Keeping in balance

Re “NAFTA, Obama and Clinton” (PWW 3/22-28): Good article. Sometimes I become myopic in my worldview because of the plight of Black people in America. Your articles help to keep me in world balance supporting justice for all people. Blacks and Mexicans are really fighting the same fight against the same enemy. But our leaders make us think differently. Thanks.

Via e-mail

Obama’s pastor

I am deeply distressed by the current crucifixion of the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright of Chicago. It is an attack on the Black church in the USA. But more importantly, everything I have seen, heard and read so far has been a blind and angry attack upon all prophets who dare to be faithful to the Judeo-Christian tradition … and upon the Rev. Wright in particular.

Rev. Ted Schroeder
Kansas City MO

Bush’s romance with war

Anyone aware of the ideological background of neoconservatism which came to such prominence during the Bush administration would have taken particular notice when George Bush, in televised remarks to the American troops in Afghanistan, expressed his envy for their being on the front line. He talked about the romance of war and its excitement. “You are really making history,” he told them.

This reflects a mindset flowing from neo-conservative tenets that are elitist and devalue the aspirations of ordinary people to have secure lives and experience the joys and sorrows that can, without the exhilaration of the battlefield, make life meaningful.

In the neoconservative twisted logic, the willingness to risk life and limb, and to kill whoever the current enemy happens to be, elevates the lives of otherwise mediocre subjects who really have no greater purpose in life.

Extraordinary types like George Bush and Dick Cheney naturally shun the dangerous exertions meant for lesser mortals. George Bush passed up the excitement of the Vietnam War and Dick Cheney notoriously claimed he had “more important things to do.”

George Bush and his gang of neoconservatives are consumed by insane dreams of world domination. They project a toxic brand of idealism that is neither romantic nor exciting, but criminal. One can only hope that the winds of history will sweep them away once and for all.

John Mackoviak
Tucson AZ

Cuban 5

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertona asked Cuban President Raul Castro if he would consider releasing some political prisoners. President Castro replied he would be interested if the United States would be interested in an exchange of Cuban prisoners with the five Cubans being held in various prisons in the U.S.

Cardinal Bertona summarized his February visit to Cuba by saying, “The results have far surpassed the expectations in all that I have seen of the vitality of the Cuban church in all of her components and initiatives.”

If the Vatican pursues the exchange idea with the U.S., there is the possibility, with a massive campaign this year to free the Cuban Five.

Every possibility must be attempted. The Cuban Five have suffered horribly. We must contact our congresspeople, churches, trade unions, the ACLU and everyone on our mailing lists to get the word out.

John Gilman
Milwaukee WI
John Gilman chairs the Milwaukee Committee to Free the Cuban Five.

The first U.S. president

Who was the first president of the United States of America? Answer: John Hanson. He was a U.S. senator from Maryland for nine terms. He was born in Baltimore, Md., in April 1715 and died in 1783. He was a farmer and an Afro-American.

The Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation elected him president unanimously. He played a monumental role in the formation of the USA.

G. Wayne
Via e-mail

Legacy of shame

Our troops have now been deployed in that “sandbox” called Iraq for five years and there’s still no end in sight to this abominable imperialist misadventure. Yet, Dick Cheney has just proclaimed the mission a success and intends to fortify the U.S. occupation for years to come.

Already 4,000 soldiers have come home in caskets, while tens of thousands more have been wounded or crippled for life. The Iraqi nation has been torn asunder, with millions of its citizens ruined and displaced. The degraded conditions of life there are cited by the UN as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Our failed president recently broke into a White House tap dance while waiting to endorse his desired successor, John McCain, who opines that a hundred more years in Iraq seems just fine to him.

Whoever is elected next November will inherit a legacy of shame, indebtedness and national diminishment that may never be fully overcome. The incomprehensible George W. Bush has presided over America’s precipitous decline.

Cord MacGuire
Boulder CO

Canvassing in Cleveland

I am an organizer with a health care workers union and was part of the activist army deployed to various cities on behalf of Barack Obama.

I arrived in Cleveland a week prior to the primary. Cleveland is very cold in winter, but during our stay there was unexpected snow which piled up to about two feet in most places. We were wet, cold and tired. On primary day there was also endless freezing rain. But each time we rang a doorbell and received a positive, excited response, we were revitalized. The warmth of solidarity was truly in the air. Our staging area was the hall of SEIU Local 3, a great group of Ohio building service workers.

During the canvassing, we looked into the eyes of Cleveland’s working class, poor and diminishing middle class. Many houses were standing vacant, boarded up as foreclosures swallowed up families. Most told us that they were big fans of Obama and very excited to have him in the race. Sure, we also came across some folks, both African-American and white, who were rooting for Hillary, but all agreed that this is the first time in many years that we’ve had excellent candidates in the running.

But the movement around Obama is still more unique … and it’s amazing to be a part of it all.

John Pietaro
Beacon NY