`Racial profiling'

I always enjoy Woody Klein's opinions, but I disagree with his attempt at a simplistic racial profiling of the congressional disagreements.

I don't deny that racism still exists in this country, including individuals of every color at our highest levels of government, but I disagree with the focus of your article.

Nothing better than Democracy!

Bob Corroon

Westport

Liberal agenda, not race

I take strong exception to Woody Klein's piece that President Barack Obama's race is the reason for his failures as president.

I did not vote for Obama, but I desperately wanted to. The reasons why I wanted to, is because I was raised by my father who was appointed by Gov. Dewey in 1946 to become the first commissioner to enforce the first antidiscrimination laws passed in this country. He worked to break down the discrimination practices by many business like the telephone company which did not allow black women to work with white women and he also was instrumental in getting the Dodgers to allow Jacky Robinson to play. I saw first hand how evil and destructive racial discrimination can be.

For this country, predominately white, to elect overwhelmingly a black man president shows how far we have progressed as a nation in my lifetime. I also believe Obama is a great role model for blacks. He has showed them that through education, learning to speak well, not blaming others one can succeed and even reach the highest office in the land.

Why I did not vote for Obama was that he was the most liberal senator in congress and his strong anything goes, late-term views on abortions. I believed he would govern as president the same way he voted and spoke in congress and before in Chicago. I believe I was right and the reasons why many are against him both the public and congressmen is not his race but his effort to steer the county to the far left as he has done his whole life.

Woody, playing the race card only inflames what race issues there are and servers no purpose and to blame Americans for being against Obama and his wish for the government to be more intrusive in our lives is wrong.

It is his liberal agenda, not his race!

Peter Reiss

Westport

Dear friends

and neighbors:

Just one month ago on Feb. 2, 21 days after a devastating earthquake hit Haiti, our community and its children took action to "Swim for Haiti," and raised more than $47,000 for Save the Children U.S. This could not have been possible without the efforts of Peggy Mevs, who was born in Haiti, and her husband Ronald Wimer. I personally want to thank Peggy and Ron for their leadership and organization. They gave a gift not only to the Haitian people but also to the children of Westport. It is crises such as these that remind us how small our world really can be. I am so grateful for both the opportunity to channel the concern our family had for the children of Haiti and the opportunity to teach our children that we can make a difference in the world.

As Wimer will surely agree, this quick and effective response would not have been possible without the organization and network of the Westport Weston Family Y, whose Water Rat Swim Team partnered with the boys and girls of Staples Swimming and the adults at the Westport Swim Club. As it is often said it takes a community to be successful. Cameron Bruce, a tri-captain of the Staples boys swim team, and his mother Linda Bruce; Mike Laux and his Masters swim team; and Erin Flynn and the Triathlon Training Group worked in concert with Wimer. Swimmers ranging from 7 years old to 77 years old clocked in more than 1 million yards to raise funds for the children of Haiti. Rarely has a group ranging from elementary school age children to retired adults -- without respect to religious or socio-economic boundaries -- come together to be so effective. I know that the leadership displayed by our Westport teens can be attributed to their years of involvement with the WWFY.

Wimer, in his spare time, is a co-president of the Water Rats Parents' Club and a director of the Westport Weston Family Y, where he also is chairman of the Y's Strong Kids Campaign (kicking off next month). I can think of no bigger thank you to give Wimer than to give to the Strong Kids Campaign, because while there is tragedy and devastation to respond to in our world, we as community must invest in our children to build the skills that enable them to respond to these challenges. I can think of no better example of that response than by Gwenael Apollon, general secretary of the Haiti YMCA, whose organization immediately mobilized and provided shelter to the injured and displaced in its suburban facilities. Aided by the volunteers from the Dominican Republic YMCA, members of the Haiti Y distributed food and water on the site of their destroyed Port-au-Prince facility within 48 hours of the quake. In a country where more than 50 percent of the population is under the age of 21, the YMCA movement provided vital community support and in this case emergency relief.

Thank you again Peggy, Ron and the Westport Weston Family Y members and staff for a terrific experience on Tuesday, Feb. 2. Unbelievably, at this writing yet another country has suffered an earthquake disaster. We are reminded of the blessings we all have here in this wonderful and generous community of Westport.

Lisa Krakoff

Westport

What is debate about?

Considering the depth of political passion and the high stakes involved in the health care debate, I am surprised at the lack of local commentary on the subject. At the national level there is a high-stakes poker game being played by the political parties. When his happens, neither the will of the people nor the best interests of the nation will be served. The drama is contributing to the increasing skepticism voters that either political party, the President, the Senate, or the House can be trusted.

With all the talk being about health care, It seems to me that a core issue which goes back to the earliest days of our country is being over looked. It was first debated between Federalists and Jeffersonian Republicans. The Constitution was just vague enough to allow ratification by the states even though there was a deep divide over the eventual form that the national government would take. As we have entered the 21st century, hindsight shows that the political battles that have erupted over the nature and powers of the federal government and the place of the states has largely been "won" by those who see the American experience in a European form. They do not recognize American exceptionalism in character or politics. In fact, they believe that the powers of the government originate in the State itself and not with the people. Freedom to these new Federalists, is the feeling one gets when the state is in control and charge of your life.

The Washington crowd has sought to frame this debate in terms of deficit reduction, improved national health care, inequalities in the health care system, and American business competitiveness. As this political battle is waged it is natural to ask whether increasing government involvement in individual decisions concerning personal health care and insurance, deprives citizens of some measure of their freedom. And if so, how much of that freedom are we willing to surrender and to whom? Freedom was associated in the minds of the nation's founders with the issue of taxation. It was universally believed that the power to tax was the power to enslave. As the federal government's power and will to tax has expanded, more power has been transferred from the people and the states to Washington. We have become accustomed to a national redistribution of wealth on a massive scale. The competition among states and constituencies to tap this huge national piggy bank has led to the kinds of back room political deals that are nothing short of vote buying and fraud. Washington uses the promise of money to the states in order to fashion social and education policy.

So what is this health care debate all about? Is it really about better health care or is it about money and power? My intuition tells me it is about the latter. There is presently no government social welfare program operating "in the black." Why should we believe that any new program will do any better? Someone will have to pay. There is no free lunch except in D.C. Since any money collected for health care will be dumped into the "pot" and not used exclusively for health care, this is just an income tax increase under another name. And if you think that this tax will only be paid by the "rich," then I have a bridge I'd like to show you.

Wake up, Westport and Weston.

Warren P. Joblin

Weston