With all the lofty rhetoric coming from the newly revitalized Republican Party, I find myself having moments of optimism that finally the “conservatives” will live up to their names and be the principled, pragmatic idealists they claim to be. Then reality hits me like a December gale.

Lost in the the recent Republican celebrations was news of the corruption conviction of former House Majority Leader Tom Delay. Delay was the face of the GOP when it last controlled the House and helped turn that institution into a “pay to play” piggy bank for himself and his wealthy cronies, ignoring the American taxpayer.

(Here, of course, conservative apologists will invoke the name of Charles Rangel. Comparing the censure of Rangel to a former majority leader’s criminal money laundering conviction is like comparing a pickpocket to Al Capone.)

The incoming speaker of the House doesn’t inspire much confidence in me either. Let us hope that John Boehner’s seeming emotional fragility is just him using Jimmy Swaggartesque crocodile tears for political theater, because the alternative is even more unsettling.

If a grown man can be reduced to a sobbing wreck in a cordial interview, what will he do in a time of national crisis? Boehner’s less-than-stoic demeanor seems to be the polar opposite of what he should be presenting to a downtrodden American public, not to mention our always observant enemies and allies abroad.

I’m also not comforted by knowing that minds like Cal Thomas and M.D. Harmon represent the thinking behind the incoming majority. Thomas never runs out of scapegoats yet never seems to offer up any solutions while Harmon never misses a chance to fawn over reality star and half-term governor Sarah Palin.

We may need a true Christmas miracle by this time next year with people like this wielding power.

Jeremy Smith
Old Orchard Beach

 

Draft exclusion for women should be next rule to fall

 

I’m glad the U.S. Senate finally eliminated the grossly unjust policy of ousting known homosexuals and lesbians from the military.

However, President Obama’s initial statement read, “It is time to recognize that sacrifice, valor and integrity are no more defined by sexual orientation than they are by race or gender, religion or creed.”

He couldn’t have been more wrong on one point: That of “gender.” Many governments draft women for military service just as they do men. Requiring men to register for and be subjected to the draft while unnecessarily exempting women also is a great injustice.

Police departments currently have a relatively substantial percentage of women, as do many other types of agencies where danger is a real and present threat at all times.

The U.S. military already has a large number of volunteer women serving in situations that, at any moment, may cause them to be placed in the line of fire, be maimed or killed by explosive devices, or be the casualties of biological or nuclear weapons.

So there’s no reason to exempt women from the draft, other than the fact that we may have a majority of politically correct cowards in Washington who are afraid to lose votes.

Consider the fact that many armies, including the justifiably and aggressively defended state of Israel, have a long history of drafting women with no problems whatsoever. That, combined with the relatively problem-free service of many American women today, should mandate that the sexist and unjustifiable exemption of women from the draft be corrected as soon as possible.

It’s gender-based bias practiced on a much greater scale than “don’t ask don’t tell.”

Joe Bernatche
Portland

 

Big-spending incumbents should be voted out

 

Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud continue to vote for more and more spending.

The omnibus spending bill still before Congress is filled, or should I say exploding, with pork spending. Billions and billions are being spent on things the American people do not want and cannot afford.

But the most shameful part of the whole spending orgy Congress is engaged in is the fact that none of our representatives will have the time to read the bill’s 2,000-plus pages before they cast their vote.

Snowe, Collins, Pingree and Michaud voted on the stimulus and health care without having the time to read the bills. They are currently voting on spending over $1 trillion dollars without having time to read and contemplate this 2,000-page bill.

When will we rise up against this type of shameful representation? We are paying these people to vote in our best interests. How can they represent our best interest without reading the bill? Who are they representing anyway?

They are spending us, our children and future generations into bankruptcy. Does bankruptcy bother anyone? Can you picture America as a bankrupt country?

If we keep electing Snowe, Collins, Pingree, and Michaud to vote for this needless excessive spending, we will find out!

When someone intentionally does something (bankrupt us) that hurts my family, I begin to think they don’t care about me. Please do everything you can to vote all these people out of office.

We can start by encouraging the political parties to run primary candidates against the incumbents.

James Waterhouse
Saco

 

‘The Magic of Christmas’ truly lived up to its name

 

Sunday, Dec. 19, was truly magical as the people of Maine sang together with the joy of Christmas in their hearts and minds at Merrill Auditorium.

The rafters rang with the beautiful symphonic renditions of Christmas songs, led by our own Maestro Robert Moody, whose musical energy flowed throughout the auditorium. It was an astounding performance for my grandson’s first “Magic of Christmas”!

A million musical thank yous back to this wonderful group of performers for a truly lovely holiday tribute!

Elizabeth Bodner Cumiskey
Kennebunk