Letters to the Editor

Readers write about junk mail, whether unions really damaged the Big Three, and what Obama's Cabinet nominees say about his incoming administration.

Mail carriers should not pick and choose what is delivered

In regard to the Dec. 2 article, "Americans hail a postman who didn't deliver": This letter carrier violated the oath he took when he accepted the job. All mail carriers are required to adhere to the principle of "the sanctity of the mail." This means that only the recipient determines the value of their mail. My understanding is that this was originally started to ensure nonpartisan treatment of political mail. Without this standard, a mail carrier could selectively toss mail that didn't agree with his or her personal beliefs. Also, this carrier defrauded businesses who paid in good faith for their advertising to be delivered.

Junk mail currently pays for much of the US Postal Service's operations. That means delivery to American homes and businesses and conveniently located post offices. Postal inspectors ensure a low level of theft and fraud. Somehow, all that has to be paid for. Our first-class postage is among the lowest in the industrialized world, and e-mail has considerably lowered the volume of first-class mail.

It is possible to manage junk mail, but it is up to the individual to do it. It is annoying and I, too, wish for an easier way. But I don't want my mail carrier making decisions for me.

Shelley Scott
Bellflower, Calif.

Unions not to blame for Detroit's woes

In regard to the Nov. 24 editorial cartoon: This cartoon by Brian Barling, which suggests that unions are a drag on the US auto industry, puzzles me.

Weren't union contracts negotiated with, and accepted by, management? If so, why fault unions for contracts that management accepted?

Furthermore, are unions responsible for failing to be ready for changing market conditions, such as high fuel prices? Are unions responsible for the inability of customers to get credit to buy cars? Are unions responsible for the inability of the corporations to get funds for retooling?

It seems that many factors have contributed to the demise of the US auto industry. A focus on unions seems misplaced and unproductive.

Robert Rein Jr.
Eugene, Ore.

Obama's Cabinet is politics as usual

In regard to the Dec. 2 article, "Obama's team of stars: Can he manage it?": Few people would disagree that there is power in unity. Likewise, most people would agree that the magnitude of the problems facing the US requires a national unity of unparalleled breadth and strength.

The Monitor and other newspapers have been generous in their praise of President-elect Obama's Cabinet choices. Could Mr. Obama and the media be missing an important point? A competent, star-studded, and experienced cabinet and a charismatic president will not heal the wide political, social, and economic divides in the US. Only concerted action by our power centers will accomplish this.

Many countries that practice a parliamentary form of governance have proved that rule by political coalition can be productive. If Obama had allotted 30 to 40 percent of his Cabinet posts to Republicans, with John McCain as secretary of State, a powerful message would have been sent to a divided Congress, the American people, and even the world. This courageous leadership move would have lent credence to his campaign promise of real change and validity to the belief that Obama's presidency will be transforming. His cabinet choices to date do not indicate that this is the case.

Arthur Christopher
Athens

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