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.

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