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Letters from our readers

Issue: "Not over till it's over," Nov. 1, 2008

Simply captivated

Congratulations on a balanced presentation of Gov. Sarah Palin ("Northern light," Sept. 20). I watched the speech and was simply captivated by this woman and what she represents for the country and for women in general. I relished how she handled the criticism and outright lies from the "drive-by media." I not only believe that she would make a great vice president, I believe that she would make a great ­president.
-Joe Gates; Mount Prospect, Ill.

You wrote that the fact that some are questioning Palin's ability to balance work and home life is "an indication that most people inherently recognize gender distinctions" ("Working mom," Sept. 20). With all due respect, I cannot disagree more. "People" are asking only because Sarah Palin is a Republican. Our partisan media would never consider asking the same question of female Democrats. Did Geraldine Ferraro, Nancy Pelosi, or Hillary Clinton ever face this question? On the contrary, the media were too busy breathlessly praising their "historic" campaigns to inquire about any impact on their maternal duties.
-Robert C.W. Birmingham; Toledo, Ohio

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I am so angry with liberal female journalists who presume to judge the homes of other women who have a different worldview. Perhaps they would be applauding if Palin and her daughter had aborted the "inconvenient" children in their lives.
-Lynn Lewis; Port Orange, Fla.

The article on Palin was excellent. It was the first I have read that did not run her down.
-Madeleine Frame; Oxford, Pa.

Cruel enough

Your article was almost more than I could bear to read ("He who hesitates is saved," Sept. 20). Yes, create barriers that make suicide more difficult to carry out, but do not add a greater burden to those who remain. Two of my friends committed suicide in 2006. It was very painful for me but almost unbearable for their families. To make my friends "the object of intense scorn" would be cruel beyond words. The questions of "Why?" and "What could I have done?" are hard enough without a public display of the gross and messy nature of their deaths.
-Weldon French; Marble Falls, Texas

I recently wondered aloud what people think when they've stepped off the ledge or pulled the trigger. I never thought I would know, but your article answered the question. The fact that some people reconsider their choice to commit suicide set the stage perfectly for Marvin Olasky's arguments in favor of physical and psychological deterrents. Physical barriers may be impractical, but the sterility with which the media treat suicide may be more damaging than many realize.
-Lydia Tschappler; Falcon, Colo.

My son committed suicide a year and a half ago. For a person contemplating suicide, the threat of a detailed newspaper account will hardly overcome the powerful agonies of living. Only the power of God provides the strength to carry on through a shipwrecked life.
-Barbara Bytwerk; Coldwater, Mich.

I've never had a client suicide that I am aware of in 26 years of counseling practice, but I've often had to deal with the aftermath. The terribly painful mix of emotions surviving friends and relatives face underscores the importance of informing prospective self-killers what misery they will wreak. It is particularly troubling when the church abdicates her responsibility to stand against this violation of the sixth commandment.
-Jeffrey C. Danco; Bound Brook, N.J.

College sacrifice

Thank you for Janie B. Cheaney's column on the value of college education ("If not college, what?" Sept. 20). Unfortunately, many people in our society feel that if you don't get a college degree you will end up as a pathetic loser. I graduated from high school in 1971. When I told people I planned to join the military so I could learn a skill and see the world, they looked at me like I was out of my mind. I served in the Marines and the Navy for 24 years while many of my classmates never finished college. I think I got the better deal.
-Brian Rafferty; Jacksonville, Fla.

Our foolish world has come to worship the almighty degree. Many young people are not book learners but have incredible abilities in other areas such as the arts, mechanics, animals, plants, or computers. One mom I met was in despair because her son was doing so poorly in math, but he read advanced technical manuals, was building a jet engine in the barn, and did all the family's auto and tractor repair at age 14.
-JulieBeth Lamb; Oakdale, Calif.

Una-Ford-able

In your item on the anniversary of the Model T, you note that Henry Ford wanted to make automobiles that average Americans could afford (Looking Ahead, Sept. 20). These days, because of unions, you need the income of a union worker to afford a new car made in America, and we all know in what direction Michigan is headed. Ford would have fired them all.
-Al Wychers; Jamestown, Mich.

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