editor. I'm sorry that I wasn't asked.
THEY REAP WHAT THEY SOW
Republicans can thank Kenneth Starr for the withdrawal of our U.S. Senate candidate in Illinois and for the subsequent implosion of the Illinois GOP during the search for a replacement.
The 2004 U.S. Senate race in Illinois has illustrated that the fallout from Starr's report isn't over. It is just beginning.
Appointed to investigate a real-estate deal in Arkansas, Starr [pursued] President Bill Clinton's extracurricular sexual activities. Those who permitted the publication of Starr's final report have set the stage for all future Republican candidates to be vulnerable to [charges of] hypocrisy. In Jack Ryan's case, marital fidelity within the bounds of the law was not sufficient.
I recognize that technically there was a sexual-harassment lawsuit against President Bill Clinton that made the explicit sexual detail relevant to Starr's report. That technicality was used to justify the embarrassment of a sitting president.
How could Republican leaders explain to voters in Illinois that Clinton's shenanigans were impeachable but Jack Ryan's were defensible? They inherently knew that they could not articulate the legal distinctions between the two. Their demand for Ryan to withdraw from the race is the equivalent to their finally admitting that sex and nothing else motivated the Clinton investigation. It was never about preserving the rule of law, as purported.
If preserving the rule of law was Starr's true motivation, Republican leaders would not have felt the pressures of hypocrisy bearing down on them after it was revealed that Ryan allegedly unsuccessfully attempted to have sex with his wife in a few legal clubs open for such business. The rule-of-law rhetoric was gone.
I am reluctant to call myself a Republican these days. My generation is inheriting a pending financial train wreck, and the U.S. is running up record debt. Religious zealots in the party are speaking for me and acting on my behalf.
Michael P. Shannon
SHOW ALL OF US THE MONEY
I had no idea that slave reparations was a tenet of the Republican Party at any level. As a fourth generation black Republican, I am really interested in the GOP aggressively pursuing this program.
I am just a little hesitant of becoming actively involved right now without more details. My concerns stem from the fact that my family, though predominantly black, has intermarried with so many other races that some may not be properly identified in order to receive any forthcoming benefits.
We are all proud Americans of African descent who, for at least seven or more generations, [have married] whites, including French Canadians and Germans, as well as Hispanics and American Indians. All of whom we certainly would want included in any type of compensation program.
Every generation and branch also has at least one member who served with distinction in every single war this country has fought and I strongly feel that reparations should at least include some kind of expanded veterans benefits for all the families.
Bring it on Mr. Keyes -- it's probably the only idea that makes sense for your candidacy in Illinois.
Carol A Jones
LET'S BE REASONABLE, FOLKS
I can't believe someone wrote "please follow your heart and search for the truth in this election year" in defense of the Bush push for reelection. And someone else wrote, "Some people want to forget about freeing 50 million people in Iraq." Also, I find it interesting that it's OK to "hate" President Bill Clinton (years after and during his time in office), but hating President George W. Bush is promoting just a wee bit too much hate in today's crazy, mixed-up world ["Letters," Aug. 12]!
Look, there's nothing wrong with being a staunch conservative Republican -- nothing at all. But some of us (other) God-fearing Americans "know" that the "truth" and the Bush administration [go together like] Mike Tyson and common sense. I may not agree with the directness of "Love America, Hate Bush" on a T-shirt, but I agree with their freedom of speech without government persecution (which is what those arrests were) [Jim Hightower, "Is this America?" Aug. 5]!
I know it's a hotly contested election year, but please, while we're counting the carbs, how about a little less bull?
ENFORCE THE DESEG ORDER
Over the years, the NAACP, black parents, and voters have attempted to force District 186 to live up to the desegregation order, to no avail. To acknowledge anything less would be dishonest.
In 1999, 76 African-American citizens of Springfield signed a petition that was filed with the Illinois State Board of Education. This petition asked for a hearing. The board immediately contacted the federal court and never moved beyond reporting on its contacts. The petition should have been moved to the Illinois attorney general's office for action.
Blacks in Springfield have spoken out against discrimination in District 186 repeatedly, but we have been out-politicked in each instance.
I have read and listened to Springfield citizens run down and denigrate African-American children repeatedly. African-American children's behavior is no worse or better than white children's behavior. There are African-American children who are excelling -- as there are white children who are excelling. There are African-American children who are failing -- as there are white children who are failing. There are African-American children who are rebelling -- as there are white children who are rebelling. The difference is that black children are also faced with racism. They can never escape the impact of racism.
We must recognize that Springfield's children are all our children, regardless of their race, and we must seek to give them all the best possible education.
Margaret J. Collins
NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN CHARGED
Recently I have become aware of a letter to the editor by Becky Sanders [May 20] in response to a commentary by David Brothers of the University of Tampa ["Answers needed in the Julie Rea-Harper case," May 13].
I disagree with Ms. Sanders' statements regarding Julie Rea-Harper. Having observed the murder case of Joel Kirkpatrick unfold, it is clear [to me] that Rea-Harper did not commit this crime. She, like her son, is a victim -- only she has survived. Her behavior in court, which Ms. Sanders references, proves her injury by the intruder.
Mr. Brothers made a direct point-to-fact statement in his May 13 commentary that proper evidence and samples from the crime scene had not been obtained. At one time, within the past year or so, the prosecution claimed that DNA testing was not available before or at the time of Rea-Harper's indictment in October 2000, during her trial (winter of 2002), or sentencing hearing (May 2002). The public should also be aware that state appellate prosecutor David Rands claimed, during the postconviction hearing, that "massive testing" had been performed.
Mitochondrial-DNA testing has been available in the United States since at least 1996, several months before Joel's murder and more than two years before Rea-Harper's indictment. Nuclear-DNA testing has been accessible for many years before, although the results may sometimes be less conclusive.
No one in Lawrence County, the state of Illinois, the United States, or the world will learn the truth regarding Joel's death until the proper specimens are taken and sent for proper DNA evaluations -- and even today this has yet to be done.
Julie Rea-Harper should have never been indicted or convicted for her son's murder. She did not commit this horrendous act. Lawrence County may be shocked, however, when it learns who truly killed Joel.
Dr. June M. Caruso