Bianca Phillips and the Flyer should be congratulated for shedding light on one of the great overlooked problems of Memphis -- our epidemic of personal bankruptcies ("Debt Trap," November 23rd issue).
Most ordinary people who file bankruptcy do so for quite legitimate reasons -- huge medical bills that aren't covered by insurance, a loss of a job, etc. -- not credit-card debt. Yet, our Congress, with the help of the powerful banking and credit-card lobbies, passed a bill making declaration of bankruptcy a true hardship for honest working people who fall upon hard times.
One of the first jobs of the new Democratic-controlled Congress should be to right this egregious wrong. It's time to pay attention to the needs and problems of America's working class, instead of the relentless pandering to our corporations that has been the trademark of this Republican administration and Congress.
More on Amendment One
Certain "godly" people are right: What's morally best should come before personal feelings -- sexual or otherwise. That's why the moral principles of tolerance and freedom that this country is based upon should come before any of our personal beliefs.
We should be tolerant enough to allow each other to be different as long as we don't stop anyone else from living their lives in the process. Homosexuality is a peaceful and civil act.
Someday, those in power may decide that the "godly" people's religion is divisive, bigoted, self-righteous, and dangerous. They may decide that you are dangerous and try to keep you off the streets and in your houses. If that were to happen, you'd see how important it is to allow each other to be open and "different," despite our personal feelings.
I've been beaten up, put out, verbally abused, and disowned for being sexually free. Ask yourself: Who's being uncivil?
It is very discouraging that none of the local candidates desiring to represent us in the recent election lined up on the right side of the most important civil rights issue facing our society today.
This is America, a place where I thought we would have the care and tolerance enough to allow each other to be different and live our lives as we believe as long as we don't hinder anyone else from doing the same. Two men or two women getting married never stopped anyone from marrying who they wished. Gay and lesbian marriage is a civil act -- certainly a lot more civil than gang violence, child abuse, and intolerance.
We have suffered enough bigotry already in our country -- against women, minorities, and the poor. Many use religion to justify this. Anyone who puts their own beliefs ahead of the basic moral principles that make America great -- freedom and tolerance -- does not need to hold office. Gays and lesbians pay taxes and die in our wars. We need to demand more respect from these candidates, instead of taxation without representation.
A Great Wall?
Hundreds of years ago, the Chinese built their famous "Great Wall" to keep outsiders out. After the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945, the Soviets built a wall to keep people in.
Today we are building a wall in Israel and a wall in the southern United States, both having the objective of keeping outsiders out. We profess as a country to welcome all who seek democracy and freedom, and we applauded when the Berlin Wall fell.
Must we build walls around America to protect it? If democracy is to survive, must we sacrifice freedom for security? These are questions that cannot be answered through xenophobia and building more walls. Walls do not unite; they separate.
Editor's Note: In the Flyer's "Best of Memphis" issue (September 27th issue), Dr. David Leu was voted third-best chiropractor. Leu's last name was misspelled as "Lee." The Flyer regrets the error.