God Bless America

The People’s Weekly World headline of Feb. 2 poses the question “whose America” was President George Bush speaking to in his State of the Union address?

Since then hundreds of people have been raising the same question, in street conversations, in letters to editors and on talk shows.

Was he talking to the mass of working-class Americans? Obviously not. I think most agree that he was talking to corporate America.

It is this kind of hoopla and the thought of the President, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld that brought to mind my good old friend, Jennie Wells, a folk singer from New Mexico. Her rendition of the patritic song “God Bless America” goes like this:

“God Bless America, which one do you mean? Is it North or South or Central, the ones in between?

God Bless the Americas, which God do you mean? Is it your God or my God or a God that remains unseen?

Is it the rain God, or the war God, the dollar God or the dove of peace?

God bless America with peace and love.”

Our country is truly a multinational and multicultural nation. Further, I believe most of us choose Peace over War. The year 2002 will offer the opportunity for all to ensure Peace.

Lorenzo Torrez

Tucson AZ

Shorter workweek

In this recessionary time, we need to raise the issues of the shorter workweek and Jobs or Income Now with renewed vigor. Also, an ongoing discussion about socialism, what it means, how it relates to today’s struggles, and what forms it might take in the USA should be a regular aspect of the PWW’s coverage.

Thanks for all that you do. Keep up the great work – our country needs you!

Tim Feeman

Ardmore PA

An urgent plea from a father

My son, Roman, was paralyzed from a college football injury. Roman, and hundreds of thousands of others, finally have hope for recovery as a result of stem cell research.

But a bill sponsored by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) threatens to stop this research. By banning all types of cloning, including therapeutic cloning, SB-1899 would make stem cell research almost impossible.

Better legislation is available now. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), for example, has a good bill. Her bill would eliminate reproductive cloning, but keep therapeutic cloning, the healing science America needs. Her bill would throw out the bad, while keeping the good.

In the next few days, the U.S. Senate will decide if this most promising avenue of cure should be legal or not – in other words, whether my son will ever be cured or not.

You can help defeat SB-1899 by sending an e-mail or by calling your senators (it is too late for letters).

Please act quickly – time is of the essence.

Don Reed


Dubious distinction

The following is a letter I sent to the editor of the New York Times Book Review Section, although they didn’t print it:

While in his review (Feb. 17) of Caleb Carr’s The Lessons of Terror, Michael Ignatieff makes the traditional distinction between atrocities committed by governments and private groups, his and the author’s comparisons to John Brown and General Sherman are dubious.

John Brown’s attacks on pro-slavery settlers in Kansas were in retaliation for attacks by pro slavery gun thugs on free state settlers in what became a dressrehearsal for the Civil War.

His most famous attack was on the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, whose supplies he sought to capture as part of a plan to organize a slave insurrection.

Brown should legitimately be seen as a guerrilla and, to use a term often applied recklessly by U.S. media to the enemies of goverments the U.S. opposes, a freedom fighter.

Also, while I might agree with Ignatieff’s defense of Sherman’s burning of Atlanta as part of a just war, I don’t think the fact that it sanctioned by a government necessarily makes it justified.

In fact, if the great powers of the day, England and France, which generally favored the Confederate side in the U.S. Civil War, had intervened to cause of Confederate victory, as the NATO powers intervened in Yugoslavia to support separatists and dismember the country, Sherman and his commander-in chief, Abraham Lincoln might have been put on trial for war crimes.

Norman Markowitz

New Brunswick NJ