Private donations: Necessary for third-party candidates
In response to Mark Lange and Ellen Rose's Oct. 29 Opinion piece, "For fairer campaigns: full public funding": The piece decries private funds in campaigns for public office. But it fails to address the problems associated with a public approach.
The big problem is that if private funds are not allowed, then public funds will only be given to "viable" candidates. What does that mean? That means the further entrenchment of the two-party system. Say goodbye to any hope of third-party or independent candidates at the federal level, not that we have many now. But at least the possibility exists that they might be able to get the funds necessary to get elected.
The problem is not private funds. In fact, private funds from individual contributors is the saving grace of our democracy. I will say that we appear to agree that the McCain-Feingold reforms have been ineffective. I'd argue they have helped destroy liberty in this nation by limiting individual donations while at the same time allowing corporations and political action committees to consolidate power.
When the government maintains an interest in the practices of elections and campaigns, then it will invariably game the system to help incumbents stay in office. If public funds become the only way a candidate can campaign, a blank check should be handed to the individuals who are already in office to stay there.
Kevin L. Kane
Make Israel an international city
In response to the Nov. 6 article, "Israel puts Jerusalem on the negotiation table": At the present time, it appears the only people concerned about Jerusalem are the Jews and Muslims who both claim a religious connection to it. What about the Christians and Armenians who also live in their quarters of the city? They are being totally left out of the discussions regarding the city.
Why does the city have to be only Muslim and Jewish? Why can it not be an international city ruled by a local government composed of Israelis, Palestinians, Christians, Armenians, and members of the international community? All current holy places such as the Dome of the Rock, the Wailing Wall, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre would be protected and all Muslims, Jews, and Christians would be given unfettered access to these places of worship.
If Jerusalem is an international city, both Palestinians and Jews can declare it to be their capital without conflict, as they are members of the international community.
John F. Jackson
Complaining voter holds back
Regarding Jeffrey Shaffer's Nov. 6 Opinion article, "Don't take revenge, be happy": The piece was apropos for those of us who tend to be perpetual complainers.
Voting day can be especially trying for some. I took Mr. Shaffer's advice and held my tongue as I walked into the local school, which happens to be my designated polling place, to drop off my ballot (never mind that we have the option to vote by mail here in Washington, and I'd already put the stamp on it). Did I really need to mention that there weren't enough parking places? I decided not to. No one there could do anything about it. Someone else might be equally upset that I chose to park along the yellow curb that said "bus loading zone" instead of driving a block down the street to look for a space.
Now I'm working on feeling "happy" as Shaffer suggested. Why shouldn't I be? I live in a wonderful country where I'm actually encouraged to vote!
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