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Views in brief

February 16, 2007 | Page 12

VIEWS BELOW:
Undermining our democracy
No, Mr. President
Criticism of Islam

Undermining our democracy

REGARDING A February 1, 2007, Associated Press story concerning Venezuela, I wish the lack of substantial information surprised me. However, the grim reality is our corporate media is no more than a propaganda machine for the White House.

Most disturbing in the story are the last two paragraphs--specifically, George Bush's quote, "I am concerned about the undermining of the democratic institutions and we're working to help prevent that from happening."

If only Bush had the same concern over the undermining of democracy in the United States. Let us take a moment to consider the following events: signing an act that undermines the basic civil liberties of every citizen in our nation (the USA PATRIOT Act); spying on private citizens and opening first-class mail; altering nearly every bill signed into law to suit alternative agendas using signing statements.

Similarly, using manufactured intelligence to wage war on Iraq and censoring government scientists and their findings about global warming severely damages our global reputation. Furthermore, let us not forget the questionable election results of 2000 in Florida and the recent indictments of election workers in Ohio concerning the 2004 election.

Most recently, take into account the directive giving the executive branch greater control over rules and policy statements that the government develops to protect public health safety, the environment, civil rights and privacy.

Whose democracy is really in peril? The fact that the U.S. conducts business with dictatorships like Saudi Arabia and China with human rights records that would make leaders of the former Soviet Union candidates for sainthood further begs the question as to why the White House is so preoccupied with this little South American country. Could it have any thing to do with the corporate takeover of the White House?

While the U.S. government is framing Venezuela as the next country that requires rescue from "anti-democratic forces," somebody should remind the president that the U.S. Constitution begins with "We, the people," not "We, the corporations."
Chris Armitage, Endicott, N.Y.

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No, Mr. President

No, Mr. President, you may not have our children.
You may not have our children to fight in your wars.
We are the ones who brought them into this world
And we are not willing to let you take them away.

No, Mr. President, you may not take our children;
After we've taught them to respect all that lives.
You may not take our children and teach them to hate others.
You may not take their values and throw them away.

No. Mr. President, you may not have our children to teach them
To kill and to torture and maim another mom's child who
Doesn't know either why he must die before he has learned
To understand life, or to know why he lived.

No, Mr. President, you may not take our children to some distant land to be
Offered up to the gods of power and greed and lust, on your altar of hate.
Their lives are too precious to be thrown away, and their souls we will not risk.
No, Mr. President, you may not kill our children before they have had time to live.
Vera Zlatkin, Cincinnati

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Criticism of Islam

I AGREE with fighting against racism, be it aimed at Muslims, Jews, Christians or those of no faith. But where do we draw the line between free criticism of religious beliefs and racism?

Does Socialist Worker believe all religion to be sacrosanct and beyond reproach? If someone of any religion, be it Islam, Christianity or another, says something that you disagree with, should you be entitled to peacefully and without insult express your disagreement? Or should you stay silent and regard even uttering such disagreement as a racist slant on their faith?

Demonizing entire communities or an entire faith is wrong. But no religion is perfect, and there are extremists in all religions. In my view, a Muslim who preaches hatred toward homosexuals is not better or worse than a Christian who preaches the same.

Socialists should continue to fight racism and bigotry, but they should never demand that the law protects people's beliefs and views from respectful non-racist criticism and disagreement.
Dan Factor, London

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