Voters want leaders with roots Andrew Schmookler's opinion piece "In praise of Carpetbagging" (Aug. 24) will not meet with much appreciation out West, where a premium is still put on a politician's real "stake" in the people and the geographic area he or she would represent.

We frequently see "slick" and well-financed foreigners running for some coveted state or national office, believing it to be a cakewalk in "Hicksville" while telling us that in spite of their most recent residence that they understand us and know what's best for us. Just like Hillary Clinton knows what's best for New York!

The voter response is almost always a resounding, "Go home where you belong or establish some real roots before you ask for our vote." Voters want someone who has family, property, pride, sense of history, reputation, and other genuine investment and "ties" in their community to represent them. Please keep your carpetbaggers home! David J. Reese, Reno, Nev.

Saving Turkey from itself Your editorial "A quake's better aftershocks" (Aug. 31) is heartwarming and very humanitarian towards Turkey. All countries and individuals should be highly commended and appreciated for their humanitarian aid to the suffering people in Turkey.

While we are so generous in giving and helping Turkey's suffering population, it is appropriate for the Turkish government to clear its conscience by admitting and apologizing for the genocide of more than 1.5 million Armenians during the early part of this 20th century and for the persecution of its Kurdish population.

An earthquake in neighboring Armenia in 1988, took the lives of over 25,000 men, women, and children and left hundreds of thousands homeless in the cold winter.

Our dear ally, Turkey, refused to allow US and European aid to cross its territory on its way to its suffering neighbor, Armenia. Let us not just salvage the economy of Turkey, but let us also strive to salvage the soul of Turkey. Joseph Matossian, Berkeley, Calif.

Naive view of Roma Your Aug. 17 editorial "Europe and its Roma (Gypsies)" seems totally naive. After interacting with Gypsies in Italy for six months (they were allowed into Italy from Yugoslavia due to Vatican pressure), I have learned that the cultural values of the nonsedentary, seminomadic Roma are totally at odds with local populations.

Their custom of living off the local inhabitants, usually by helping themselves to what they need, does not ingratiate them with anyone.

In Italy when tourists were not to be found, the Roma preyed upon largely poor people, who, when they defended their goods, were called racists by the local press. Bruce J. Malina, Omaha, Neb.

Defense spending is discretionary I note what appears to be a reluctance in the Monitor's editorial comment to say anything controversial about the enormity of defense spending in the US.

The Aug. 25 opinion "Budget Fudge" by David R. Francis is a typical example. In referring to the tug of war over discretionary spending he makes no mention of the fact that the largest single item of discretionary spending, currently about 49 percent, is for defense.

If enough people knew that, perhaps someday something would be done to cut it down to size.

Would that not be a good thing in the quest for a more peaceful planet? R. Peterson, St Paul, Minn.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Due to the volume of mail, only a selection can be published, and 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.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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