Reader Mail

The Unforgiven

No kind words for John McCain. Also: Vietnam right-left. Gay selection. New Orleans on the level. Plus more.

8.31.07

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COUNTED OUT
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s John McCain Battles On:

Oh, dear. Another dreary article from the Spectator telling us about the wonderful John McCain. Let me list a few of his negatives from where I sit: He is dreadfully wrong on the First Amendment (campaign finance reform); he was dreadfully unkind to Christian Conservatives when it suited him -- now he loves us; he is more than eager to invoke class envy ("tax cuts for the rich"); he has ethical lapses (Frank Keating and the Keating Five); and on more than one occasion did his best to sink our current President over the last six and a half years. Does anyone remember his toying with the idea of running as John Kerry's VP?

Tell me again why he will be a great president? I think we have many good Republican candidates who are not burdened with John's baggage. PLUS, he is too old! I remember too many lapses on his part. He frequently forgets the Eleventh Commandment and at the same time loves Ted Kennedy of whom I have never heard John say an unkind word.

Mr. Tyrrell, did you forget all this?
-- Judy Beumler
Phoenix, Arizona

And one more thing! With John McCain as President, we will welcome another 20 million illegal aliens. He is wrong, wrong, wrong on immigration. He doesn't want to close the borders plus, in spite of what he says, he wants to give amnesty to all 20,000,000 illegals. Do we really want a John McCain presidency???
-- Judy Beumler
Phoenix, Arizona

"...when it comes to the salutary economic benefits of tax cuts he needs constant reminders. But otherwise he is a solid conservative."

Really -- a solid conservative? I'll have what Emmett's having, thank you very much. Or maybe not.

Does a solid conservative vote against the very tax cuts that have proven beneficial to all taxpayers and the economy as a whole? Does a solid conservative repress First Amendment guarantees? Does a solid conservative, while talking about "supporting the troops" out of one side of the mouth, prevent proven intelligence techniques on the battlefield during wartime resulting in lives saved? Does a solid conservative play to the liberal drive-by media for an extended period, at the expense of peers and party during serious policy discussions, simply to burnish centrist credentials? Are these the things that mark a solid conservative?

A Maverick? Yes. A solid conservative, or even just a plain ol' conservative? Don't bet your life on it; and after 2008, your life is the most precious thing you'll own.
-- Owen H. Carneal, Jr.
Yorktown, Virginia

The big thing against any Presidency by McCain, and Hillary, and Obama is that they are Senators. Only two Senators were elected directly from the Senate to the Presidency in the 20th Century--Harding and Kennedy. From Harding we got Tea Pot Dome. From Kennedy we got the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the US assassination of allied political leaders. I expect McCain, Hillary, and Obama, or any other sitting Senator would provide no more and no less in their presidential achievements.
-- John Gridley

McCain should get lost. He's gone out of his way to dump all over conservatives with his campaign finance, amnesty, and global warming bills. Add to that his age, prickly disposition, and poor political instincts and you have a candidate that only leftist presstitutes could support.
-- Pat Callum

Mr. Tyrrell's appreciation of Sen. McCain's good qualities are apparent. But there are many of us with military connections who cannot forget, nor forgive, what he and Sen. John Kerry did to the families of Vietnam POWs.
That one act bars him from consideration.
-- Mary McLemore
Pike Road, Alabama

OH great, just what we need is ANOTHER open border, amnesty President. I think not. His stand on ILLEGAL immigration is what has sunk his boat.
-- Elaine Kyle

RIGHT STUFF
Re: Mark Moyar's Getting Vietnam Right:
Moyer got that right!
-- LTC Fred Mayer, US Army, Infantry retired
(1966-67 B company commander 1/12, 1st Cav div)

A few observations about "Getting Vietnam Right."

1. If generals are always preparing for and fighting the last war, so are ideologues on both side of the debate.

2. History is always written from a perspective. Beware of revisionism from either side. Whether we learn from history or not is debatable. However, it is important to read history, a lot of it from all perspectives, so you don't get hoodwinked by ideologues who are intent to giving you their version of history to advance their ends.

3. Before President Bush recently embraced analogies between Vietnam and Iraq, he rejected any attempt to draw analogies.

Whatever the merits of the arguments comparing Vietnam and Iraq, one cannot argue with the fact that there are substantial differences between the two wars.
-- Mike Roush
North Carolina

SEXUAL CHOICE
Re: Jay D. Homnick's Gays in the Militancy:

I just wanted to respond to the article. I totally see your point about the contradictions of the Gay movement, how they want special privileges and want to change their story about what the situation is at will and whichever argument suits their political agenda at the moment.

I do believe that genetics may have something to do with it and I also believe that a choice may have something to do with it.

I remember on my first day of first grade there was another boy who was different, he only played with girls and loved drawing Smurfs. Looking back, all through elementary school he pretty much acted gay. My point being that some people really do seem to start out that way. In later life we all found out that he had gone down this path, much to no one's surprise.

However, as I see the way MTV portrays anyone who does not buy their crap about homosexuality as a Nazi, I also believe that some lonely teenagers or others are persuaded that they should give it a try. Thus it can be a choice.

I will however say this much: it seems that almost every gay person I have ever met, or seen interviewed on TV has some story of being sexually abused at a young age. I'm not saying this is universal; it just seems to be a very common theme. If that doesn't have the power to confuse a young mind about its sexuality then what does?
-- Rob

Jay, when was homosexuality defined as a mixed-up kid who is shy about communicating across gender lines? Sounds like a line from a bad New Bohemians song, where religion is a smile on a dog.

Granted, parents have an obligation to counsel, but at what age does the kid become a rugged individual with responsibility and accountability? I thought only Democrats arrogantly pushed their beliefs on others. I truly don't believe that you or I made a "choice" about our sexuality and, as reasonable people, I don't believe you or I want to change each other (unless you're hot -- just kidding).

As a gay conservative, however, I do agree with your position against the "diversity" notions. School segregation was a Democrat dinosaur from 50 years ago, and I can't believe they're trying it again with the gay population. While I understand the roots of the "diversity" issues and how it relates to the "melting pot" metaphor, the mistake is that they fail to realize that the melting pot refers to American society as a whole, not focusing on the individual ingredients. Sure, gay people add a little spice to the mix, but (pardon the analogy) I'm not going out to buy a 5-pound tub of allspice at Sam's Club and plant myself in front of the TV. Theodore Roosevelt said it best in his words on hyphenated Americans.

Sexuality is such a small part of who we are. But if you're going to discuss it, please don't cop-out at the end with a glib disclaimer about not taking sides. Moderates are defined as people who can't state their core beliefs, as Rush says (unless I'm misquoting him). Obviously you're overwhelmed with confusing and conflicting statements coming from different sides. You may want to check out your local Log Cabin chapter if you want to objectively discuss homosexuality in the "arena of ideas" (as Rush also says), without the political baggage from the left.
-- unsigned

Jay D. Homnick replies:
I personally know people who spent some years thinking they "were gay" before they pulled out of it. As a teenager, I had a friend who struggled with this impulse, and has been successfully married with children for going on thirty years, waging a fierce internal battle at every step, with the help of two psychologists and a very understanding wife. A girl I know was lured into a Lesbian relationship in a psychologically vulnerable moment and stayed in it all through college. Today she is married with children.

Tom Bethell chronicled in these pages some years ago the story of a young man who was Roy Cohn's boyfriend for many years and later worked his way out of that behavior into happy married life.

A former student of mine has a psychology practice in Israel consisting almost entirely of men trying to deal with what he calls SSAs (Same-Sex Attractions). In some cases, the wives share in the therapeutic process. He reports a great deal of success.

Can people be lured into it? Obviously yes, although the militant gays claim they believe the answer is no. We all know some people fall into it in prisons, armies, when there is no other available option. Bottom line, we have to stop kowtowing to this pretend reality that an aggressive political movement has forced upon a culture.

ABORTED AMNESTY
Re: Doug Bandow's Amnesty International Adieu:

Amnesty International's insistence that it is taking "no position on whether abortion is right or wrong, nor on whether or not abortion should be legal" is downright disingenuous. Their stance is no different from the one taken by equivocating politicians who claim that while they personally oppose abortion they do not want to impinge upon the right of a woman to have one. AI has unmistakably picked which side it is on in this debate but still wants us to buy its bogus claim of neutrality. But, that dog won't hunt because the duplicity here is too transparent. Once AI surrendered its allegiance to protecting the rights of the defenseless by subordinating them to a woman and her doctor, they issued an unambiguous statement as to their position concerning the rightness or wrongness of abortion.

Obviously, the hypocrisy in their new policy was not lost upon officials at AI. Their vapid attempts to hush announcements of this new directive along with subsequent efforts to downplay them once the word got out, demonstrates they were well aware that they were talking out of both sides of their mouth. Amnesty International deserves to take a huge hit in the credibility department for this betrayal of basic human rights. Why should anyone trust them to use our money to defend other victims of inhumane treatment when it seems they so willingly sacrificed the most innocent among us to the god of this age? What was the motivation for this sellout, the promise of a few shekels of silver or a new commitment to worship at the altar of moral relativism?
-- Rick Arand
Lee's Summit, Missouri

Mr. Bandow miscasts the issue -- it's about the resolution of conflicting rights. He has the right to decide that all rights reside with the fetus, but he is wrong when he refuses recognize that the woman also has rights. In many cases the human rights issue is the right of the woman to live, that is, when the pregnancy is going to kill her. Mr. Bandow avoids that issue.

I have a daughter and a daughter-in-law who have brought me seven grandchildren, and a wife who has brought three children into the world, and so I'm very well acquainted with the process. And I know there is no way I could be forced into undergoing something like that against my will. Mr. Bandow puts reproductive rights in quotations as if to say that it is an imaginary right. But the right not to be forced to undergo a pregnancy is a real right, a right not to have one's body radically altered for nine months, a right not to risk serious injury or death. The mortality rate in the U.S. is 10 per 100,000 live births (early in the 20th century it was 1,000 per 100,000 live births). Those are serious odds, and they don't even begin to measure the general risks to her health that pregnancy brings. The right of a woman not to be forced to take these risks to her life and health is a serious right.

Personally I find a moral system to be defective that denigrates the rights of a living, breathing woman to her life and her health over that of a blastocyst. Mr. Bandow, and the readers of The American Spectator, have the right to their own moral systems, but they should never, ever assume that those who believe that a woman's reproductive rights, Amnesty International for example, are not real, serious rights derived from a well thought out moral system that takes the living, breathing woman into account.
-- Ron Schoenberg
Seattle, Washington

ABOVE SEA LEVEL
Re: Reader Mail's The Battle of New Orleans and Quin Hillyer's Memories of a City:

There is a moral tale in the situation in New Orleans, amply demonstrated in your letters section. Residents of New Orleans thought it was cute and funny to tell the tall tale that the city was located well below sea level, laughing up our sleeves the whole time. Not true, of course. The vast majority of the inhabited city is above sea level. Anyone who bothers to research the issue will quickly verify this fact. And think about it for a second, the storm surge from Katrina was 12 feet above sea level, yet how many houses did you see that were flooded above the middle of the first floor, i.e., 6 feet above the ground? Oops, too logical. Please don't let that interrupt your name-calling.

Just goes to show the price of not truthful, I guess. Even someone from Newport News is lecturing us about economics and viability. Why is it that the areas that get the most federal money (Virginia ranks second in federal spending per capita), complain the most about it going elsewhere?
-- Tim McCaffrey
Slidell, Louisiana

FAITH'S DEMANDS
Re: Lisa Fabrizio's Dark Night, Blessed Morning:

One of the old contempts secular folk repeat on and on is that believers take refuge in religion to make life easier and so they can "sleep easier at night." The truth is that faith often makes life more difficult. It is the secularists who sidestep many of the things which trouble our sleep. We often do what we don't want to do. Others see cruelty when we give acts of love. On top of all these, there is doubt.

When it comes to Mother Teresa, anyone who has lived the faith hears more than what the major media intended to say. They are surprised to find out that we follow even when we have lost sight Him. They are even more mystified when the believer latter says that he did not follow -- that he was carried. Most of all, we are human beings -- not angels. We can only do some of the time what angels can do all the time. We know all too well Pascal's thought number 543:

"The metaphysical proofs of God are so remote from the reasoning of men, and so complicated, that they make little impression; and if they should be of service to some, it would be only during the moment that they see such demonstration; but an hour afterwards they fear they have been mistaken."

Even when we fear we have been mistaken and suffer doubt, we hang on to the cross for dear life and put our frail trust in Him who suffered all our doubts.
-- Michael Dooley
Indianapolis, Indiana

RACE PRIMITIVES
Re: Ty Knoy's letter (under "Doesn't Calculate") in Reader Mail's The Battle of New Orleans:

Ty Knoy takes me to task for leaving out the Nazis in tallying up the victims of secular materialism. He says they were left wing, therefore their victims should count. I'm fully aware of the socialist element of National Socialism, and I considered adding another 9-10 million people to the count. But in the end, though the Nazis may have been left wing, I wasn't fully sure they could be counted as "secular materialists" simply because underlying Nazi ideology was an essentially pagan mysticism of race which, though dressed up in fancy scientific duds, was never more than a primitive tribalism.
-- Stuart Koehl
Falls Church, Virginia

SACRIFICE, NOT SUICIDE
Re: Hal G.H. Colebatch's The Christian Resonances of Modern Epic:

The subject was edited from the Aug. 23rd Spectator into the Culture, et cetera page A2 of Aug. 28 Washington Times. An excerpt of an excerpt:

"In each case a crucial reason for the enemy's defeat is the hero's willingness to sacrifice his own life....''

John 15:13 (KJV) states, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.''

This is precisely what the Shinto-Buddhist kamikaze pilot did in WWII and the Islamic suicide bomber of today does. Neither are Christian. I hope the author is not suggesting that the practitioner of the "only one true religion'' defines sacrifice.
-- Sander Fredman
Leesburg, Virginia

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