Mantra should be 'Country First'

This is regarding the May 5 guest commentary by retired Gen. Tommy Franks, "Ex-presidents can show kids how to think constructively."

Franks is doing excellent work preparing young men and women as future leaders through his Four Star Leadership program. I would like him to add one more element to his four elements: character, common vision, communication and caring. That fifth element would be "service before self." That's what soldiers do by putting their lives on the line for the nation.

Some young people the leadership program mentors will be in Congress in the next 15 to 20 years. I'd like them to think of the country first and their re-election chances next.

Former Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine chose to retire rather than be a part of the extreme political polarization. She realized her next term likely would be unproductive and, therefore, ended her 20-year career in the Congress, which was a great sacrifice on her part.

Future leaders should be ingrained with this type of highest duty. That will enable Congress to pass legislation in a bipartisan manner for the good of our country.

Ashok Pandya

Hercules

Regarding gun regulation

Why is the phrase "well-regulated militia" always ignored?


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In my neck of the woods, the word "regulation" means law. So why is banning types of weapons and types of ammunition unconstitutional? It's not. It's in the spirit of what the Founding Fathers intended.

And, by the way, I keep hearing from gun advocates that Hitler took away all the guns from the people so he could take over the country and stay in power. That is false!

Guns were banned in Germany after World War I by the Treaty of Versailles. Germany lost that war and this was part of the punishment.

Hitler was elected by popular vote, not by force; guns were not an issue. People believed he was bringing Germany back to its old glory and he was beloved.

The fact is, Hitler removed restrictions on guns and citizens could own them. Check it out.

Sandra Lione

Martinez

Filibuster rules must be changed

The Senate should absolutely change the filibuster rules.

In the House of Representatives, all business must have the Speaker's consent for it to reach the floor for a vote. The minority party is without the procedural ability to interfere with the controlling party's agenda.

Unlike the House Speaker's virtual lock on the legislative process, the filibuster makes the Senate majority leader little more than an impotent bystander. The threat of a filibuster disproportionately bolsters the minority party's otherwise limited ability to impede the Senate's legislative priorities. This perverse tool permits the minority to frustrate the majority ad infinitum, if it wishes.

When Republicans dominated the Senate, they demanded an "up or down" vote when Democrats threatened to filibuster legislation. Democrats now have majority control of the Senate, and they're equally vociferous in denouncing Republicans for their refusal to allow business to reach the floor for a vote.

The senators' conflicted behavior forces me to conclude, first and foremost, that the members of the Senate are hypocrites.

Ronald Entwistle

San Pablo

Outdated view of marriage

In response to Richard Dierdorff's letter, "Important fundamentals" (of marriage), I say to him that his idea of marriage is a bit dated.

Many married couples are forgoing shared last names, and the "burden" of being the provider of security and income is shared by both partners. "Marriage" did originally mean the union of a man and a woman, but that was a union where the woman's right to property and economic independence was forfeited to the man, making her a domestic slave to maintain his material wealth (a wealth often augmented by what should have been the woman's inheritance).

With the recognition of the equal rights of women, we've moved away from this idea of casting husbands as "men" and wives as "women."

The man need not be the breadwinner and the woman need not bear children. They need only love each other. Naturally, with the gendered roles of interdependent partners being blurred, the need for male-female pairings seems arbitrary.

Erik LaDue

Concord

Serious flaw in locks' design?

The FAA requires flight attendants to be able to evacuate any aircraft in 90 seconds or less.

It's tragic that a limousine could not have the similar requirements. The autolock either didn't work or perhaps the driver tried to unlock the doors but the mechanism had burned beyond its ability to work. There seems to be a serious design flaw if there aren't appropriate and rapid ways to get out of a burning limousine.

Do they really need an automatic locking system? It's a tragic and senseless loss.

Betsy Fowler

Alamo