Heroes' Morals and Heroic Acts

The article ``Arizona Still Embattled Over Statewide King Day,'' Jan. 3, leaves me confused as to whether the issue is financial or racial. To deny honoring Martin Luther King's birthday on the basis of his personal morality, as Arizona is claiming to do, is to obfuscate the point. Any lapse in King's personal morality had little bearing on the cause for which he fought and the principles his name has come to represent. When we look with a clear eye, we see that none of our heroes is perfect. That does not deny their contribution to humanity. What we must honor are their achievements and the sacrifices they made to advance humankind.

Perhaps the most honest thing to do is abolish all paid government holidays save the Fourth of July, and look instead toward educating our nation to the importance of honoring all our national ``heroes'' who try to move us toward truth and justice - clay feet and all.

Nancy Taylor Robson, Galena, Md.

I consider it scandalous that the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. is celebrated as an official holiday by virtually every political jurisdiction in the US. My objection has nothing to do with the late Dr. King's race, nor with his lifelong struggle for civil rights, nor with recent questioning of his personal morality. Neither am I especially concerned with the economic cost of overtime pay for work performed on the day. My single reason is uncomplicated. It is simply that I do not believe it is right to confer on a private citizen, who never held an office of public trust, an honor not accorded the memory of any individual US president. This holiday insults the memory of every president.

Earl E. Eigabroadt, Port Orchard, Wash.

Expect workers to do their best Reading the editorial ``Dueling Deficits,'' Jan. 3, I am bothered by the assertion: ``If the public wants competent and efficient judges, police officers, and welfare administrators, it will have to pay a salary that will attract such people. Mediocre salaries are more likely to attract mediocre employees.''

Shame on you for not expecting more of people, regardless of their wage. Whatever happened to expecting integrity, honesty, and diligence of a worker? Many of us do not make large salaries, but work to the best of our ability, no matter what the job. Why should not public servants be expected to do likewise?

Our problem is that we have stopped expecting people to do their best, regardless of salary.

Dorothy Rosseel, Abington, Mass.

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