Moderates in Congress must be more proactive

The Sept. 29 article, "In Congress, critical moment for moderates," makes me wonder: Where have the moderates been during these crucial years of the Bush presidency?

It is reassuring to read that moderates - both Democrat and Republican legislators - are taking a more active role, deflecting potential filibusters, as the article shows, and ensuring cooperation across party lines, brokering deals, and asking hard questions of government at all levels.

But why have the moderates not taken a more proactive and vociferous role in Congress before now?

I can imagine that being a moderate must sometimes feel like being a referee between the extreme right and left, where issues are painted in ideological nuances.

However, it is incumbent upon moderates to see beyond ideology and find practical and concrete solutions to paramount problems.

Keeping a low profile and merely playing the role of arbiter is not really getting much of a moderate agenda accomplished.

The problems facing this nation must be tackled head-on and without regard to ideological persuasion.

Moderates can play an important role in finding solutions to these problems, something that neither the right nor the left have been willing to do correctly.
Robert A. Vieites

Boarding school a blessing

It is with great interest that I read Andrea Jarrell's Sept. 19 Opinion piece, "Hogwarts et al. prove boarding school doesn't equate with 'being sent away.' " Because I lived in a small French village that offered only six grades, I was enrolled in a boarding school in a bigger town.

I liked the academics of my school, but I suffered terribly from homesickness. This had to be the most miserable time of my life then - and I still consider it so, 50 years later.

In spite of this, I credit my school with preparing me for life. It taught me English, which became essential when I married a GI (the happiest day of my life) and came to the US. Eventutally I became a naturalized citizen of the United States (the proudest day of my life).

My boarding school also taught me German, which helped me survive living on the German economy for three years. And it enabled me to make librarianship my life's work.

But the greatest thing it did for me: It totally cured me of homesickness, and not once in 45 years in the US have I ever suffered from it.

I have had a blessed life, and one of these blessings was going to boarding school.
Gisele Garrett
Ozark, Ala.

Life is richer, sans TV

I loved the Sept. 28 article, "We swim in an ocean of media." Indeed, the crush of the media is nearly inescapable. I can say, however, that I've completely eliminated television from my household and have never been happier!

Although I still can't escape TV in public places, I've found that the Internet provides a much richer media experience and the "consumer control" that television lacks.

So, I now get all of my news (even video) and information from the Internet (and radio in my vehicle).

Not only am I saving $500 a year by eliminating cable TV costs and associated taxes from my yearly budget, but I'm putting myself in control of my media experience.

Others may also find that eliminating television leads to a richer, more fulfilling life. It's worth a try for everyone.
Thomas Harvey
Fairfax, Va.

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