You can't shut out half of America Dear Editor: I hadn't paid much attention to the Opinion page of your paper as I was sure it was staffed by die hard conservatives, but the first paragraph of (Doug Murphy's) Feb. 8 column ("Is it McCain or losing power that freaks out Rush and others?") grabbed me and I read the whole thing. I think you hit the nail on the head. The strident screech of the ultra-right talk show hosts is, I hope, wearing thin with some of the Republicans. As for their "John McCain is trying to destroy or change the Republican Party" theory, he certainly would be justified after the shenanigans they pulled in South Carolina (and other places) in 2000. What they are not grasping is that McCain, if he wins, will govern a country that includes a large contingent of Democrats. We live here too! I believe that John McCain understands that in a way that Bush did not. The worst thing that can happen to this country is not a John McCain presidency, not a Hillary Clinton presidency nor a Barack Obama presidency. The worst thing is for either side to abandon the feelings and hopes of the other side and become the strident hate mongering extremists that have turned the America and the world crazy in the last few decades. Democrats and Republicans have to understand that there are two sides to the body politic. That other side is just as honest and sincere about their beliefs. John McCain understands that you cannot shut out half of American unless you want a repeat of the Bush presidency. Joe Barrier Murphy is right on Dear Editor: I really don't know why reader John Jacobs ("Editorial way off," Feb. 13, AFN) is so hot and bothered by your editorial. I found it amusing and most of your points were right on. We Republicans do need to move closer to the middle and shed all this extremist religion baggage. Religion has no business in government, and vice versa. The only thing I found stunning was Doug Murphy's declaration that he's a Democrat. It's almost definitional that Democrats have no sense of humor, yet I know that I've caused Doug to laugh on many occasions. Jim Thompson America needs real changes Dear Editor: There are members of the U. S. Congress running for president of our country. They speak of change; one has to wonder what they mean. Do they advocate change to immigration, Medicare, Social Security, the economy, global warming, foreign policy or what? The senator from Illinois says he believes change in America does not come from the top down, but from the bottom up. The senator is partially right; change from the top is leadership. Change from the bottom is revolution; one wonders which the senator advocates. The elderly, the homeless, military veterans, persons on Medicare and Social Society, underpaid teachers and a host of others would surely welcome leadership that spawns improvement in the quality of life. However, if the candidates cannot initiate these changes in Congress, how can they possibly believe they can do so as president? The president of the United States does not write or pass legislation; the Congress does! If the citizens of this country want change, they must start by changing our senators and representatives, frequently if necessary. Then we will see real change in America without all the nonsensical rhetoric. James McGrath

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