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SUNDAY, JANUARY 7, 2007
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Legislation does not amount to ‘amnesty’
To The Daily: The Decatur Daily’s editors have repeatedly asserted that the legislation being considered in the Congress and endorsed by President Bush, offering a legalization process for undocumented immigrants, is “amnesty.” That is a disappointing manifestation of prejudice and political spin by The Daily, which ordinarily demonstrates itself to be a rather progressive and enlightened newspaper.

It seems that only in the world of politics are people allowed to define words in any way they choose, altering their meaning for political expediency. I looked up “amnesty” in Webster’s dictionary. The definition is: “the act of an authority (as a government) by which pardon is granted to a large group of individuals.” Of course, that begs the question of the meaning of “pardon.” Webster’s defines it as: “The excusing of an offense without exacting a penalty.”

The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 (S. 2611), which was approved by the U.S. Senate but not by the House, and which The Daily labeled “amnesty,” in fact, proposed imposing $2,000 in fines upon undocumented immigrants seeking legalization, in addition to paying any back taxes due and a number of other requirements.

Now, one could argue whether that is a fitting penalty for entering a country illegally, but one cannot realistically state that it is not, in fact, a penalty. Therefore, according to the dictionary, upon which we all rely for clarification of the meaning of the words people often throw around so frivolously, that legislative proposal does not qualify as “amnesty.”

I encourage a reputable news source such as The Daily to strive for accuracy in its use of language, rather than indulging in the political rhetoric of twisting and distorting the meaning of words — and of legislation — for the convenience of someone’s political biases.

Rev. Gene Lankford

Collinsville

Goode’s comment was bad
To The Daily: From my native Virginia, where more presidents have sprung up, religious freedom was enshrined, the Civil War was ended and the stronghold of the religious right could not defeat a state lottery: I am appalled by the offensive comments of Rep. Virgil Goode, a fifth-term Republican. Rep. Goode attacked the Muslim congressman-elect Keith Ellison, who placed his hand on the Koran for his oath of office. Rep. Goode stated that Americans must wake up and adopt his position on immigration reform or more Muslims will be elected to office and demand the use of the Koran. Rep. Goode ascribed to the Bible.

Mr. Ellison is not an immigrant. He was reared in Detroit with an ancestry expanding over 250 years in America. He was converted to the Muslim faith while he was a college student.

What has happened to members of Congress in not exercising respect and courtesy for each other? Why is it that a wedge is drawn between the Bible and the Koran in a civil government? How will Rep. Goode relate by word and deed to the first two Buddhists elected to the House of Representatives? The federal and all state constitutions prohibit a “religious test” for public office. The United States is a diverse nation in culture, ethnicity, language, race and religion which spurs its greatness. Americans must stand upon the Constitution.

Where is the outrage against Rep. Goode? Only Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC , has objected to Rep. Goode’s statements. Where are the other Republicans opposing Mr. Goode? When Sen. John Kerry joked about poor educational quality of soldiers in Iraq, he was quickly denounced by officeholders, even from the White House. Sen. Kerry later apologized, but Rep. Goode has resisted the humble action.

Double talk and double standards mark our society.

Isaiah J. Ashe

Huntsville

Can’t fire elected officials
To The Daily: I am amazed at the ignorance of the people of Morgan County. I read in your paper about firing the sheriff, commissioners and the revenue commissioner over this e-mail issue. These people are elected officials. They can only be turned out of office by election or an investigation that would result in a citizen filing an ethics complaint against them.

I wonder what Sheriff Greg Bartlett and Revenue Commissioner Amanda Scott are hiding. This will probably come down to a big contest among three people who can’t stand each other.

Tim Crow

Priceville

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