Engelke Not Racist

(04/12/2003)

Dear Editor,

Today, I read the letter from a Mr. Ben Mita wherein he referred to some comments made by Alvin Engelke as racist. I wondered, "Did I miss something?" I then went back and reread the Creston News. I found nothing racist in any of Mr. Engelke's remarks but did note that they were attributed to others and were not his opinion. The statement that poor whites and blacks were most likely to die is a leftist viewpoint and was not a view espoused by Mr. Engelke.

However, I noted in Mr. Mita's letter that he immediately took the well worn path of the liberal. When you have nothing to say, label someone or their remarks as "racist." That is always a good platform. It gives the writer or speaker a sense of superiority when in fact, there position is untenable.

Mr. Mita also says that President Bush is cutting veteran's benefits. First of all, show me! The big cuts came much earlier when the government refused to honor a promise made to the retired military that they would have life time medical care if they would give the best years of their lives in the defense of this country. That was cast aside and veterans were placed on medicare and were to fend for themselves even though they were promised much more. Retired civil service employees had much better medical insurance than that which was afforded the veteran.

In fact, I wrote a liberal icon, Senator Robert C. Byrd and asked him to support a bill before the congress which would restore the cut benefits. His response? The Republicans are trying to cut taxes and there won't be enough "discretionary funds" to fund such a proposal. Since when does a contract depend on "discretionary funds"? To the Senator's credit, he did vote for a bill called "Tricare For Life" which helps the veteran by paying the deductibles for Medicare. However, Senator Jay Rockefeller was one of the prime movers in getting this bill enacted into law. Now back to Mr. Engelke.

I have known Alvin Engelke for many years and am proud to call him friend. While some of his opinions, from my point of view, may come from left field, I would ask the detractors to look closely before they attack his integrity. That is not an option. Alvin is opinionated, but his remarks are backed up with research unless he labels them otherwise. I have always found him to be a man of his word, a rarity in this day and age.

I would advise Mr. Mita to read that article again, and if he still thinks it is racist, that's his problem.

Gerald L. Ball, Veteran, US Army

11 years active duty, 21 years as a reservist