Sustain a culture that puts value on labor, liberty
As an immigrant, I find Nathan Bierma's failure to see why the United States should maintain a culture that is Anglo-Protestant at its core baffling ("The phony threat of immigration," Opinion * Commentary, June 2).
It is Anglo-Protestant culture that values freedom and individual rights, rewards individuals on the basis of their merit and hard work rather than on birthright, and gives immigrants both rich and poor the opportunity to succeed.
Anglo-Protestant values form the foundations of our Constitution and our Bill of Rights. They are the basis of the work ethic that has allowed Americans, both natural-born and naturalized, to become the most prosperous people in the world.
They shape our notions of charity, prompting us to give more than $100 billion a year to charitable organizations.
Immigrants fly across oceans, walk across deserts, hide in cramped containers and often risk their lives in order to take part in our culture. Allowing its Anglo-Protestant core to disappear would do a disservice not only to native-born Americans, but to immigrants and foreign-born citizens as well.
Another argument for learning English?
An attorney for one of the Hispanic men being held for the murder of three children states that "there is the possibility the statement had some problems in translation" ("Attorneys fight back for 2 held in killings," June 2). He says further that this is "always an issue when translators are involved" and that "different dialects of Spanish might have confused a translation."
Could this possibly be the best argument yet for immigrants to learn English, the common language of their newly adopted country?
Internationalism a pose for president
KAL's May 30 editorial cartoon depicting a non-debate between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry on Iraq misses (as most commentators have) a very important distinction between the candidates.
Mr. Kerry has responsibly refused to advocate a precipitous change of course for fear of worsening our tenuous position in Iraq. Early on, however, he advocated greater international cooperation in resolving the situation. It is President Bush's recent conversion to internationalism that has diminished the distance between the candidates.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, instead of cultivating international cooperation in an effort to combat terrorism, the Bush administration impulsively chose a nearly unilateral military adventure. As a result, eliciting the assistance of the international community in Iraq will now be difficult indeed.
While welcome, Mr. Bush's new emphasis on international cooperation is tactical - just another situational improvisation.
In Mr. Kerry's case, the internationalism is strategic, reflecting an understanding that the truly important challenges we face - security, poverty and pollution - can be effectively addressed only through international cooperation.
David L. Hollander
The wrong symbol to welcome us home
As the cab driver quoted in The Sun asked, in reference to Jonathan Borofsky's sculpture in front of Pennsylvania Station ("The Big Question," June 3): "Did anyone ask the people of Baltimore if they want this thing here?" We know the answer is no.
First of all, the statue is in front of the wrong railroad station; it should be in the dell at Mount Royal Station - that way we would only have to look at the head of the "Male/Female" sculpture.
If we need something in front of Pennsylvania Station, Baltimore is famous for some well-known products. Why not a 60-foot can of McCormick pepper, or the famous blue jar of Noxzema, or better yet, how about a 60-foot frosty can of National Bohemian beer to welcome you home from an out-of-town trip?
R. A. Bacigalupa
Hold a referendum on station sculpture
Could we please put this "gift" on the November ballot ("Borofsky creates 'spiritual' giant for Penn Station," June 3)? Vote "yes" and the sculpture stays at Penn Station; vote "no" and it goes to a space between two storage tanks.
Sculpture provides color, moments of joy
I truly like and enjoy the massive new sculpture looming in front of Pennsylvania Station ("The Big Question," June 3).
Jonathan Borofsky's "Male/Female" sculpture is elegant, accessible and aesthetically pleasing. The blinking light at the center of the figure's "heart" lends a playful dash of color to an otherwise slate-gray landscape. And this artwork does wonders for me as a daily commuter racing for the train, because it injects some joy and playfulness into an ordinary day.
I'm sure many people will say the $750,000 commission could have been better spent on Baltimore's humanitarian needs. But we need art, too, and this piece fits that bill.
Not the end of oil, but changing market
I applaud The Sun's series "Fueling Trouble" (May 28-May 31), but it perpetuates a myth.
The coming crisis in oil is not of the end of oil - that is many decades away. It is the change from a buyer's market to a seller's market for oil. The demand for oil will exceed the supply of oil soon, certainly before the end of the decade.
Gasoline for $5 per gallon at the American pump is now quite likely within the life of cars now on the road.
Such changes cause economic disruptions. Such disruptions are much worse if they are not faced and actions not taken.
It's cruel to stomp on helpless cicadas
Although I am not a Brood X "Cicada hugger," I was appalled at what The Sun's article "Cicadas' arrival triggers weighty talks with kids" (June 2) says about the human race. It's not just children who are taking delight in stomping on these insects; this is happening everywhere.
While I understand the revulsion many people feel toward these large flying creatures, they are harmless. And, actually, I find them beautiful, with their big red eyes and cellophane-like wings.
Apparently, our species has been hard-wired to kill the weak and helpless on contact. Even though the parents of cicada-crushing youngsters attempt to change attitudes about life and death, we need to look deeper for answers.