The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

December 13, 2012

Readers' Forum 12-13 | Indifference toward others shameful

Submitted by Readers

— I have two recent funny stories that happened at local fast-food restaurants.

First, we were in line recently at a fast-food restaurant with two separate drive-thru lines. The outside line was being worked on, so there was a sign stating to use the inside drive-thru line only.

A car pulled into the restaurant, saw the sign and the line of cars, and you would have thought they would have pulled around the building and got in line. Nope ... they pulled up directly to the first window to place their order. Then they pulled to the second window to wait for their food. There is justice when I saw that this car was motioned to pull up a little to wait for their food. They were still sitting there when I pulled around the corner after getting my order.

A few days later, at a different establishment, an older woman got out of her car with a $10 bill in her hand. Despite it being lunch and there being a long line of cars, she proceeded to stand next to the first car in line, patiently waiting to be next at the drive-up window – despite not being in her car and oblivious of the other cars already in line.

I patiently waited until the car in front of me pulled up and graciously allowed her to walk up to the window. After a brief moment, she was directed to walk into the restaurant to conduct her business (probably purchasing a gift certificate).

Like my mom always said, when people do things like this, they are basically telling you to your face that their time is more important than yours. Where has kindness and courtesy gone?

Tom Sylvia


Income cap should be scrapped

Social Security payments are earned benefits, not entitlements. As Congress and the president continue to squabble, I am wondering why no one has suggested a potential (partial) fix for some Social Security problems.

When President George H. W. Bush was finally  forced to raise taxes, he placated his wealthy supporters by slashing the amount of income that is taxable under Social Security. The income cap is adjusted for inflation, but I believe that, at present, the maximum amount of income subject to Social Security is just over $100,000. Why not eliminate this unnecessary cap?

In addition, the president should cease to promote “shorting” Social Security – for employees as well as employers. Two percent looks like a drop in the bucket (though two plus two equals four) ... until it accumulates as a yawning deficit in the not-too-distant future.

Barbara Bruce


People have a right to their own opinions

In response to “Ending hateful letters” (Dec. 5), I, too, am in favor of speaking graciously, even to those with whom I disagree.

However, the writer states that she believes The Tribune-Democrat publishes too many right-leaning letters. It’s not the paper’s fault if more right-leaning letters are submitted than left-leaning letters. The whole point of the Readers’ Forum is for individuals to say what they think, not what the paper thinks.

Those calling for the end to hateful letters would be in favor of the Sedition Act of 1798, which made it illegal to speak maliciously or falsely of the U.S. government, Congress or the president. But the act was later repealed for its unconstitutionality under the First Amendment.

The writer encourages us to “give our young people a glimpse back into the era of having respect for elected officials and our elective process.” When was that? The election campaign between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson is known in American history for being nasty and bitter. It doesn’t sound like much has changed in 200 years. 

Let’s encourage each other to speak graciously, by all means. But no one has the right to suppress another’s speech because it is hateful. (Hateful, by the way, is rather subjective. Who determines what is hateful?)

Like it or not, the First Amendment gives us the right to say what we think, whenever we want (election season or not), in whatever way we want to say it. 

Stephanie Rose


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