I want to thank the Flyer for the well-presented story you published ("Out of the Woods," August 14th issue) about the forest in Overton Park. I appreciate the opportunity that you gave the zoo to share its position with your readers. There is a great deal of passion over this forest, and I hope that we can keep your readers informed about the intended Chickasaw Bluffs trail as the vision becomes fleshed out.
Brian Carter, Director of Marketing and Communications
I was saddened to read last week's letter from editor Bruce VanWyngarden, a typical criticism of low-information voters (Letter from the Editor, August 14th issue).
Being a truly informed voter is a full-time job, but even then, the discerning voter who watches C-SPAN, reads newspapers, and knows the pundits and politicians doesn't have all he needs. Instead, the rational voter uses heuristics — shortcuts that simplify the field.
Party affiliation mirrors one's views on the issues. A candidate's moral conviction hints as to how he will act at 3 a.m. A "dumbass" voter (as he put it) can also look to friends and religious leaders who share his values. Issue voting is not the only path to an intelligent vote.
As a self-proclaimed smartass, I see truth in slogans such as "He'll raise your taxes," "We can't cut and run," or "the audacity of hope." McCain is right to ask if Obama is more than media hype.
Nikki Tinker's ad was not shameful because it appealed to our demons. It was shameful because it was a lie. It sought to disparage a public servant's distinguished record. Steve Cohen won because he stood on that record and let voters decide themselves.
The problem is that Watergate and Monica and Iraq have cost us more than our faith in politicians; they have destroyed our faith in each other. This country, like VanWyngarden's letter, is bitter and skeptical. We should recognize the common man's awesome capacity for good. Just because others vote differently or on different criteria does not make them dumb.
I found tremendous irony in last week's editor's note. I agree with Bruce VanWyngarden in his assessment of Nikki Tinker's outrageous ads (not to mention Walter Bailey lowering himself to the bottom of the barrel). However, to say that most Memphians are above the "dumbass" line is a blatant untruth.
Think about the other city and state officials who've been elected over the past 20 years. Explain to me how the pompous and mighty Willie Herenton continues to get reelected by the same "low-information voters" time and time again. And Rickey Peete? This guy gets caught accepting bribes, gets out of prison, gets reelected, and goes corrupt again. Need I mention John Ford, that great humanitarian and bribe-accepting king?
I could continue, but with all the corruption that has taken place over the past few years, this letter would take days to complete. In the meantime, my suggestion to Memphians would be to take your head out of the sand and do a real background check on candidates. That way, you may be able to climb out of the "dumbass" pool.
Jeff W. Compton
In a recent "Rant" (August 7th issue), Tim Sampson said there would be voters who vote against Barack Obama because of his color, which is ugly but true. There are also people who will vote for Obama because of his color, which is just as ugly and just as true.
Georgia vs. Katrina
Recently, I watched a video of Americans off-loading relief supplies to Georgia. I found myself offended by this act of charity.
Why? Because the Bush administration sent these supplies before the smoke could clear over the rooftops, while our own citizens, trapped in floodwaters after Hurricane Katrina, couldn't get the government to drop off a case of bottled water.
We all watched the suffering of our fellow Americans on TV. These were desperate people begging the government to help for a week. Yet, let the poor Georgians suffer 10 minutes of stress, and Bush sends every unit available to help.
That ain't right, folks. It is truly offensive, even if there are good intentions behind it.
Joe M. Spitzer