Letters to the Editor

Readers write about the US government's role in the global tobacco industry, whether the Democrats will end partisanship in Washington, and Europe's reaction to the election of Barack Obama.

Government role in the global tobacco industry

Regarding the Nov. 18 Opinion piece, "America's 'height of hypocrisy' on tobacco": Author Peter Fromuth makes a case that tobacco is some form of special, evil product, far different from normal products, such as, say, cookies. He makes this assumption on the basis that tobacco is bad for one's health. He concludes that it is the US government's duty to lead the fight against the great and powerful tobacco companies.

What he leaves out is the fact that tobacco is not being forced on anyone. No one is being threatened, coerced, or lied to. Indeed, the damaging effects of cigarettes are well known throughout the world. People know they're dangerous, and yet still consider the risk worth it, and so voluntarily provide the tobacco companies with their money, in return for the value that tobacco brings them.

Governments have no right to decide what rational individuals can trade among each other, as long as coercion is not involved and it is not a national security issue.

John F. Schmidley
Las Vegas

If there are any Americans left who still believe that we, as a nation, always act only out of benevolence, let them read this commentary. It is not only our tobacco companies that are directly responsible for millions of deaths worldwide, but also our government and lawmakers through the legislation they pass. How dare we point the finger at other countries when it comes to hard drugs, while at the same time, we blatantly push on the world one of the most lethal drugs known to man.

Carl Mattioli
Newtonville, Mass.

Will Democrats reach across the aisle?

In regard to the Nov. 17 Opinion piece, "A bipartisan Washington begins with Obama's judicial appointments": This commentary joins the refrain that the election of Barack Obama represents some kind of new era of bipartisanship, nonpartisanship or postpartisanship. Would that this dream of liberal pundits were based on reality.

The only way Democrats intend to end partisanship is by eliminating the voices of all those who disagree with them. Already, Mr. Obama, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate majority leader Harry Reid, and other Democrats have made abundantly clear that one of their first priorities is to ram through the deceptively named Fairness Doctrine. While doing nothing to tamp down the chorus of liberal voices on TV, the bill aims to silence the few voices of conservative opinion on the radio. The Democrats' present and past efforts to enact this bill are suppression of the constitutional right of free speech.

By his appointments so far, Obama has made clear he does not embrace bipartisanship. Obama's appointment of Rahm Emanuel, a political pugilist, as his White House chief of staff foretells a take-no-prisoners partisan approach. The Democrats aim to weaken, not work with, Republicans and conservatives.

Don Boyd
Indianapolis

Europe eager for Obama presidency

In regard to the Nov. 17 article, "For Europe, Obama revives positive image of America's unique identity": Europe's response to Barack Obama's election victory is best summarized by the headline in an editorial published Nov. 6 in Britain's The Guardian newspaper under the heading, "America under President Obama." It read simply, "Welcome back."

Alistair Budd
London

The Monitor welcomes your letters andopinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.CSMonitor.com. Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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