Civility in American politics? It’s rarely existed

To the editor:

I have read with some interest a few letters to the editor recently lamenting the lack of civility in today’s political arena and expressing a vague longing to return to the gentility of the past.

I would like to direct the attention of those folks to the election of 1800, in which Thomas Jefferson’s camp accused opponent John Adams of having “a hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force nor firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.” In return, Adams’ men called Vice President Jefferson “a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.”

The Jefferson-Adams brouhaha is small potatoes compared to a duel in 1804 in which Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton over long-standing, bitter personal and political differences.

It appears that our current politicians are but mere pikers by comparison and cannot hold a candle to our founders either in terms of intellect, honesty, slanderous political invective or murderous rage.

Bob Glover

Las Vegas

Got gas?

To the editor:

Whenever the price of gas went up during the Bush administration, we heard howls from the left about how King George was enriching his oil buddies. As I watch the price of gas creep up (like it does each year around this time), I can only surmise that Mr. Bush’s former friends are now Barack Obama’s buddies. What else can explain this increase?

Don Dieckmann


Litter bugs

To the editor:

The litter on the sidewalks in front of some of our grandest hotels on Las Vegas Boulevard is a disgusting thing for our tourists to see.

We all know the litter is caused by people discarding the sexually oriented leaflets and handbills, handed to them by the smut peddlers. So why is this situation allowed to continue?

Our Legislature and our county commissioners don’t have the backbone to battle the smut peddlers with a law that would stop this practice. They always claim that it would be a violation of the First Amendment to try to stop the smut peddlers. But what does our right to free speech have to do with the right of these low-lifes to hand out this garbage that becomes so much litter?

Wilson J. Matos

Las Vegas

Unsavory past

To the editor:

In her Saturday letter, Elizabeth Cook claims that “Nevada was founded on illiterate miners, drunks, prostitutes and crooked politicians.” Perhaps … and the same could be said of most states in the western United States. However, forgive me if I take offense at Ms. Cook’s words, since my great-grandfather was one of those “illiterate miners” who, in spite of what Ms. Cook perceives as shortcomings, managed to raise a family that included my grandfather.

While my grandfather’s rustic provincial manner would have, no doubt, offended Ms. Cook’s sensibilities, he managed to start his own mining business to support his family. My father, who started his career as a miner and ended it as a geologist, put four children through college — all of whom are now taxpaying professionals.

It’s clear that Ms. Cook finds the Mountain West’s past unsavory, but she will have to wait a very long time if she expects the descendants of those unsavory characters to apologize for it.

JIm Hodge


About the kids

To the editor:

I read with interest the letter from Cole Walker about how passing health care reform will destroy America (Review-Journal, Saturday). Health care reform “has the potential to be more damaging to our country than 9/11,” Mr. Walker wrote.

Jeez. We’d better start building a new Gitmo to imprison all those children with disabilities who will now have health insurance.

Jon Tilley


Nice work

To the editor:

Sen. Richard Durbin, the Illinois Democrat, wrote a letter to the editor of your newspaper in response to your Feb. 25 editorial (“Reid fumbles”). You had made the observation that Sen. Durbin had never “worked a day in the private sector as an adult.” He rebutted this statement by saying he was previously the co-owner and manager of a restaurant in Springfield, Ill., and later owned and managed a small law firm.

I called Sen. Durbin’s Springfield office and asked one of his staff members which restaurant he had managed. The woman said he didn’t “manage,” but that he was one of the owners of the Crow’s Mill restaurant, along with 10 other people, mainly professors at a local university. I had been to that restaurant, and neither I nor anyone I have talked to ever recalled seeing Sen. Durbin in the restaurant dealing with the operations.

What he calls a “manager,” I call an “investor.”

Sue Patterson

Springfield, Ill.

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