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Letters: Apr. 12, 2004

8 minute read

The Case for Staying Home

Women will finally be liberated when they stop listening to experts and do what their hearts and minds tell them is best for their families. ANDREA CEONZO Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Your story on moms who are choosing to stay home to take care of their children was infuriating [March 22]. As if those of us who don’t have a choice and must go to work to provide health insurance, retirement benefits and college savings for our children need yet another reason to feel that we are doing something wrong, that we are lacking as mothers. Like most American women with kids, I hold a job because I have to. Thanks to the national economic conditions, I’m going to need to continue working. And believe me, come Election Day in November, on my way to work I will be voting. ANDREA GOYETTE Sacramento, Calif.

Although a significant portion of American families must have two incomes to make ends meet, more families are realizing the importance of having a stay-at-home parent, whether it is the mother or the father. Children are the legacy we leave to society. Very few people, at the end of their lives, wish they could have spent more time at work. CHERYL HILLMAN Alpharetta, Ga.

Women who expect to find their jobs and salaries waiting for them when they return to the workplace had better understand the harsh reality of choosing diapers over spreadsheets. While these mothers are away from the workplace, plenty of talented women are willing to take, not hold, their places. LISA GIASSA Bogota, N.J.

What about us stay-at-home dads? I have been one for three years. Our family has made many sacrifices, but I would not trade anything for the joy I see every day on the faces of my daughter and son. Kids are young for only so long. Once they are in school, I will go back to work, but for now I have the most prestigious title in the world: Daddy. STEVE JONES Atlanta

I stayed home with my two children, now 12 and 10, and enjoyed it thoroughly. I was very fortunate that my husband’s salary made that choice possible, and I never doubted that it was the right decision for our family. Recently, however, my husband unexpectedly left me, and I realize I have put myself in a precarious position by losing those years in the work force. Anyone who is deciding whether to stay home with children needs to examine carefully the risks as well as the joys. MARIAM VAN WESENBEECK Fishers, Ind.

Enlightened and pragmatic firms across the country have optimized their talent pools by making it possible for those of us who want to continue working to participate fully in raising a family as well as having a career. A woman who seeks out a company that offers part-time and other flexible arrangements can remain at work and gain the experience and skills needed to reach the top of her profession. Members of our legal network, Interlaw Ltd., know it is possible to raise a happy family while also enjoying a successful, fulfilling career. CATHERINE DEBONO HOLMES, CHAIR WOMEN LAWYERS OF INTERLAW Los Angeles

Once you have children, life is no longer about you. It shouldn’t matter whether you push a broom or serve as a FORTUNE 500 CEO. Kids are job No. 1. JON HOLLANDER Park Ridge, Ill.

Terror in Madrid

It is still shocking to think of the commuter-train bombings in Madrid [March 22]. Some people hold Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar responsible for the attacks and view them as retaliation for his decision to join the U.S. in the war against Saddam Hussein. But many Spaniards do not blame Aznar. Can people really believe terrorists attack only “guilty” nations and leave “innocent” countries alone? Do the victims deserve to die because of what their country has done in Iraq? We must stand together against any kind of terrorism, no matter who receives the blow. IGNACIO ECHENAGUSIA Madrid

Perhaps Americans can learn from the Spanish people. Barely two days after the devastating train bombings in Madrid, Spaniards took to the streets demanding more information from their government and accusing it of not being forthcoming. They demonstrated that they have no tolerance for the loss of Spanish life that resulted from their government’s policies. But after the devastating attacks of 9/11 and the deaths of hundreds of service members in Iraq, Americans are reluctant to question their government about the validity of the war in Iraq and about how 9/11 could have been prevented. Anyone who expresses doubt is called unpatriotic. But good citizens should question the decisions of our elected representatives and participate in the democratic process. MARK MIZRAHI Newport Beach, Calif.

Unhappy Anniversary

One year after the invasion of Iraq, the world doesn’t seem a safer place at all [March 22]. Murderous attacks by terrorists all over the globe show that they are everywhere. Whether Americans were told the truth about Iraq from the get-go is something for the investigative commissions to decide, but it is horrifying that the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqis and hundreds of coalition troops have served only to increase the threat of global terrorism. When will it end? BECKY BURGWIN Pittsburgh, Pa.

Who Knew What When?

In “Bush And 9/11: What We Need To Know” [March 22], columnist Joe Klein was playing politics with the tragedy of 9/11. Klein poses some questions that members of the intelligence community would ask President Bush if they could. But it’s the Clinton Administration that should be answering all the questions. President Clinton had several years to deal with al-Qaeda after the devastating car-bomb attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. For Klein to suggest that the Bush Administration should have done in eight months what the previous Administration was unable to do in nearly eight years is totally unrealistic. THOMAS KRAFT Peoria, Ill.

It is disturbing that the Bush folks did not act on the outgoing Clinton Administration’s warnings about the threat posed by Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. The gall of Bush’s using 9/11 imagery in his campaign when the disaster might have been averted is incredible. Bush is indeed a war President; the trouble is, he fought the wrong enemy. DAVID LITTON Austin, Texas

The actions of President Bush on 9/11 disappointed me; I expected him to rush back to Washington and make clear by example that he and America were not intimidated by terrorist acts. Instead, he showed just the opposite by going into hiding until the all clear was given. Then three days later he emerged for photo ops in the wreckage of the Twin Towers. I suppose it was prudent not to take chances in a chaotic and possibly dangerous situation. But to me, Bush’s behavior illustrates the difference between a leader and an officeholder. TERRY JOHNSON Alva, Okla.

Using the Mute Button

Your article “Raising The Volume” described how the U.S. presidential race is already at fever pitch [March 22]. While I have tremendous respect for the people who run for President, I am disheartened that candidates have not outgrown their need to attack one another, so much so that no matter who is elected, we can’t feel confident that the right person was chosen. Although I plan to read editorials and news reports, I intend to press the mute button on all political TV commercials and spin commentaries until after the election. JEAN MCGRAW Lawrenceville, N.J.

Implacable Hatred

Bravo to former presidential adviser Richard A. Clarke for his Viewpoint “The New Terrorist Threat” [March 22]. As Clarke noted, “[M]aybe we should be asking why the terrorists hate us.” It seems like a better idea than blindly lashing out at them. If we had intelligently examined the reasons for fascism in the 1930s or communism during the cold war, perhaps we would have been able to understand and better deal with them. If we comprehend what drives terrorists, we can perhaps alter our behavior. That does not mean kowtowing to terrorists, but it does mean realizing that we might be at least part of the problem. M. KELLY TILLERY Philadelphia

Terrorists hate us because they are militant Islamists and they want to convert us to a Taliban-like country with Islam as the official religion. It’s naive to think you can reason with such people. JOHN F. BARNES San Antonio, Texas

Skate at Your Own Risk

Your article “Can The NHL Save Itself?” [March 22] was very unfair about Vancouver Canuck Todd Bertuzzi’s punching centerman Steve Moore of the Colorado Avalanche. Those who have played hockey know that the minute you step into the rink you are at risk of getting injured, whether you play in the National Hockey League or on an amateur team. You have unjustly accused Bertuzzi. I cannot see why an NHL player would injure another player for any reason. What happened to Moore was unfortunate, but it was an accident. CHRISTINE FRANK Toronto

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