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Mandela may have been a great man, but he wasn’t a saint

Saturday, December 21, 2013
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Mandela may have been a great man, but he wasn’t a saint

Regarding the hagiographic commentary on Nelson Mandela Dec. 14 [from the Albuquerque Journal], we should remember that the miracle of Mandela is that he was a human being, not a saint.

South Africans are first to point this out because they are proud that one of their own had the dedication to a single cause, persistence in the face of a brutal regime, and a phenomenal ability to forgive that regime after his release from prison. They do not hold him up as an icon of nonviolence like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In his book, “Conservations with Myself,” Mandela says that although he initially espoused Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent philosophy, his experience with the unrelenting cruelty and violence of the nationalist government led him to realize that nonviolent methods alone would be insufficient to dislodge the apartheid government. His involvement with the carefully considered violent actions of the “Spear of the Nation” militant wing of the African National Congress led to his lifetime prison sentence.

Throughout his activist period and his imprisonment, Mandela and his then-wife, Winnie, realized that a normal family life must necessarily be sacrificed to the cause. Mandela’s matter-of-fact letters to his young children show that his priorities lay with his greater family, the black people of South Africa, the oppression of whom could not be relieved by an ordinary man content to live an ordinary life.

Mandela’s extraordinary ability to mobilize and inspire his followers — and indeed the world — while he was behind bars was ultimately responsible for the downfall of the hated apartheid system. His negotiations with the white regime that put in place a new government respecting the positions of blacks, whites and coloreds constitute one of the signal achievements of the 20th century, as the Nobel committee recognized in awarding him its 1993 Peace Prize, along with F.W. de Klerk.

His abilities to forgive and to forge a new South Africa are his legacy, the legacy of a man — not a saint — who, one must hope, will not be the last of his kind.

Karen J. Watkins

Schenectady

Obamacare fought by GOP for good reason

Don Steiner’s Dec. 12 letter discussed the “noble” efforts of the Obama administration relative to the handling of their premier piece of domestic legislation, the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare” as it is often called.

It is one the biggest legislative efforts of the last 50-plus years. It also passed the U.S. House of Representatives without a single vote from the GOP. That is quite an accomplishment. The Democrats passed major, life-defining legislation without a single vote from the opposition, who represent a large tract of the national populace. So I guess this is what the administration calls “bipartisanship.”

Mr. Steiner admits the program’s rollout has been disastrous. Did it ever occur to him that the reason is the fact it is an incredibly poor, if not dangerous, piece of legislation? Computer glitches are not just the issue; the problems are myriad and seem to grow every day. Now that he, and many others in the electorate, have agreed there are major issues, can he ask himself this: Is it either a sign of mass incompetence by the administration, or an act of outright betrayal on their behalf?

Perhaps they knew what could happen to thousands of people who were satisfied with the insurance they had. What the truth is I certainly don’t know, but in either case it is a debacle of the highest order.

On whom does Mr. Steiner place the vitriol? The GOP. The party that said this piece of legislation should not be put into place, and did so right to the very end.

Do you think that maybe the “obstructionists,” as he labeled them, may have been on to something?

Daniel Casey

Charlton

Revolution needed for us to reclaim government

Re Ric Wells’ Dec. 16 letter, [“Voters must band together to replace government”]: I would ask you to run it daily for the next two weeks. It really needs wide exposition to open the eyes of the American electorate.

This is the second revolution that must happen if we are to stay the end of America as we know it. Checks and balances must be restored. Consent of the governed must dominate. Government of the people, by the people and for the people must be restored.

James Madison said a constitutional government can only prevail in a moral society. Since the late ’50s, we have been traveling a dark road.

The question is, can America reclaim the pioneer spirit?

Raymond Franklin

Schenectady

NSA is hardly the only one spying on us

Everyone is upset about the NSA spying on us.

Have you used your computer lately? Open a website and your profile goes out to businesses — where you shop, vacation, etc.

Then open your email and see the companies that know everything about you.

Peter Grippo

Rotterdam

Letters Policy

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There is no strict word limit, though letters under 200 words are preferred.

All letters are subject to editing for length, style and fairness, and we will run no more than one letter per month from the same writer.

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comments

December 21, 2013
8:40 a.m.
+0 votes
Phils2008 says...

Daniel, the Republicans had a number of ideas to improve the system and the Democrats would have none of it. Why, because the plan from the start was a single payer system that the Government would run. It would be just one more program created to ensure a broader spectrum of dependency under Democrat rule. Dont think for one minute that people like Don care that the people they send to Washington don't have a shred of integrity. He will dismiss the lies, the scandals and the cover-ups to ensure a handout. Yes Obama lied, Reid and Pelosi lied, and all the Democrats like Schumer and Gillibrand promoted the lie to the American people to get it passed. The People that knew it was destructive, knew it was a lie and knew it was bad for America, were and are branded obstructionists. I guess the march to Socialism and self destruction should go forward unabated. If Cruz and Paul can stand firm against a liberal media and vitriolic left maybe that large tract of populace will yet be saved.

December 21, 2013
5:56 p.m.
+0 votes
ronzo says...

Daniel: The ACA was passed by a feeble Democrat controlled Congress, and a weak White House that didn’t have the guts to legislate Medicare Part E, as in "E" for everyone in this country. That's what made it truly a poor piece of legislation. I am angered that the Wall St. oriented insurance companies have no problem making a profit from my health or lack of health, at my expense, to feed their profits that deny me and my family medical services, allowing only services that they decide I will receive, for their egregious premiums. Hopefully these “glitches” and ACA implementation missteps will be for the good, and Americans will realize that healthcare for all, what the no backbone Democrats couldn’t accomplish is in the best interests of America and will come to fruition. It would not surprise me if all these faux-pas are intentional as an after the fact realization that the dumb Democrats and dumber Obama administration finally realizes the consequences of not passing a single payer health care law.

December 21, 2013
6:38 p.m.
+0 votes
Phils2008 says...

Right Ronzo. Who exactly is that single payer? Is that just some abstraction to you?
When you lefties extend benefits to illegals you will literally crush that single payer guy. You know, that middle class guy who's working his a@# off to pay all the other stinking tax dollars you're bleeding out of him. The only people that still think this is in the best interest of the country are the diehard lemmings who swear Obama really is the Messiah.

December 21, 2013
7:42 p.m.
+0 votes
ronzo says...

Phils2008: The cost of health care for all should be born by EVERYONE. And that includes all the corporations and multi-billionaires who hide their assets in places outside the USA, avoiding their share of contribution that you, me and others, are responsible for, and pay willingly or unwillingly, because our tax laws favor them, and not you and me. As a result, that burdens people like you and me. We make our contribution while just trying to scratch out living, while paying our unfair share of the cost to keep EVERYONE in America somewhat like our Founders might have hoped we could all be. So the single payer is US – as in the U.S.A. – all of US.

December 22, 2013
6:55 a.m.
+0 votes
Phils2008 says...

ronzo, it should be born by all of us because you say it should? Again you manifest some "right" simply because you want something. Then because you cant pay for that something you want, you decide I should help you pay for it. I have a right to protect myself. That's a health issue. I want a gun and I think you should help pay for that. Why is that different? Oh yea now I remember. You people on the left decide what our rights are, not the Constitution. A right to a lefty is synonymous with want. It's just about time that lefties pay for lefty wants and let the rest of us alone..

December 22, 2013
7:43 p.m.
+0 votes
wmarincic says...

Ronzo the top 10% pay 70% of the taxes now. How about we go to a flat tax system with zero deductions. You libs love to throw that crap around that the top earners don't pay their fair share. It sounds good to the clueless but it is untrue. Why is success such a bad word now? When I grew up success was the goal. There is more than enough income generated by the useless government in taxes to have free healthcare for all. Lets cut the duplicate and crap programs. Lets stop with all of the giveaways to foreign governments that hate us. Lets take cable tv out of the prisons and those on welfare. Lets get rid of the teachers and public employee unions for everyone other than law enforcement and fire because of lawsuits. Lets just cut wasted spending, but you libs won't do that because that us the only way your people get votes.

December 23, 2013
7 a.m.
+0 votes
ronzo says...

wmarincic: the top 10% pay 70% of the taxes because they earn more than the bottom 70%. And there's all those corporations that are on welfare - they pay NO taxes but receive government services that you and I pay for. I totally agree with you about giveaways to foreign governments, cable TV in prisons, and ALL municipal worker unions including fire and police workers. What makes cops and firefighters so special? It's just a public service job. They scam the pension system the same as the ditch digger. I'm all for cutting wasted spending not only at the federal level, but especially at the local level, where the duplicate and crap programs are everywhere and the waste is encouraged by people of all political affiliations, especially here in upstate NY which is mostly hypocrite Republican. Since I agree a lot with you, what does that make you? A liberal by association?

December 23, 2013
8:21 a.m.
+0 votes
BROBERTS1 says...

Ronzo, What makes ccps and firefighters so special? Who runs into your burning house to save your family? Who do you call when you hear someone breaking into your house? Who shows up when your wife & kids are hurt in an accident?

December 23, 2013
8:34 a.m.
+0 votes
wmarincic says...

The police and fire because they are in life and death situations every day. They are being sued constantly because they are being blamed for doing something or being blamed that they didn't do something.

December 23, 2013
8:51 a.m.
+0 votes
ronzo says...

So you guys favor an exception to the pension system scam. It's OK for cops and firefighters to scam the taxpayers, but not OK for anyone else who performs a municipal job. And those unions. They're OK for cops and firefighters but no one else? That's a double standard. All municipal workers are equal in that regard. No exceptions. No wonder why we disagree. You are inconsistent.

December 23, 2013
9:15 a.m.
+0 votes
BROBERTS1 says...

Ronzo, You think every cop & firefighter scams the system? My dad worked as a city firefighter for 25 years for Schenectady and his pension is hardly enough for my mom to get by on. You put all firefighters & cops in the same group as a small few that do scam the system.

December 23, 2013
10:02 a.m.
+0 votes
ronzo says...

BROBERTS1: I do not believe that all firefighters and cops scam the system. I do put firefighters and cops in the same group as other municipal workers relative to unions in response to wmarincic's statement about public employee unions that scam the taxpayers. And they are allowed and even encouraged by municipal leaders to get away with it. That's the hypocrisy about the right wing local government leaders and their followers here in upstate NY who create, sponsor, perpetuate and refuse to give up their big bloated multi-levels of local government, have no problem stuffing their bloated government cost to the taxpayers, yet loudly voice their opposition to the largesse of the Federal government. Hypocrites.

December 23, 2013
6:15 p.m.
+0 votes
Phils2008 says...

ronzo, who are all these right wing local Government leaders? Seems to me Albany Schenectady and Troy are, and have been, run by Democrats for as long as I can remember. Unions scamming the taxpayers do so because they vote Democrat. Their power is derived from the vote they promise Democrat politicians. The hypocrite here is the guy trying to put this on the right. Living in dream land doesn't change the fact that unions are the liberals money trough. And before you start bashing fireman and Policemen, just remember you lefties dont want anyone to protect themselves. You want everyone to call the cops(to mitigate liberal cowardice), so maybe you should show a little more respect.

December 23, 2013
6:35 p.m.
+0 votes
Phils2008 says...

ronzo, what parts of this are wrong?
http://thehill.com/opinion/dick-morris/1...

December 24, 2013
12:35 a.m.
+0 votes
amermike says...

Phil-right wing government leader is an oxymoron.

December 24, 2013
7:01 a.m.
+0 votes
ronzo says...

Phils2008: Are you having difficulty comprehending my statements? I am totally against public worker unions and how they scam taxpayers. I have not bashed firefighters and policemen, even though some of them are part of the taxpayer scam through their strong unions. I am totally against their worker union, not against any of them and the jobs they perform. And the right wing government leaders? I am not aware of many right wing city leaders, since cities tend to lean liberal because of the makeup of the populace. I'm referring to all the layers of government in a county in addition to cities. Villages within towns, towns within counties, multiple fire and police departments, multiple school districts, highway departments, layers and layers of government and burearacracy within a single county; in most of upstate NY governed by right wing politicians who gladly slam the taxpayers with their bureaucratic government largess, then bash the "liberal" Federal government for doing the same. You sound like a city dweller who might want to better understand government administration in New York State outside of cities, and how that byzantine form of government negatively affects the taxpayers.

 

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