Regarding Robert Weiner's and Amy Rieth's June 23 Opinion piece "The dwindling youth vote: Where will it be in 2004?": This isn't anything new to me or to others. As a member of Generation X, I remember quite clearly the slew of commentary a little more than 10 years ago about how our generation didn't vote and how it would impact the future of the country.
However, there was enough commentary from some angles about how, in marked contrast to the boomers and their political leanings and actions, members of my generation were participating at the grass-roots level, since we were fed up with the processes and course of the traditional voting avenues. Yes, one can make the argument that, as one's right, one should vote in elections. But, if the choices often boil down to the "lesser of two evils," then there are some who will choose not to play the game.
I believe that the system we have is antiquated, and I'd support a parliamentary system tomorrow, if it were possible, because I believe that a voter has more choice and more debate in a parliamentary system.
Daniel Schorr states in "What Bush knew, when" (Opinion, June 20) that it's hard to believe that the president would have deliberately misled the American people about Iraq's nuclear capabilities in order to promote a war. It's not hard for me to believe. When are the media and the American people going to catch on? That is standard operating procedure for this administration. State whatever you want to get the results you want; there are no consequences, so why worry about the truth?
I find it hard to believe so many people are so naive as not to have figured that out yet.
Nevada City, Calif.
Regarding your June 18 article "Pentagon may trade more fatigues for civvies": I am in favor of saving money, but the military of today is more technical and job-oriented. A big draw is training and learning a profession. Recruiting promotes people who want to be cooks, bakers, pharmacists, storekeepers, accountants, etc. These people are part of the "paper" military that make the fighting military able to complete their missions.
Today there is neither the call nor appreciation for the professional soldier/sailor. Even though we are currently promoting our military, the United States has had a habit of downsizing and eliminating personnel, bases, equipment, and development contracts after there is "peace." Yes, our support personnel is large, but the members also learn and grow in knowledge, ability, and responsibility. Where do you get the trained personnel who can understand those in the field, or at sea, if you give that job to a civilian who stays in the same place for 20-plus years?
Regarding your June 18 article "Welcome to summer camp! Now hand over your cell phone.": I was a camp counselor for 10 years, and electronics can be one of the most troublesome items a camper can bring. Our battle to get kids to leave them at home has been a long-running one. Parents should indeed be more aware of what their kids are packing. Kids cannot bond with other campers if their heads are stuck in headphones or their eyes are glued to a game screen. Most camp staffs work all year to create an interesting and enriching program for your campers. Put your faith in their abilities to help your child have a good time.
San Bernardino, Calif.
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