'Buy American' - or better yet, develop alternatives

In response to your Dec. 20 Opinion piece "Want to 'buy American' at gas pump?": Gigi Brienza's call for country-of-origin labeling of gasoline sounds fine in theory, but could have negative consequences domestically. By equating patriotism solely with "buying American," even more Americans would comfortably deny the relationship between their choice of automobile, its gas mileage, and our dependency on foreign oil and inclination to embroil ourselves in foreign conflicts.

Ms. Brienza's feel-good approach would almost certainly make drilling, and its accompanying environmental despoliation, a certainty in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and all the other national park and wilderness areas currently in the sights of Dick Cheney and his oily cronies.

In the long run, allowing people to feel good about purchasing gas for their SUVs is unpatriotic because it increases our dependency on unsustainable resources and allows more farsighted nations to get ahead of us in the development of alternative energy and transportation systems.
Harv Teitelbaum
Evergreen, Colo.

Regarding "Want to 'buy American' at the gas pump?": I agree wholeheartedly with Ms. Brienza. Last summer, I received e-mail asking everyone to boycott Exxon-Mobil, the premise being that, if their sales dropped, the rest of the industry would thereby lower gasoline prices nationwide.

It didn't work. Either not enough people in agreement had computers, or most people thought, "What can one car do?"

It would be absolutely fascinating to see what would happen if the middle class truly had one spokesgroup that could put pressure on the industrial-military complex. AARP (formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons) does it for seniors. Why not a group that solicits million of members to draw up an agenda and then lobby heavily? If our lawmakers or industrial scions neglect to act, we still have the power of voting and boycotting. If there are such groups, please get the word out.
Ron Bolnick
Yonkers, N.Y.

Political correctness blights a landscape

In response to the Dec. 16 Opinion piece "Our fractured response to Lott": As one who chose to leave the country, but not the intellectual heritage, I maintain a keen interest in the progress of the US. To live by the principles upon which it was founded is not easy, but worthwhile. Thus, I followed with unease the miniscandal of one senator (Lott) unwisely congratulating another (Thurmond).

It reminds me of the coverage given in Australia some years ago to one moment of an interview in which an elderly former prime minister described Aboriginal culture as "weaker" in an attempt to explain social problems that many Aborigines endure.

While he explicitly referred to culture - and not people - the campaign to label him, and by extension his political descendants, as racist was extensive. Political correctness, like racism, blights many a landscape.

I do not think it could be said that I am a fan of either Trent Lott or Strom Thurmond, and they would probably find it hard to endorse some of my views. Yet given the amount of airtime gracefully allotted to racial, sexual, and religious intolerance, it appears suspicious to so carefully dissect such a remark from its context.

The article by Linda Wallace suggests a more sensible way to deal with the backslapping of old Dixiecrats, if indeed that is what it is. More so, it reassures me that there are those whose eyes are not merely seeking the next weapon to use against their political opponents. May they prevail against racists and the politically correct alike.
Jim Lemon
Sydney, Australia

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