Speak Out 9/15/05

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Complaints about helping

THE MOST pious and church-going are always the first to complain about the homeless, beggars and taxes going toward social programs like welfare. If you try to explain to them that Jesus asks for us to help the poor by giving even more than what they ask for, the immediate response is something like, "These people are different. They're lazy." They think they know everything about people who ask for help and choose to complain instead of help.

Prefer poverty

I HAVE to disagree with the caller who said poverty is worse than ill health. Living in poverty as I did 50-plus years ago and living in poverty now, after decades of being middle-income and being disabled, I can firmly state that I prefer the poverty, which I could do something about, to the disability, which I cannot solve and which keeps me from working my way back out of poverty.

Insightful columns

THE SOUTHEAST Missourian is too often wrongly accused of being nothing more than a Republican Party propaganda machine. I suspect this is due in large part to the party-line diatribes of David Limbaugh. However, one scathing anti-Bush column written by the insightful Gene Lyons counteracts a dozen talking-points pro-Bush pieces written by the prolific but politically wrong-headed Limbaugh. And now comes Kathleen Parker, a usually reliable pro-Republican rhetorician, who writes that President Bush must bear major responsibility for the effects of Hurricane Katrina because it was such a devastating national (as opposed to state and local) disaster.

Facing up to poverty

I DISAGREE with Sen. John Edwards' view that we don't know about poverty in the United States. We do know about it. We just wish we didn't and don't like it when we're forced to face it.

Coming together

I REALIZE that many people are suffering from the tragedy from the South, but I was serving at the Red Cross shelter in Benton, and my heart was warmed. There were people from Marble Hill, Cape Gir-ardeau, Oran and, I am sure, other areas. It is amazing how people and churches come together when there is a need. Let's keep up the good work.

Peace and quiet

SIKESTON HAS a noise ordinance and has posted signs that say, "If it's too loud, we will impound." Jackson and Cape Girardeau should follow Sikeston's example. Peace and quiet are a lost commodity here.

Memorable fair

I WENT to the SEMO District Fair Saturday and had a great time. The employees working there were friendly, patient and good with children. Some of them worked all day long in the heat. They helped make the fair most memorable for me.

Hard to believe

CONGRATULATIONS TO the Street family. I see that the baby sitter who abused their child has pleaded guilty. As the father of an 8-month-old, I find it hard to believe that a baby sitter would want to spank a 9-month-old to get him to stop crying. I also hope this person receives the maximum penalty.

A happy look

THE COLUMN by Joe Sullivan, "A present for Little Girl" touched me deeply. It reminded me of my experience of a few years ago in the checkout line. There was a little girl with her father. He had a few items he was paying for. She picked up a box of chocolate-covered cherries. He shook his head no as he was digging for change in his pocket. I bought the little girl the box of chocolate-covered cherries. I'll never forget that happy look in her and her father's eyes.

Y'all come back

OUR FAMILY thoroughly enjoyed the HOG rally and the Harley-Davidson owner group parade for the second year in a row. We counted 510 participants in the parade down Kingshighway. We welcome them and hope they come back next year.

Thanks for wallet

MY HUSBAND and son were camping at Trail of Tears State Park. He dropped his wallet. Somebody took the time to look up the address, drive the wallet back into town and leave it between our two front doors. Even with all the looting and the terrible things going on, there are still good people in the world. Thank you to whoever did that.

Taking responsibility

IN OUR less-educated past, it was believed that diseases only happened to sinners and evildoers and that comets or meteors predicted doom. The idea that New Orleans was destroyed by God as punishment for supposed wickedness is a product of the same backward logic. Equally obsolescent is the notion that, in a modern society, private or faith-based resources can replace massive federal social protection programs funded by the taxpayers. Taking responsibility for our own well-being is fine. However, we do that by funding social programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as well as the military and disaster-relief services. When elected officials we have hired to manage them fail us, we should replace them.

Farm to feast

MY SON and I really enjoyed the mock farm for little ones at the SEMO District Fair. He learned how the food from farms ends up on our table. Great job.

It really happened

SHOW ME Center officials can quote all the rules and regulations they want. All I know is what I've seen standing in line. I'll give you a specific example. While waiting to buy tickets for Sammy Hagar, two men announced they would call a random ticket winner from the line reservation numbers that had been handed out. There was a radio station doing a remote broadcast, so the men could have been with the radio station and not the Show Me Center. The number they called belonged to the most drop-dead gorgeous woman in line. A loud but good-natured chorus of boos and cries of "Fixed!" followed them as they pulled her from the line. I'm hoping someone else who was there will call Speak Out to back me up. I don't like being called a liar.

Using your ability

REGARDING THE comment about giving to panhandlers and about what God wants: Jesus Christ didn't help everybody he saw. He had to feel they deserved and earned it. Everybody has an ability, and they need to use it. That's not panhandling. That's working.

Thanks for the lunch

I WOULD like to thank the woman who gave money to one of my co-workers to give to me so that I could eat lunch Saturday. People like you are proof that there is some good left in this world. God bless you.

Tractor celebration

APOLOGIES GO out to any motorists who were inconvenienced by the antique tractor ride that took place recently in north Cape Gir-ardeau County. The purpose of this ride was to recognize our agricultural community. It was also an opportunity for friends and neighbors to participate in an activity that involved a common interest: antique tractors. Prior to the ride, drivers were reminded to be courteous to other motorists, pulling over where possible and leaving several car lengths between tractors so other vehicles could pass. The caravan detoured off the secondary roads several times throughout the ride to allow traffic to pass. Signs were also posted at every intersection indicating the tractor route. Tractor drivers appreciated all the motorists who took time to stop and wave at them and the people in their front yards who waved as they drove past. The drivers and their families also appreciated the efforts of those who prepared the meal following the ride.

Reschedule the parade

SOME CHANGES need to be made in the planning the SEMO District Fair parade, which cripples every major artery of the city at 5 p.m. on a weekday. I suggest moving the parade to another time when it would not interfere with evening traffic. Since the fair is open on Saturday, why not kick off the opening of the fair and have the parade on Saturday morning?

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