Always proud of America; A moment of reflection upon America; Will President Bush pay for flouting the law?; Philosophically speaking about SOU

Will President Bush pay for flouting the law?

All citizens of this country should pay for their crimes. The Bush regime owes dearly for crimes against humanity, the under-cutting of our great Constitution. Please don't allow them to walk away without paying for what they have done.

Noreen Hulteen

Ashland

Always proud of America

I noted a letter by a 51-year-old individual (Nov. 5) who, until the election, had never been proud of her country. I am 81 years old and have been proud of this nation since being old enough to comprehend. Let me enumerate just a few of the many reasons.

We have provided a haven for people from the world over who seek freedom and a better way of life. We provided, at great loss of life, the necessary assistance to resolve two world conflicts that saved civilization from dominance by tyrants.

In every major disaster we have willingly supplied aid and comfort to those in need. Such sites have seen our C-130 aircraft and helicopters bearing food, shelter, medical supplies and assistive personnel. The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln provided water and power for thousands after the Indonesian tsunami.

We supplied troops to halt the slaughter in Kosovo and aided the Balkan nations in establishing self-governments. Our hospitals and medical professionals provide care for foreigners who have no access to procedures we accept as common practice.

We provide Peace Corps volunteers to nations whose needs for basic services are unimaginable to most of us. Our "Doctors Without Borders" assist needy people world-wide. This nation spawned and supports international organizations such as Lions, Rotary and Kiwanis who serve the countries and communities in which they exist.

Our support of the U.N. is ongoing, despite criticism from member nations. How many of those nations have offered assistance in our times of need such as hurricanes, earthquakes and, yes, the aftermath of 911?

If this sounds like flag-waving, so be it.

We have a free nation and, God willing, it shall continue for centuries to come.

I, among thousands of other Americans stand proud of our heritage. God bless our U.S.A.

Gerald S. Insley Ashland

A moment of reflection upon a changed nation

The day after this historic election, I quietly sat at home reading a biography of "Justice Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary" by Juan Williams. I was moved to reflection by a chapter relating one of Mr. Marshall's early cases dealing with the horrific acts of an angry white mob in rural Florida in 1951 when 400 black citizens' homes were burned, one black man was killed and three others severely beaten.

As I read this account I was struck by the poignant juxtaposition of these two moments in history: a legendary man confronting vicious racism to argue for justice in the Jim Crow South, and another, now historic, man overcoming incredible obstacles to become the first black President-Elect of the United States.

I glanced up at the television and saw the man that has become such a representation of the culmination and continuance of the fight for equal rights. One can only feel that Justice Marshall would be incredibly proud, would likely be brought to tears like Rev. Jesse Jackson, John Lewis and other battle weary leaders.

Though not naive enough to believe that racism is even close to obsolete, I am optimistic enough to enjoy the moment for its beauty and significance. Such moments of hope revitalize us all in the struggles we face.

What finally brought me to tears, however, was that 57 years later, Florida voted to elect the first African-American President of the United States.

Darci Van Duzer

Eugene

Philosophically speaking about SOU

As an SOU alumnus and a philosopher and poet of some small reputation, I'd like to discuss some of the challenges our school is facing. I've long refrained from doing so because I fundamentally disagree with most of the values of modern American society — and so I wondered of how much use my input would practically be.

But, state funding is down to 13 percent of the budget, there's a chronic enrollment shortage and there's a widespread and erroneous sentiment that it's a second-rate institution — a sort of glorified community college. Recent administrations and promotional personnel seem to always be looking for new directions — some sort of slick hype to boost enrollment.

Well, the real strengths of SOU are its tradition of academic excellence (particularly in the terribly under-appreciated liberal arts), a commitment to cultural expansion and diversity and countless brilliant and dedicated professors. A few examples would be wounded Vietnam vet Richard Miller in the history department (who teaches about the war,) Greer Markle in the art department and the tireless and brilliant Diana Maltz from my English department — not even to mention the world-renowned Shakespearean Alan Armstrong.

But this isn't the SOU I see promoted on the Web site, where the football team and proximity to Mt. Ashland seem to be the highlights. And I'm sick of money being wasted on elite athletic programs while the swimming pool was closed down for lack of funds. The highly popular lit prof Liz Eckhart was let go for the same reason — and then they wonder why not enough students are coming.

Well, maybe we should actually try to sell them on a mind-expanding and culturally rich EDUCATION.

Sean Lawlor Nelson

Ashland