Ending extremism requires dignity for the destitute

The victory you paint in "VA day? Hold the parade" (editorial, Dec. 18) is accurate. The greatest battles will be far from the battlefields of Tora Bora. These battles will be changing the measures of life so all religious beliefs, ethnic backgrounds, and citizens of the world participate equally on the world stage. No one better, no one lesser. The victory is against extremism. This extremism is born of desperation in cultural environments and political systems that are destitute of dignity for all men, women, and children. The greatest weapon the Western world has is democracy, free republics, open societies, commitment to equal rights, and affirmation of diversity in an ordered government. Truth does indeed make free. Those who lust for power or seek to hoard it are afraid of the light of truth being cast upon them. The free world needs to crank up the light a bit and eliminate even shadows in the caves.

Rees Ryder Stevens

Stuttgart, Germany

My growing global family

"Listening for Islam's silent majority" (Nov. 5) compelled me to write about a Pakistani gentleman who became part of our family for a while. We shared ideas about our religions, both of which are based on an understanding of one supreme God. One day while we were at a southern Caifornia beach together, my 7-year-old daughter and I were caught in a riptide. Our Muslim friend jumped into the ocean with a surfboard and rescued us. We were praying together on that board! The whole family gave gratitude that day on the beach to our friend and the one creator of us all. This is a glimpse of how mankind can come together as a family.

Mardelle Westover

Aztec, N.M.

Don't forget seniors in stimulus package

Regarding "In US politics, the post-attack thaw is over" (Dec. 12): Although I am confident President Bush will lead America through this war, he can't do everything. Our Congress needs to do some constructive thinking about how it can best restablize the economy. It must realize that, although wanting to help bring the economy back, most senior citizens, (especially WWII veterans) don't invest in the stock market. They remember the stock market crash in 1929 and aren't willing to risk their savings.

The 11 cuts in short-term interest rates made by Alan Greenspan in the past year have cut most senior citizens' income by more than half, making it hard for seniors to help the economy. Seniors would like to spend to help bring the economy back, if they had it to spend.

Congress should eliminate all the income taxes seniors are now paying on their Social Security income and the low interest they get from their savings. Reducing payroll taxes won't help seniors one bit, either.

Jack Prather

Mobile, Ala.

Already working on simplicity

"Our factory of need" (Dec. 17, Opinion) by Jonathan Rowe gave the impression that no one knows how to get off the work-and-spend treadmill - or even knows that they're on it. Numerous books, studies, websites and media stories (including your paper) have documented and fostered the growing "simplicity movement." By many measures, over 25 percent of the American public is well aware of the hidden cost of consumerism and has been sacrificing income to get more time for "what's important."

Dozens of inspiring and practical books are now available offering some solutions to the stresses of the treadmill. I implore you and your readers to explore the many solutions that this article stopped short of offering.

Vicki Robin


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