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Letter to the editor generates discussion

July 15, 2012

On July 4th I wrote the following letter to The Leader, which they published under the title:Proud not to be an American (not what I said but so be it):

Letter to the Editor

I have lived in the United States since 1984, but I am still a British subject, a fact which shocks many Americans who are convinced that the entire world wants to be American.  This is not so.  I have not taken out citizenship because, quite frankly, I do not want to be known as an American.  I do not want to be a citizen of a country which is defined by greed and animosity. I do to want to be part of a system that allows 6 people (the heirs of Sam Walton) to control as much (unearned) wealth as the bottom 30% of the population.

The vast majority of Americans go along with the idea that the United States is the greatest country that has ever been.  Please define greatness.  To my mind, a great country is one where the people can live their lives free from bigotry and oppression; where they can earn a decent living doing the work they are most suited to; where they contribute as much as they can to the good of the country; and where they have the expectation that if things go very wrong for them, there is a safety net to help them recover.  A country like New Zealand, or Denmark, where there is 100% literacy and virtually no poverty.

A great country does not have 15% of its population living in poverty and therefore hungry; a great country does not squander and destroy its natural resources in pursuit of profit; a great country does not assume that its ways are the best for everyone else as well; a great country does not throw its weight around just because it can; a great country does not destroy smaller nations in pursuit of an ideology. And socialism is not the end of life as we know it.  Current policies may be.

A great country does not allow slander, mudslinging and venomous attacks against someone whose only fault is that they belong to a different political party.  My political philosophy is definitely left of center, but I simply cannot espouse blind devotion to a party on the strength of name alone.  I cannot support anyone for whom being elected and staying in power is more important than representing constituents.  I cannot support anyone who sees elected office as a lucrative career rather than service to country.

On election day in November, I beg citizens and voters of the Southern Tier to look carefully at the candidates that affect us most – Tom Reed or Nate Shinagawa, President Obama or Mitt Romney.  Don’t be swayed by publicity.  Do some research and think for yourself.

Ask yourself two simple questions:  Is he for us or for himself; if he is elected who stands to benefit most – him, or me.

(And I am happy to engage in further conversation along these lines: please contact me at

Elizabeth Whitehouse

Corning, 936-4732

They didn’t include the bit about further conversation.


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