‘Equal opportunity and equal rights’ 

I would like
to respond to the letters in the Dec. 29, 2010, Gazette from Kevin Connolly (“The rest of
the story”), Jay Wright (“Some more, some less”) and Thomas Furlong
(“Government shouldn’t create equality”), especially regarding their statements
about employment and equality.

I
would like to challenge Mr. Connolly to consider the difficulties of a
50-something with a family, and a long work history in a particular field, who
has recently been laid off from a good job. Or, how about a black guy, just
returned from multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, who enlisted right
out of high school to try to get ahead, with a job history limited to
burger-flipping in high school, and for the last 10 years whatever the Army
told him to do.

In
today’s economy, there are a lot of obstacles to finding a new job, even for
someone who’s willing and able to relocate, who has a good education, a good
resume and a good work record. There are simply a lot more people looking for
work than there are employment opportunities.

No
government can legislate equality, and even our government is not stupid or
silly enough to attempt to do so. What the government must do, however, is
legislate and enforce equal opportunity and equal rights. A large majority of
the business community has proven time and again that these issues cannot
safely be left to the private sector, but must be legislated. Mr. Wright says
it’s perfectly OK to live green and all, but thinks that he should not be
judged for driving a big, inefficient SUV because he can afford it and likes
it. He has a problem with the government legislating on issues that he believes
should be personal choice.

Well,
perhaps if we could be trusted to make choices which don’t destroy the
environment, contribute to overall health problems (such as childhood obesity
and diabetes) that will eventually cost more from the taxpayers, and so forth,
then the governments wouldn’t need to legislate our decisions for us. However,
as with equal opportunity, we have shown repeatedly that “we the people” too
often don’t know our butts from a hole in the ground, even after it’s been
explained to us, and will pretty consistently act against our own best
interests because it’s easier in the short term, or more profitable for the
business owners.

—Roger
Barton
Warr Acres

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Roger Barton

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