Readers share their thoughts on campaign contributions, the passing of Leon Bass and the pending nuclear deal with Iran.
Why the Campaign Funding Process Is Broken
There are several distortions in John Samples’ March 26 Opinion piece (“Dispelling the Quid Pro Quo Canard of Campaign Contributions”). The first involves equating campaign donations and free speech. I would encourage individuals to buy media resources to espouse their point of view on any issue or candidate. But this is hardly the current situation where so much “dark money” is contributed by unknown entities.
Second, we can measure the funds raised directly by a candidate, but not the total of funds actually spent. Just because two-thirds of the losing candidates in the last election “out-raised” their opponents has little to do with the amount of money actually spent on their behalf.
Third, I would ask Dr. Samples to explain the following:
• Why do so many entities spend so much money lobbying?
• Why is so much dark money contributed to elections?
• Why have we stripped the budgets of government organizations charged with protecting our resources?
Our campaign processes are broken. Perhaps if we instituted government election funding, limited lobbying, two-term limits (three-year terms for the House), and shortened the campaign length, we would see legislatures that represented all of America.
Frank Friedman | Philadelphia
Mourning the Passing of a Truly Great Man
It was with great sorrow that I heard of Leon Bass’ passing. (Obituaries, April 9) In the late 1960s, Dr. Bass was appointed principal of Benjamin Franklin High School, a boys’ school that was mainly African American. Shortly after that, he hired me as the “cultural organizer” for the school. My duties consisted of taking groups to theater performances, films, concerts, museums, art galleries as well as colleges. I also arranged for class speakers.
Having heard that one teacher showed her class films by Leni Riefenstahl, I felt it important to bring a survivor of concentration camps to tell the students of the experience. Having read about Nina Kaleska’s presentation at a Main Line school, I called her and asked her to come to Ben Franklin to talk to a class.
I invited Dr. Bass to stop in to hear the talk. Little did I realize that it stirred his memories of being recruited to clean up Buchenwald. He admitted that he had put the experience way back in his mind. From that day on, he spoke about the experience to many groups, young and old, of varied background and age.
I can still hear him repeating the words he heard so often — “Leon, you are not good enough” — while in the segregated Army.
Yet he was more than good enough. He was the best!
Anne L. Fox (Survivor) | firstname.lastname@example.org
No Trust, No Deal When It Comes to Iran
Trust is the basis for any marriage. It is also paramount when entering into contracts, whether purchasing a new house or leasing a car. Americans are now in a situation where they question whether we can trust our president. We have many reasons over the last few years to think so — Benghazi, Obamacare, the IRS scandal, the VA scandal, the Bowe Bergdahl exchange that freed a U.S. soldier being held by the Taliban, etc. Even more important: Can we ever trust the Iranians? While your editorial of April 9 cites different reasons, the end result is the same: “Let’s Brake a Deal” with Iran.
Richard Chaitt | Havertown