Letters for March 11, 2004

Equality for gay people
Re “Gays shouldn’t get married” [RN&R, Letters, March 4]:

Denny Sauer says he has “not heard anyone state clearly what rights same-sex couples feel they are being deprived of….” In one sense, he’s right: The media have done a mediocre job of pointing out the rights and responsibilities marriage includes.

TIME magazine’s March 8 issue reports that 1,138 federal laws apply to married Americans. Many of these laws concern money: unlimited gifts and inheritances between spouses, the right to Social Security survivor benefits, veterans’ benefits to spouses. Gay couples often rear children, but usually only one of the partners is considered a legal parent. The list is long and covers every nook and cranny of our society.

Basically, the issue is simple: Gay couples forbidden to marry are strangers under the law. After decades of building lives together, they have almost no “spousal” rights. Legally married straight couples get these rights immediately.

Sauer asserts that President Bush “has been consistent and clear in his view that same-sex couples can have the same rights as married couples.” I eagerly await Bush’s proposal to create civil unions that are legally identical to marriage and apply nationwide. When Congress passes that bill, I predict the gay-marriage issue will go away.

I will not hold my breath. It’s a shame that civil disobedience seems to be the only catalyst strong enough to launch major social change in America. Abolitionists broke the law by stealing slaves from their rightful owners. Women broke the law by demanding the right to vote. Blacks broke the law by demanding a wide array of civil rights. Activist judges like those our President decries allowed Americans of different races to marry.

Never depend on “the people” to vote to surrender any perceived privileges or rights.

Ted Blackman

Bush immigration plan is liberal
Re “The Immigrant Gap” [RN&R, cover story, Feb. 19]:

After reading “The immigrant gap,” I have a question: Why do we have the obligation to subsidize another country’s birthrate, for example, Mexico’s?

Better yet, why not get rid of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and its rules and let everyone flock north and call this the United States of Mexico?

Would that satisfy the liberal element in this country which continues to fail to come up with any substantive answers (to the illegal immigration issue) on its own?

D. Conway

Social Insecurity
Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve, announced to Congress and the nation that drastic curtailments had to be made in Social Security and other “entitlements” to save the nation from financial ruin and the decline of Western Civilization into cannibalism.

The concept of entitlement is particularly amusing because it implies some kind of gift from the government to the people. In fact, Social Security is one of the few government institutions which has been more than paid for. It would be virtually impossible for the average American to collect and spend, over the course of his retirement, all the money that’s been paid, along with accrued interest, from equivalent 30-year treasury bonds.

I mention treasury bonds here because the money that was taken out of Social Security was replaced with these bonds—for the purpose of paying off everyone else’s treasury bills and bonds. The tax-paying, working public has been subjected to one of the greatest economic swindles in the history of Western civilization. FICA is no longer a retirement system, but another system of taxation to support the economic elite.

Greenspan and the other members of the economic establishment should live in terror of the day when the public gets wise and demands back the money that is rightfully—and legally—theirs. Such an event is now a strong possibility, and may even become historically inevitable.

Mike Beesley

Uncaring cops
The Reno Police Department doesn’t care about the people in this state. When a call is reported about someone doing drugs, they don’t check on the call, and that isn’t right.

They are supposed to protect and serve. The people in Reno get nothing except empty promises. Will anyone step forward and help with the drug problem? RPD isn’t stepping forward.

R. Bartly

Petrochemical poet
Gasoline prices have increased a lot—
Causing most of us to get boiling hot.
Why, oh why, has this happened to us?
How can we drive the family bus?
Must be the awful OPEC, in collusion—
With Big Bad Oil, a logical conclusion.
But Big Bad Oil is you and me,
Stockholders in this land so free.
One big part of the gasoline price—
Is due to taxing, a government device—
To fund a lot of things we don’t need—
But feeds each month the political greed.
Meanwhile the USA is the only one,
That bans offshore drilling from dawn to dawn.
This drives oil companies to a distant shore—
As the world constantly calls for more.

Ellis T. Hammett