Black students are escorted onto the campus of Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., by an Arkansas National Guard officer Oct. 15, 1957. To desegregate the school, President Eisenhower, a Republican, sent Army troops there and put the Guard under federal command.
Kathryn Leffler's recent letter, "Webster's remarks insult both town, party officials" (Nov. 26), was written to show that Charlie Webster and the Republican Party are racist.
Clearly, her last sentence -- "Should his remarks incite a revival of the Ku Klux Klan in Maine, he should be charged with a hate crime" -- proves the opposite.
The Democratic Party holds the honor bestowed to bigotry, hatred and racism. The Ku Klux Klan was a part of the Democratic Party. The Republican Party ended slavery. Most blacks were Republican.
Democrats gave us Jim Crow laws. Republicans introduced civil rights legislation time and again; Democrats opposed it.
Democrats opposed passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments, which gave equality to black Americans. The Reconstruction Act, the Civil Rights Acts of 1866, 1875, 1957 and 1960 and the Enforcement Act of 1870 also were opposed by Democrats.
Republican President Dwight Eisenhower created the Civil Rights Commission. He sent federal troops into the South to desegregate the schools. Republicans created the Historically Black Colleges and University Program and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Martin Luther King organized the March on Washington with a black Republican, A. Philip Randolph.
Democratic President Woodrow Wilson's Cabinet segregated government offices. Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed KKK member Hugo Black to the Supreme Court. Roosevelt opposed federal lynching laws.
Lester Maddox, George Wallace and Orval Faubus, all Democratic governors, were fervent racists. Democratic Attorney General Robert Kennedy had Dr. Martin Luther King wiretapped, much like we do today to suspected terrorists and criminals.
The Democratic Party keeps black Americans and all minority groups in poverty with "entitlement" programs and policies preventing advancement. The Republican Party strives to provide opportunity and upward mobility to all Americans.
Leffler and others like her ought to read more history than talking points from their ignorant Democratic Party puppet masters.
Jones F. Gallagher
Reality-based plan needed to cut debt, balance budget
With sincere, civil bipartisan discussions between Congress and the executive branch of this great country, there are several ways to reduce the national debt and improve the hopes for a balanced budget. It's time to bite the bullet and get back to reality.
Here are a few good starting places:
1. Reduce all foreign aid by at least 50 percent.
2. Close, within six months, at least 50 percent of the U.S. military bases in foreign countries.
3. Eliminate all tax exemptions on inheritances. Tax inherited money at the rate provided for income from salaries. (It really is "income," you know.)
4. Return income tax levels to those in effect before the Bush tax cuts.
5. Set the salaries of all members of the House and Senate at the General Services level for Grade 18. Put them under the same retirement plan as the rest of the federal employees.
Drastically reduce the expense accounts for the members of Congress and their staffs. Limit the salaried staff of senators to 20. Limit the salaried staff of representatives to 15. Set the salary levels for congressional staff at General Service levels to GS-9 through GS-14.
6. Require the president to appoint a select committee of people from prominent members of the corporate world and academic world to develop a tax code that eliminates loopholes and places to hide funds and properly defines the word "income" to include dividends, inheritances, etc.
This is not a full solution! It is a reasonable start.
Charles S. Copp
Nothing to lose by acting as if warming a real threat
In a letter to the editor ("Proactive view of climate change needed," Nov. 12), Lee Chisholm of Freeport asks, "Should we not now be demanding a clarion call from our political leaders ... to come together and act so as to steer clear of a future full of further droughts, fires, floods and Hurricane Sandys? At the very least, should we not be talking?"
I am reminded again and again of something called the precautionary principle in practice in Canada and Europe. The general idea is that you take prudent remedial action even if you are not 100 percent certain about a threat or hazard.
Following this line of reasoning, whether you accept the reality of climate change or not, what do we have to lose in reducing greenhouse gas emissions now in order to alleviate future deleterious impacts to humans, other life forms and the planet?
Gay marriage win brings songs of hope, joy to mind
As I was reflecting on the passage of the gay marriage law, two songs came into my heart honoring the occasion.
The first, "We Shall Overcome," sings of work done and goal accomplished, and sings of incredibly joyful feelings of gained potential and a supportive society.
A majority of Maine voters stated it is wrong to put a group of innocent citizens into a "lesser" category, not worth the benefits everyone else enjoyed. What happened to "all men are created equal," "love thy neighbor," "do unto others ..." and so forth?
The second song, "Amazing Grace," sings of hope, to carry us through the hard times, to a worthwhile goal.
How many gay folks woke up amazed the morning after the election? "It happened! The people of Maine supported us. We can get married." I bet more than a few.
So, thanks to all the kind people who made it happen, and to my gay friends -- mazel tov! Welcome to marriage.