Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: Sept. 3

Pett cartoon has wrong slant

I asked five people what they thought Joel Pett's Aug. 23 cartoon meant, and each hadn't a clue. Is it about the tiresome "war on women" Democrats blame Republicans for, or could it be an allusion to a return to back-alley abortion by rusty coat hangers? Who knows?

I'm going to assume it's the "war on women" idea. Evidently Pett thinks Republicans are going to deny women all contraceptives and outlaw abortion, even though it's the law of the land, not welcome women into the GOP, etc, ad nauseam. Yet, from 2000 to 2012, there have been 12 female Republican governors (nine Democrats) and seven lieutenant governors (four Democrats).

In July, there were 175,000 fewer jobs for women than in June 2012. In a 2011 annual report of White House salaries, there was an $11,000 difference between the median female employee salary and the median male salary. The average female salary is $60,000; the average male salary is $71,000. President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act nine days after becoming president. Maybe he forgot.

If the cartoon alludes to abortion, a Gallup poll taken in 2012 showed 50.5 percent were pro-life and 41 percent were pro-choice. That compares to a March 2001 poll that showed 41 percent were pro-life and 47 percent were pro-choice. There has been a change in opinion.

It's amazing that a person who is for saving babies in the womb (perhaps half are female) is considered radical and dangerous.

Maybe Pett should reverse his cartoon next time.

Nancy Davidson


A cowardly attack

Syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker's Aug. 16 commentary gives prompt derision to the life and passing of feminist Helen Gurley Brown, who died Aug. 14 at age 90. Parker opines that Brown was a shallow, superficial, materialistic wretch, never mentioning the fact that Brown donated tens of millions of dollars to charity in her lifetime.

Parker lumps "money, career, and sex" together as Brown's immoral choices. Parker decries Brown "for promoting the idea that women can enjoy the same benefits of work and career as men" and criticizes Brown for choosing to remain childless, attempting to portray this as selfish and immoral. Parker gives credit to Brown's husband for her book Sex and the Single Girl, implying that Brown would not have written it without his encouragement, attempting to diminish Brown's career. It becomes obvious that Brown's career is the moral objection for Parker.

But Parker obviously has a career; she's a newspaper columnist — and an ambitious one, at that. Ironically, Brown broke the glass ceiling for the very field in which Parker is enjoying her career. In America, career is synonymous with pursuit of happiness for most adults, women included. Does Parker's hypocritical mind not get that?

Parker admits that it's rude to disparage the dead. If she really wants to rail against women having careers, she needn't hide behind a dead woman.

Susan S. Bell


Applause for Pett

Joel Pett is a creative genius. His Aug. 14 cartoon is another of his many classics. Pett's outstanding work, reproduced frequently around the world, continues to affirm his Pulitzer Prize-winning credentials. Unfortunately, he is not always appreciated by Herald-Leader readers for his superb talent.

The cartoon succinctly depicts the anomaly of evangelical Christians, in their laissez-faire market fundamentalism, worshiping at the feet of atheist Ayn Rand, revered by the political right for her libertarian doctrines. What irony, and for reasons more than in just Rand being an atheist.

Rand and other libertarians promote a philosophy of radical self-interest. One of Rand's major works is The Virtue of Selfishness. "It is the morality of altruism that men have to reject," she said.

Libertarianism, the foundation of the political philosophy of the Republican Party, is clearly antithetical to the personal ethic and social vision of Jesus. He sided with the prophetic strain of his tradition, advocating for a compassionate, selfless, just and equitable society.

That contrasts with the privileged few who had used religion to legitimize economic exploitation and political domination — roughly equivalent to Rand's survival-of-the-fittest philosophy in which the wealthy and powerful greedily dominate.

Significant intellectual challenges exist for evangelical Christians in an attempt to harmonize their faith with their politics.

David A. Nash and Stephen Nash