Free Speech


Imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when I received a notice in the mail to report for jury duty in Dayton. Surprise, you ask? Well, yes. You see, as a gay man, I cannot marry my partner of 33 years, serve as an openly gay man in our military, or, in some states, adopt children, yet I’ve been asked to serve on a jury. I believe that as long as I am not given the aforementioned rights, then I will not do anything extra to support this society. My question is how am I an equal American when it comes to extras like jury duty, but I not an equal American when it comes to marriages, military service, etc? I say let the people who enjoy all these rights do the extra things our society asks of us.

John Adams, Dayton

SPENDING _____________

This letter is in reference to Rana Odeh’s Debate Forum article entitled “Obama’s Plan: It Worked For FDR” (DCP, Sept. 22-28, 2010).

Perhaps the reason consumers aren’t spending any money is because businesses aren’t spending any money to buy new equipment, perform research and create jobs.  The reason may be that businesses view Obama’s direction and ability as an unreliable, fruitless direction and as other misguided attempts to drain the treasury. Maybe Economics 101 would be
good reading for Ms. Odeh…. and Obama.

By the way, Obama’s plan is not working, and neither did FDR’s.  The advent of World War II saved FDR’s butt. Otherwise who knows where we would
have ended?

Stimulus spending is certainly not
the answer.

Earl Bowlin, Dayton


The notion of “states’ rights” is total nonsense in a country of over 300 million people.

Starting from a loose confederation of 13 uniquely chartered colonies totaling 3 million people united mostly by determination to become independent of Great Britain, we ballooned by adding states with boundaries as arbitrarily drawn as those drawn by the Allies in the Middle East after WWI.

The consequence of being split into arbitrary states is a provincial rather than national focus. Today several states are claiming jurisdiction over immigration policy, which like defense, is a national responsibility.

States insist on jurisdiction in many important issues of national interest, not the least of which are education, voting, business charters, licensing, health care, and marriage. Surely, if we were designing a government today for our large nation there would be no consideration of drawing local jurisdictions with powers to nullify national governance.

Except using rivers as boundaries when available, there is absolutely no logic to the boundaries of the new states.  Except for Hawaii and Alaska neither geography nor ethnicity nor natural resources explain state lines. The soil of the South suitable for growing cotton gave the region a possible justification for special boundary treatment but does not explain the lines of the several Southern states.

A major consequence of state lines is undemocratic representation. Two senators for each state, regardless of population, instead of senators for equal numbers of citizens has resulted in an unrepresentative national Senate. And no remedy is likely, which is unfortunate as the willfulness of a handful of senators frustrates the will of a large majority in the Senate itself.

So, while time and necessity have clarified the national role of the government in interstate commerce, for instance, we continue to worship at the shrine of the “rights” of arbitrary states long past when reason and legal precedent would seem to have made the question settled. Today 23 states are challenging the national health reform acts on “states’ rights” grounds as if health is a respecter of state lines.

Education of our young would seem to be of such overwhelming importance both to the young and to the nation that resistance to minimum accomplishment standards across the nation is indefensible.  Why should a child raised in Mississippi not be equipped by education to hold a job or attend a college anywhere in America?  Yet state and local resistance to a common standard overwhelms the national interest and I see no likelihood of change.

In sum, when we hear the cry “states’ rights,” we should ask whether its defenders are supporters of America’s national interests.

Paul R. Cooper, Yellow Springs

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