Letters to the Editor

Posted: May 05, 2012

Right to vote

Congratulations and thanks to 93-year-old Viviette Applewhite for standing up for the right to vote (“City woman heads push on voter ID,” Wednesday). She is indeed the pride of Philadelphia.

Many people believe incorrectly that their right to vote is given in the Constitution. It is not. Aside from white men, everyone else has had to struggle to obtain and keep suffrage.

There is no money in voter impersonation and thus there is no evidence of significant voter impersonation for the past 10 years. The obvious purpose of the ID law is to reduce the number of people who can effectively refuse to vote against their own interests.

The commonwealth’s voter-ID law is what fear, greed, and disenfranchisement look like. Applewhite is what pride and determination look like. More power to her.

Dave Kalkstein, Philadelphia, davek50@yahoo.com

Laws upheld

Viviette Applewhite doesn’t have a birth certificate. But, according to the article, she has traveled to nine countries. So she must have had a passport, and a valid U.S. passport is an acceptable form of identification for obtaining a Pennsylvania driver’s license. A driver’s license is all Applewhite needs to be able to vote.

When even the lead plaintiff in the ACLU’s lawsuit can obtain the very ID she claims she can’t get, we know that suits like this are mere politics and not a serious complaint about voters being disenfranchised. That’s why voter-ID laws such as Pennsylvania’s have been upheld as constitutional virtually everywhere else they have been tested.

Jonathan Goldstein, Philadelphia, jonathan.goldstein@gmail.com

Disenfranchised

When Gov. Corbett asks, What’s the big deal about securing a voter-ID card?, my response is, Disenfranchising my mother is the big deal.

My mother was born at home in Philadelphia in 1923. She served as a WAVE in the U.S. Navy during World War II. She has cast a ballot in every election for which she has been eligible to vote for 67 years. Now she finds herself disenfranchised because she has an outdated driver’s license, an outdated passport, and a missing birth certificate. She has no easy way to validate her legitimacy to the voter-ID panel.

Our governor, our attorney general, and every elected official who supported this mean-spirited law or stood idly by while it passed should hang their heads in shame for having so cavalierly taken away the fundamental right that my mother and her peers fought so hard to secure for all of us, including our so-called leaders in Harrisburg. This bill insults the democracy that so many worked and died for. I hope that those of us who retain the right to vote remember the ugliness exhibited by our state “leaders” when they run for reelection.

Thomas Dwyer, Hollywood

New priorities

I recently passed the corner of 34th and Grays Ferry Avenue. While stopped for a traffic signal, I saw a young woman sitting there eating. She was dressed rather shabbily and I gathered she was homeless. There was a dog sitting next to her. My heart went out to this person, and I felt helpless that I couldn’t do anything for her. She is just one of the millions of people who need help in this country, and yet President Obama continues to send millions and millions of dollars to foreign countries

I don’t know what this young lady’s problems were that put her in this situation, but I’m sure that out of the millions of homeless there are many who are there through no fault of their own. However, my questions are: Why can’t we take care of our own? Why do we have to send money to foreign countries when we need look no further than our own cities and states for people who need help?

This country must reassess its priorities and act accordingly.

Philip McGrory, Essington

Where are jobs?

I thought the top 1 percent were given tax relief for 10 years to create jobs. Where are those jobs? What happened to the tea-party folks elected in 2010 who were going to create jobs? Why are there folks camping in the woods with no homes and no jobs when all the job creators have been at it for 10 years (“Bucks Tent City must close, forcing residents to leave,” Tuesday)?

Alice Weygandt, Coatesville

No open primary

I emphatically disagree with Michael Smerconish’s position that Pennsylvania should have open primaries (“Open primary would temper partisanship,” Sunday). People who are not members of a party should not have an impact on who represents that party. There are 20 states with open presidential primaries. In 2008, presidential primary exit polls showed that John McCain did not win a single race among Republican voters up to Super Tuesday. Yet, during this period, he became the front-runner.

As Smerconish notes, the number of independent voters has increased significantly, with Gallup surveys showing an average of 42 percent of Americans identifying themselves that way. With such numbers, independent voters should be able to support their own candidates, thus providing an alternative to the two parties, rather than diluting those parties.

M. Murphy, Wayne

Unfair attacks

I am responding to the political cartoon by Steve Benson of the Arizona Republic that showed a GOP elephant in the situation room with President Obama during the Osama bin Laden operation (Wednesday). I am a registered independent but found the cartoon, which portrayed Republicans as upset over bin Laden’s death for political reasons, offensive. How can any American be upset that an evil person of that stature is stricken from the ledgers of the living?

As to Obama’s suggestion that a President Mitt Romney would have been too weak to have ordered the raid on the compound in Abbottabad, such an attack is a political dirty trick to the nth degree. When are candidates going to learn that the public is not enamored of negative politics?

David Frank, Phoenixville

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