Fighting Swine Flu
The rapid spread of swine flu around the world has indeed rung alarm bells about how to prepare for a pandemic [May 18]. Aside from wearing masks and taking care of personal hygiene, we must take action to make sure animal farms are clean and tidy and not hosts to dangerous strains of influenza.
A. Jacob Sahayam,
The Life of the Grand Old Party
Your story on the GOP's risk of extinction squarely addresses the Republicans' problems of connecting with voters but neglects to address the fact that, save Barack Obama, the Democrats are not in any better shape [May 18]. Remove the highly popular President from the Democratic equation, and that party, as evidenced by the previous Congress's approval ratings, is even less popular than George W. Bush. For all the cataclysmic talk about the GOP, the Democrats are one person away from being in the same boat.
Cliffside Park, N.J., U.S.
Michael Grunwald's analysis of the sorry state of the Republican Party is the best of many I have read. But he assigns insufficient blame to the figurehead of the party for eight years, Bush, whose faith-based leadership alienated many who believe in secular government. His obstinacy in the face of evolving public opinion in favor of stem-cell research, equality for same-sex couples and women's reproductive rights underscored his failure to feel the pulse of modern America. Most of all, his my-way-or-the-highway foreign policy made the U.S. a global pariah.
Mountainside, N.J., U.S.
Since November's elections, Republican state legislative candidates have won 10 special elections besting Democrats in Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina and Texas. It should be noted that the seat won in Delaware represents parts of Vice President Joe Biden's hometown. While others may be waiting for the Virginia and New Jersey 2009 gubernatorial elections as bellwethers for 2010, we have been focusing on rebuilding the party from the grass roots up through recruiting, training and supporting down-ballot candidates for state office. The party has a bright future. It is being built in the states where the next generation of leaders is winning elections by advancing new ideas while adhering to conservative principles. The plight of Republicans in Washington does not reflect the true standing of the party. To paraphrase Mark Twain, we believe the reports of the Republican Party's demise are greatly exaggerated.
Scott Ward, President, Republican State Leadership Committee,
Alexandria, Va., U.S.
As a former GOP county chairman, I firmly agree that the Republican Party is toast, but what exactly do you expect will happen once the GOP is relegated to history's trash bin? That we'll all live in peace and harmony and sing "Kumbaya" together?
Dayton, Nevada, U.S.
My take on the abysmal state of the GOP is a grab bag: the sea of rapturous pink-faced men in suits at last year's Republican Convention, the noxious fumes emitted by Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin speaking of her gay friend's "choice," the endless seven minutes of Bush sitting still during the onset of 9/11, pretty much any comment from Dick Cheney. When Obama was elected, many of the millions who voted for him wept from a mixture of deep relief and optimism only to be mocked afterward by Republican pundits, who would begrudge Obama anything. When will they get it? As the Democrats remain in the ascendancy, I, for one, hope the GOP never does.
I am old and can remember when some Republicans were statesmen who cared about our country, its people and its future. They disappeared in 1980. I want to see them back again.
Donald A. Williams,
Chapel Hill, N.C., U.S.
Pope Benedict in the Holy Land
Re "The Pontiff and The Jews" [May 18]: Pope Benedict XVI is doing his job as a spiritual leader by recognizing both the Israelis and the Palestinians and their religions. Let's not use the past to sabotage the future of the peace initiative in the Middle East.
While being ruled by so-called moderate Muslims, the Christians in Bethlehem have been mistreated and forced to flee. Pope Benedict knows that Israel is the only place in the Middle East where Christians are safe, free and growing. He also knows that the so-called two-state solution, in its current form, would lead to the annihilation of Israel. I pray Roman Catholics will challenge the Vatican to change direction on this very dangerous, self-destructive road it is traveling.
Franklin, Mich., U.S.