Letters to the Editor

Readers write about role models for global warming, thoughts are not crimes, the Alternative Minimum Tax, and American Muslims in US diplomacy.

Children will follow adults who act on global warming

In response to your Dec. 3 editorial, "Warmageddon": This piece gets it right, I think, for a more obvious reason than the one given. We should be very concerned about how children are affected by scientists' dire predictions concerning climate change. We should definitely let this concern motivate us to do something about it.

Children will relax, I am sure, when they see the adults around them taking responsibility for the way they affect the land, the air, and the sea. Nothing is worse than witnessing inaction in the face of a growing threat.

It's worse still when our kids see that our inaction will only make matters worse for them in the future.

Fortunately, there is enough that even one person can do to make things better, so we are not helpless.

It's really a matter of education and motivation, individual effort on a grand scale, and constant pressure on those who can effect change on the national and global levels.

Margo Pellegrino
Medford Lakes, N.J.

Do not make thoughts a crime

Regarding Edward Kennedy and John Lewis's Nov. 30 Opinion piece, "We must not tolerate hate crimes": It seems that most people no longer so much as flinch when hate crimes are being discussed, especially when unpleasant events make them call for tougher hate-crime legislation.As I understand them, hate crimes are committed when an illegal act is combined with a prohibited thought.

I wonder how long it will take us to go from an illegal act combined with a prohibited thought to simply a prohibited thought? – thought crimes.

We are on a slippery slope and once we start sliding, I fear there is no recovery.

A crime is a crime, but legislation that makes thoughts a crime is unacceptable and quite frankly outrageous.

I appeal to my fellow Americans to wake up on this most critical of issues.

Tom Murray

How to fix the Alternative Minimum Tax

Regarding the Dec. 11 article, "Congress to stop spread of reviled tax": It is amazing to me how we keep dancing around the elephant in the room.

The spending cut we need to address is our extraordinary spending for defense, which is much greater than that of any other nation and which, under the present administration, has increasingly been kept off the books (the expenses for Iraq are not in the regular budget). The war serves limited interests – let them Big Oil and defense contractors) pay for it by taxing their profits.

I know that this is unlikely to happen, because we have made a fetish out of taxes and tax cuts, but it would still be the sensible thing to do.

As long as we waste our money on wars, why should the average citizen pay more taxes?

Dorothea Leicher

American Muslims in US diplomacy

Regarding Mansoor Ijaz's Nov. 27 Opinion piece, "A Muslim belongs in the cabinet": I have no problem with the suggestion that an American Muslim should help government in establishing policy with regard to Muslim nations.

As a matter of fact, the absence of such an adviser is utter stupidity. This country has gotten itself into hot water often just because insular types believe that they have all the answers.

When politicians begin to think outside the box, we just might see improvements in international diplomacy. That said, we should still keep our powder dry.

Paul Michaelis
Watchung, N.J.

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