Our readers' opinions - 12/26/10

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Country stands up for civil rights of gays in military

America has been hard to find since 9/11. On Saturday afternoon in the Senate, however, as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was overturned, I caught a glimpse of her beautiful face which radiated with Justice For All.

I hope the roughly 1,000 gay and lesbian soldiers discharged under the current administration will be immediately able to get back into the military and resume their careers.

I feel immensely grateful to Sen. Joe Lieberman, Independent of Connecticut, and Sen. Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, for having had the good sense to pull the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" measure out of the Defense Spending Bill and introduce it as stand-alone legislation. Had they not done so, this discriminatory legislation would still be law.

Susan Collins' courage in breaking with party orthodoxy encouraged seven other Republican senators to follow her example. The repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is one of the greatest landmarks of civil rights in our nation's history.

These are difficult times for all of us; so much polarization, so much fighting. But we can continue to change history and create an America we can be more proud of. I find the strength to keep fighting by rereading Martin Luther King's last speech, given in Memphis on the night before he was murdered:

"... if I were standing at the beginning of time, ... and the Almighty said to me, ‘... which age would you like to live in?'" I would turn to the Almighty, and say, ‘If you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the twentieth century, I will be happy.'

"Now that's a strange statement to make, because the world is all messed up. The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars ...

"Another reason I'm happy to live in this period is that we have been forced to a point where we are going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history but the demands didn't force them to do it. Survival demands that we grapple with them. Men, for years now, have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it's nonviolence or nonexistence."

Patrick Henry

Walla Walla

Allowing gays in military will backfire

As a retired infantry officer, the removal of the don't ask don't tell policy came as no surprise. It reflects continued pressure to impose civilian lifestyles on the military.

It conveys privileges to a minority who cannot prove what they claim. This direction is supported by the ranking general officers because they are appointed by and work for the president.

There are no warrior generals in today's military who would criticize these policies or resign in protest because of their negative effect on military readiness.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice is in direct conflict with the homosexual lifestyle.

The next step in the DADT elimination will be to have the "significant" other be awarded the same benefits as a married couple. Scholarships to the military academies may now be awarded.

Surveys indicate an American approval rate for Congress of less than 20 percent. The removal of DADT is a prime example for this rating.

It is disturbing that those nayer-do-wells who do not have experience with the military and the combat arms find this so delightful.

Sen. McCain estimated that over 270,000 military would leave active duty because they did not agree. Gen. Mullin, the highest ranking military officer, stated as much in congressional testimony and the Army three-star general in charge of personnel told service members to like it or leave the military.

Just because some other country allows this policy does not also mean the United States should.

Incidentally, this adoption supports our Islamic enemies and affects combat readiness. For example, to get out of being deployed to a war zone in which there is an Islamic religion present, a soldier who declared they are homosexual may be declared non-deployable. Research the Islamic treatment of homosexuals.

The repeal of the DADT policy is a reflection of the judicial decisions that have established a policy of separation of church and state. These decisions have stopped the involvement of the church and the moral pressure their constituents and pastors would have brought on Congress.

Today, it would be illegal for Martin Luther King to have a civil rights movement, for it originated with the churches, pastors and families and was aimed at government.

This is a Christian country, but the churches are afraid to do anything that might violate this separation of church and state and fear the wrath of the federal government over God's wrath.

Craig Buchanan

Walla Walla

Museum does lots for community, needs support

My husband and I have been volunteers at Fort Walla Walla Museum for more than 15 years. We have served as Living History Company portrayers, school tour docents, cruise tour greeters and during special events.

Rod served as a board member, too, and enjoys working as a blacksmith in the museum's shop.

Volunteering is a good thing to do, giving back to the community that supports the museum.

Every year the museum receives visitors from all 50 states and this year, more than 35 countries. The museum has received more than 235,000 school children in its admission-free school tour program over the past decade, all of which proves the museum's value to the community.

As the primary keepers of the region's heritage, this sharing of our past with visitors leaves almost all of them full of marvelous comments about the museum, as well as the community.

The museum supports the community in many ways, including bringing tourist dollars into town, which get turned over many times. These are dollars that we don't have to pay in taxes that help pay for police and fire services, parks, and streets.

The museum helps us keep the values we share that make this community the wonderful place it is. In this season of giving, please remember to support the museum, too.

Lois Hahn

Walla Walla

Obama, socialists trying to take over country

When a frog is placed in a pan of cold water, the frog is comfortable and is happy. When the pan of cold water with the frog inside is placed on a stove unit and the heat turned on ever so low, the frog does not even notice what is happening. As the heat is turned up and the water begins to boil, the frog is cooked.

In America, we, the citizens, are just like that frog. Barack Obama is using presidential executive orders to secretly erase our borders and to secretly take away our rights.

Barack Obama, in this way, does not have to stand the scrutiny of Congress to censor what he is doing. Barack Obama is secretly becoming the dictator he wants to be of this country.

He is trying to bankrupt this country. Barack Obama is trying to ruin this country and cause it to be smashed under the weight of debt and his control through taking over every vestige of this country. Then when the country is smashed into fine dust, Barack Obama wants to raise the phoenix of socialism or communism to this country.

Are we as citizens of this great country going to just stand by and let this happen? Are we not going to do anything about Barack Obama taking complete control of this country? We need to be like our founding forefathers and have a takeback of our country.

Our senators in Washington, D.C., do not pay attention to us here in the state of Washington. We do have representation in the House of Representatives, however. We do have a vote, but sometimes it takes more action than just that vote.

We need to take this country back from the socialists and communists who want to destroy this country.

We better begin now or we will lose our freedoms and democracy forever. We will never be able to get it back. Let's start now!

Sharon Benzel

Walla Walla

Museum is treasure, but it needs support

When we moved from Southern California 16 years ago I did not know of the many treasures the Walla Walla Valley contained, such as the Walla Walla Symphony, YMCA/YWCA, the Whitman Mission, the numerous houses of worship, educational institutions etc. Certainly one of the greatest of these treasures is the Fort Walla Walla Museum.

I am continuously surprised and impressed that we have such a great regional museum in our somewhat rural area and of the rich heritage that is being preserved here for the coming generations.

We often take visitors from other states and foreign countries to visit the museum and enjoy watching our visitors' interest and intrigue with the many artifacts and descriptions of pioneer life in this Valley.

As the museum appeals to all of us for support during its Annual Fund Drive I hope many of you will join my wife and me in supporting this exceptional community treasure.

Thor Bakland

College Place

Recession actually helps breath life into families

Economically, the "United" States have become "disunited." States have reacted to the recession in different ways.

Ultimately, the slide down of an inflated mountain puts us into a swamp of recovery. Family life is moving back into place. The family's king and queen are back on the board, watching, coaching and converting their pawns back into play.

Parents, having lost their job or now just working part-time or being on unemployment now are working at home, going to places such as the park. Places that we have owned together since 1776. Liberty, freedom and justice are important pieces on our board of life.

Teachers at the public schools are happy to once again have part-time teachers at their students' homes. George Washington's smile may not show up on the dollar bill but yes, his heart is pleased.

Despite the recession we can look up at the sky and see more than clouds or stars. Our geographical and personal states are united. Our Savior is smiling at us all.

Dwight Maddess

Walla Walla

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