Letters to the Editor

Readers write about separatist provinces, presidential leadership, the Equal Rights Amendment, and cellphones on airplanes.

Separatist tensions resolved through openness, respect

Regarding the Aug. 28 article, "Russia's case on Georgia territories: Like Kosovo or not?" At present, there are both Georgian and Russian friends and family in my home. So I found this article very enlightening in discussing Russia's turnaround in supporting demands of South Ossetia and Abkhazia after its opposition to the independence of Kosovo.

Emotions run high in these politically sensitive areas.

The British can look back over five centuries to see how the Welsh, Scots, and Irish were often brutally subdued by the force of English armies, and can be so grateful that changing attitudes over the years have brought much healing so that relationships are now mostly based on reason and discussion.

Unity and brotherhood are potent forces, providing the rights of individual freedom are progressively implemented.

David Barker
Barnstaple, England

The presidential role has evolved

Regarding Gene Healy's Aug. 28 Opinion piece, "A president, not a savior": There are many things the Founding Fathers of this country intended: most obviously, liberty, freedom, and equality for all men. Interestingly enough, they did not include women or slaves of either gender, only men.

Perhaps they never intended the United States to have a national leader, but the reality of the situation is that we do. Like it or not, the president sets a tone, an agenda, and a political direction for the country.

A good leader brings out the best in people, inspiring them to rise to the challenges that face their communities.

Sure, there will always be people titillated by meeting a politician, a sports legend, even the pope, but the people I see down in the trenches working for the candidate of their choice are mostly hardworking, down-to-earth people who feel the message of the current leadership has to change.

I long for the day when our president is "seen more than heard," as Mr. Healy says the Founding Fathers intended, but as long as we have to listen to the president, is it too much to ask that he speaks not to the fears that are within us all, but to the hopes and dreams that are within us all instead?

Cate Chensel
Kutztown, Pa.

Continuing to fight for equal rights

In response to the Aug. 18 essay by Patricia Riddle Gaddis, "Grandmother worked hard to get to vote": It was interesting to read the personal story of the impact of the 19th Amendment.

What many don't realize is that the next step was supposed to be passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. The ERA is not dead. It still has not passed, as it lacks three state ratifications.

As president and founder of Equal Rights Alliance, Inc., I am spearheading Florida ratification with 295,000 supporters, one-third of the Florida legislature as bill cosponsors, and 1,400 very active activists.

Sandy Oestreich
St. Petersburg, Fla.

Cellphones on airplanes: impractical

Regarding the Aug. 13 article, "Cellphones in the sky?" I am a flight attendant for a major commercial airline. I have had to deal with the bad behavior of passengers for over 30 years.

Can you imagine me telling a disruptive passenger to hand over a phone or to turn it off? And the reception will be terrible as we climb, go around thunderstorms, etc. This will work only if the airline can charge to use the phones, and charge a lot!

Judy Tregre
Roswell, Ga.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com. Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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