To the Editor:
In "One Swell Foop" (Viewpoint, December 19th issue), Molly Ivins wrote that "the administration is clearly stocked with people who regard the press as a pain to be manipulated and public opinion as something that needs to be shaped by the government."
It is of the utmost importance that the leaders of mass thought should not lose sight of or underestimate the power of public opinion. No law ever devised by the genius of humankind can leash the might of public opinion. No government can withstand the pressure of public opinion. And no armed force can conquer the invisible power of public opinion, which can be directed for good or evil.
It is the duty of a citizen to help create an intelligent, just, and righteous public opinion. But how many of us realize that?
To the Editor:
Regarding your editorial about Trent Lott (December 12th issue), the real travesty of the whole fiasco isn't that he's an avowed bigot or that his history, both before and since being elected, has amply demonstrated that. It's that the Republicans, both in the Senate and in the White House, have shown their tacit approval of his racist ethos by not loudly and strongly insisting on his resignation from power. Public finger-shaking in the face of Lott's display has been nothing but window dressing and damage control.
The message thus is clear: Republicans don't really mind that Lott longs for those segregated days of yore; they just hate it that he got caught admitting it publicly, yet again.
Martin H. Aussenberg
To the Editor:
One of the more surreal aspects of the Lott fiasco is the continued whining by right-wingers who are desperately trying to blame the "liberal media" for poor innocent Trent's predicament. The folks who get their "disinformation" from talk radio have been trained to regurgitate this "one-size-fits-all" excuse. Didn't do your homework? It's the liberals' fault. Made a racist comment? It's the liberals' fault. Your ill-advised tax cuts for the wealthy have weakened the economy? It's the liberals' fault (for pointing it out in advance, I guess). Hey, it's a lot easier than introspection!
Meanwhile, to their great credit, conservative Republicans have been the leading critics of Lott's comments, while liberals like Tom Daschle inexplicably have failed to express outrage about them. I hope that the criticism being voiced by many prominent conservatives (including Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, and even Cal Thomas and the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal!) represents real progress for the severely tarnished Republican Party, which owes much of its current power to the success of the cynical "Southern strategy" advanced by Richard Nixon.
This unfortunate incident offers the Republican Party a chance to repudiate its often sordid past and to open up its Little Tent to all Americans -- regardless of race, sex, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation.
B. Keith English
To the Editor:
Across the United States, animal shelters are filled with millions of cats, dogs, kittens, and puppies in need of loving, permanent homes. These are beautiful, healthy animals that have been cast away by individuals who were not prepared to make a lifelong commitment to them. They now live in cages -- many facing death. Each day, more and more of these wonderful companion pets are received by the shelter to be, in turn, killed to make room for new arrivals.
Pet overpopulation is a problem which calls for immediate public attention. Even those who do not have pets are affected by the dog and cat overpopulation crisis. Millions of tax dollars are spent annually to care for lost, abandoned, and unwanted pets, and millions more are spent to destroy those that never find homes.
There are two main ways to end this vicious cycle. The most important is spaying and neutering all dogs and cats. Spayed and neutered animals have longer life expectancies, and this procedure eliminates the risk for several different cancers.
Besides spaying and neutering, if you are ready to make a lifetime commitment to a cat or dog, please visit your local shelter or search www.petfinder.com to save a life and adopt a friend.
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