March 29, 2013

Letters to the editor: Backing gun controls takes backbone


Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper's support for requiring background checks on all gun sales and banning clips with more than 15 rounds seems merely sensible, but required political courage ("Colorado governor signs gun-control bills," March 21).

In light of the slaughter Colorado has witnessed, it seems a prudent set of requirements, but supporting this legislation may cost the governor his job. Along political lines, it was either hailed as a positive step or reviled as a "slap in the face" to Coloradans.

Looking back a few years, more notable slaps in the face would be:

After bailing out banks and automakers, the taxpayer is the focus of "entitlement" budget cuts.

Being continuously manipulated by my political representatives via manufactured crises.

Voter suppression schemes.

The priorities we feature on the national stage are inverted. A majority of Americans (including gun owners, police chiefs and mayors) support background checks and limits on clips. Special-interest groups that prefer the scorched-earth policy have hijacked the broader dialogue we should be having.

The fear virtually all politicians have of such groups highlights the backbone of the governor of Colorado. He may remain in politics or transition into another career.

Unfortunately, the citizens of this country can't escape sour politics, which is the true "slap in the face."

Joe Delaney

Portland

Welcoming immigrants to U.S. has biblical basis

This week, Jews around the world observe Passover. Jews are taught that we must retell the story of our people's time in Egypt and to consider its implications as if we experienced it personally.

This year, our country is poised to take action on long-overdue immigration reform, and I believe that the Passover story is highly relevant.

In biblical times Jacob's family journeyed to Egypt to escape a famine that affected the entire region. Egypt had stockpiled grain under Joseph's direction, and was faring better than its neighbors.

After a few generations, Egypt's rulers forgot the circumstances under which the Jews arrived and began to fear them because they were perceived as being "others." The Egyptians inflicted cruel policies on them, including the unfair exploitation of their labor.

This experience is the foundation of the Jewish belief in welcoming strangers and the poor.

Morally, Americans should extend this teaching to those who come to the U.S. in search of a better future. But there are other reasons to broaden the pathway to citizenship.

Immigrants, whether voluntary or enslaved, have always been a source of economic and cultural vitality in our country. Today, the United States faces several problems that are a result of an aging population, and increasing opportunities for citizenship can help to solve them.

Increased legal immigration would be a boost to our economy. It would mean more consumers, taxpayers and young workers contributing to Social Security and Medicare to support those who are retiring.

Remember that Joseph, the foreigner, helped save the Egyptians themselves from the ravages of famine. We must not let fear blind us to the fact that our own future is dependent on the "strangers in our midst."

John Costin

Kennebunk

Easter's message full of hope that should be shared

"He is not here; for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay." -- Matthew 28:6

Within the church world, Easter stands as one of the three most important celebrations (the other two are Christmas and Pentecost). Many denominations prepare for the Easter celebration with the 40 days of fasting known as Lent.

But let's personalize this for each of us. What does Easter mean to me?

The miracle of Easter is the conquering of sin, death and hell as the empty tomb testifies to their defeat. Then Christ came forth triumphant for himself, and for us who trust him.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ was the gladdest and greatest event that has ever taken place in the spiritual kingdom. Satan was defeated.

The death, burial and resurrection of Christ are the foundation and the central fact of the whole Christian faith, as well as the most significant and incontestable fact of history.

The good news is to be communicated. The angels at the tomb told the women to go quickly and tell the others what had happened.

Moments later, Jesus told them to simply go and tell the disciples. It is still Jesus' command to us, his disciples today, to tell the good news.

Be not the communicator of hopelessness; rather, be the communicator of life -- abundant life, resurrection life, eternal life. Let's rejoice in a risen savior and be blessed with the true meaning of Easter.

God bless,

Clement A. Fleurent

Biddeford

Sen. King's budget vote seems to belie earlier view

Apparently U.S. Sen. Angus King has a different view on the issue of raising taxes from that held by gubernatorial candidate Angus King.

Recently, Sen. King voted for a budget put forward by Senate Democrats that is purported to raise more than $1 trillion in new tax revenues over its life span ("King joins Democrats to pass federal budget," March 23).

In his 1994 book "Angus King, Independent for Governor," on page 54, King speaks to how he would resolve a budget gap.

He says there are only three options: "raise taxes, find some one-time revenue sources or cut spending."

You won't be surprised if I tell you that, for me, the first two are out.

Gary Reed

Falmouth

Let's cut spending by grounding politicians

Something is awfully wrong with our government in America when we give millions of dollars to foreign countries when soup kitchens and Americans out of work are struggling.

They say they want to stop spending in Washington, and the best way is to start at the top. Every time the president flies in Air Force One around the world and country, it costs the taxpayers millions, and when he visits cities in this country, it costs these cities thousands in security.

I suggest the politicians stay in Washington and do the job they were elected to do.

Donald Googins

Scarborough

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