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August 19, 2013

READERS' FORUM: Aug. 19, 2013

Why are pols above the law?

With the current behavior of our politicians, you might have made a joke about drug testing them, but you can’t do it for real, thanks to the Supreme Court who ruled a Georgia law requiring candidates to submit to a drug test before being put on the ballot was unconstitutional.

A lieutenant governor who passed his test sued to get the bill thrown out by arguing it infringed on their Fourth Amendment rights against suspicionless drug testing. In agreeing with him, Justice Ginsburg wrote, in the 8-1 decision, “There is no evidence of a drug problem with the states’ candidates.”

Where is the suspicion for job applicants who are subjected to this invasion of privacy? The response: “These officials don’t perform high-risk, safety-sensitive tasks.” I wonder how citizens feel about their low opinion of our safety and risk from someone abusing public office.

Your argument against drugs says they impair judgment and decision making. Among other things, how does this not affect public office? Can addiction lead to corruption with the lure of unaccounted-for money? The decision said, “When the threat to public safety is not genuine and real, the Fourth Amendment precludes any unreasonable search.”

U.S. law does not consider testing without grounds for suspicion as an unwarranted intrusion. People who take pain medication for a chronic condition are being subjected to drug tests to make sure they are not selling them. No suspicion is needed. I’m sure there are other cases.

Justice Rehnquist in his dissent said that the courts are saying the candidates are subject to so much public scrutiny that they can claim some Fourth Amendment protection from the test because of privacy. The test specimen could be taken to the candidate’s doctor. Unreasonable search, how? No citizen gets this kind of special treatment. The most they can get is choice of time.

The court conceded this, but turned it around saying that a candidate can clean up before the test. If that’s grounds to not do it, what stops a job applicant from doing the same thing?

Justice Rehnquist closed by saying, “One may be sure that if the test were random and therefore apt to ensnare more users, the court would fault it for its intrusiveness.”

The court and the politicians of this country have forgotten that “a leader leads by example whether they intend to or not” and this outcome shows they see themselves above the laws they hold the citizens of this country to and are nothing more than arrogant, elitist politicians.

— Mike Travelstead

Terre Haute

Help needed to ease conditions

I recently learned that mothers and children are living without air-conditioning in their upstairs quarters of the Conner Center. Though the Conner Center has air-conditioners, its monthly electric bills are at the maximum of the budget. I believe if Wabash Valley residents were aware of this they would be saddened by the already difficult circumstances of mothers and their children and want to help.

Perhaps there are those who could donate to better these women’s and children’s living conditions. Possibly some Wabash Valley residents could help and in turn acquire a tax write off.

Maybe some can do fundraisers that could help as well.

For donations, please contact Rev. Long at the Conner Center or Rev. Timothy Fagg at the Light House Mission. Thank you, Wabash Valley.

— Lynn Davidson

Terre Haute

Teach, don’t indoctrinate

First of all, let me say that I have listened to Ronn Mott on his radio programs over the years.

I always considered him to be a humorist, philosopher and historian. I always thought of him as well-informed and entertaining. That is until now.

Your attack on the charter school system was as vicious as anything I have read for a while.

Let’s look at a few things: You state “when you mix politics with education, no good is going to come from it.” You are so right. The federal government controls the education in the “public schools”. Guess what, Mr. Mott, that is the same thing. Our public schools are controlled by the ultra-liberal government, why is that OK? All politicians need to stay out of the school system. Both sides of any argument must be judged by the same rules and guidelines.

What makes a well-educated person? That sounds like a very simple question. The question is simple, but the answer is quite complex. In fact, there are as many answers as there are people.

Government does not understand this. They determine a mold and then hammer everyone into the same mold. That won’t work.

Mr. Mott, your vicious attack has been turned right around and used on the public school system. Both systems are far from perfect. All of our schools through college should teach students and help them develop, not indoctrinate.

In the future, apply the same same standards to both sides of a question.

— Joe DeLorme

Clay City

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    March 12, 2010