Readers Respond

Monday, February 21, 2005

My Grandfather's clock

To The Editor:

As my father grew older, he thought it was time to part with one of his favorite possessions - his father's watch. It's no ordinary watch, by today's standards, it's not only huge, it's not digital - after many years of working for the railroad they gave my Grandfather this large gold watch. His name was Patrick Naughton, I did not know him well as he was always working - at times and for many years 17 hours a day - that's how this country was built. On the back and sweat of others.

I, and my father never have used this watch - we only look at it to see if we can see Patrick, the memories that he left. One clear memory for my father is that they always had bread and water on the table - no one went hungry. Although my father and I never really knew Patrick, he left his mark - he and many men from such diverse backgrounds got us to where we are today. He is what I would call a hero, the everyday man, a man that went off to work in CC Camps - never left his family, never left the railroad that he cared for so much. So, what would he think of the closing of a railroad?

Every country has a railroad, I have travelled throughout all of Europe and some of Eastern Europe, Asia as well as Southeast Asia - they have less money than we, but they all have a railroad. So, what would my Grandfather say to President Bush - the words would be short and to the point - that's the kind of man he was, most likely he would say: "Are you Crazy!"

Not everyone can afford Air Force One, it looks nice and large - I guess you could even say "Stately," but does it stop in Doylestown, Levitown or even Pittsburgh - when it's not on a Republican campaign tour? What a train brings to the many states in this country is beyond the exchange of culture, adventure, (forget about romantic, Amtrak is always late) families - did I say families - yes it brings families and friends together. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, to surprise visits with loved ones. When my one sister was near death, Amtrack got me to her bedside - she lived. So, back to the main question; " What would my Grandfather say?"

It's true there is a large amount of financial waste that needs to be addressed, but you address it - as you do with Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. You just don't throw cash into the wind which (as above) seems to be an American Policy - International Affairs, and Domestic ones seem to be a weak spot in the current administration. If we can rebuild Iraq, why can't we rebuild America?

In President Bush's first term, he made a bold vision of how we are going back to the Moon - did we forget someone? Did we leave something behind? Why are we going to the Moon when we can't even make it to Cleveland, think about it - are we going to rebuild the Moon? I could write forever but,"What would my Grandfather say"? Will someone from Amtrak call and ask for his watch back?

The forced bankruptcy of Amtrak would in turn force others to close their doors, small business which generally keeps America afloat would slowly sink, they in turn would go on some form of public assistance, some families might even break up because of this - stress can destroy the strongest of hearts. Yes, it's true we voted for this - but did we know the details. However if you were to read the Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta's statement, "We can't afford to continue to waste money this way..." and it's true there has been waste. There has also been "Non Investment" in relationship to the amount of aid (some call it bribes) that we give other countries. Amtrak has been around for about 35 years, less than $1 billion a year - in the same 35 years how much did we give to the Middle East?... For the past 35 years we have poured money on the fires in the Middle East as if it were water, and North Korea is next.

It's the ol trickle down, trickle up story - what the Bush budget does not address is both the deficit and the human cost. What would my Grandfather say? Something like this; "You mean I worked all my life, never knew my children or my wife - I died young so that you may live a better life." Made in America.

John Patrick Naughton, via e-mail

Democrats' opportunity

To The Editor:

Patrick Murphy, Michael Gronstal and I, Thomas Ellis want to thank all those who spent many long hours of hard work and effort and other local candidates during this last election. While our party came up short in the presidential race, your dedication made a critical difference in changing the direction of our state.

On November 3rd, Iowans woke up to a state legislature dramatically altered in partisan balance. Democrats are now just two seats away from holding a majority in the Iowa House after electing four new Democrats to their chamber. In the Iowa Senate, Democrats broke an eight-year Republican majority by winning five races, creating a historic 25-25 tie in their chamber. None of these victories could have been achieved without your dedication to the Democratic Cause.

In the coming year, we look forward to advancing our common values by renewing the state's commitment on jobs, health care and education. Restoring the Iowa Values Fund, expanding access to quality, affordable health care, and providing our teachers and students with the tools they need to succeed will be our top priority for the state's agenda. By investing in a well-educated, healthy workforce and attracting and maintaining good-paying jobs across the state will continue the Democrats' leading role in making Iowa a great place to live, work, and raise a family...

As we look ahead to the future, we will again count on your determination in recruiting outstanding local community leaders to run for a higher office. We cannot build on the success we enjoyed together in 2004 and complete the task of winning Democratic majorities in the Iowa Legislature without the timeless loyalty and enthusiasm of local Democrats across the state... I invite you to attend the Iowa Democrats Off-Year Caucus Saturday, February 19 at 10 a.m. at the Storm Lake Middle School Media Center. It is important that everyone comes to this event.

- Tom Ellis, BV County Democratic Chair