Washington warned

of political parties

Regarding Seth Grossman's May 24 column, "Mostly ignored primary elections are key to democracy":

Grossman is correct that it is better that the common folk choose candidates as opposed to those in "a smoke-filled room." I would also commend him for getting involved in public service.

I do, however, take issue with the headline. Primary elections are not the key to democracy, but rather the key to the quagmire the country currently finds itself stuck in. George Washington warned of political parties in his farewell address, first published on Sept. 19, 1796.

"The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual, and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation on the ruins of public liberty."

Washington was saying it becomes more important to get or retain power than to do the actual job. Less than 30 years after he wrote this, the two parties were slinging slanderous mud at each other in an attempt to gain the presidency. They haven't looked back since, with the most glaring example being a president running for re-election illegally using the powers of his office to discredit and interfere with the other party in an attempt to retain power.

And some of the worst conduct occurs on the state and local level, all in an attempt to gain or retain power.

ADAM KASPAR

Vineland

Problems with natural gas

go beyond fracking waste

Regarding the May 21 letter, "Keep fracking waste out of New Jersey":

The toxic waste that is a byproduct of fracking does not belong in anyone's backyard. And the disposal of fracking slurry is only one of the problems associated with fracking. We need a national ban on fracking to ensure that we protect the water and air that we all share.

Fracking has made natural gas a cheap alternative for home heating and cooling. If we only consider short-term economic gain, it is easy to see natural gas as an attractive option. However, we must consider the damage that results from extracting and transporting the gas, disposing of the waste and the enormous amount of fresh water used in the process. We must move away from all fossil fuels, including gas.

The proposed gas pipeline from Millville to Beesleys Point in Upper Township would provide power at the price of more carbon dioxide in our air. We need to aggressively pursue renewable energy and leave oil, gas and coal in the Earth where they belong.

BARBARA MILLER

Woodbine

Catholics already pay

twice for education

Regarding the May 20 Lane Filler column, "Why are we giving tax-exempt status to any groups?":

As an educator in Catholic schools for many years, I am appalled at the ignorance of this sweeping indictment of worthy receptors of tax-exempt status.

It seems Filler would relish cutting off all social-welfare groups.

That would include Catholic education, among the many deserving beneficiaries of tax-exempt status that have helped make our nation great. Filler calls them the "privileged class."

Catholic schools privileged?

How many hundreds of times have I worked with parents of our school children to raise funds to pay our own way, to build our own schools, to teach our faith and proper conduct? At the same time, we shoulder taxes levied to help pay the exorbitant cost of sending our neighbors' children to public schools.

In truth, the government should be paying our costs. But so far, we accept this slap of injustice - receiving no credit for our double payment toward education, while being denied any real assistance. (Vouchers, anyone?)

What is truly a burden is reading the brainless ramblings of pundits like Filler, who ignore the excellent education of more than 2 million American students in more than 6,500 Catholic schools.

REV. EDWARD D. LYONS

Somers Point

Scandals show Obama

is the new Joe McCarthy

Joe McCarthy would be proud of this Democratic president. President Barack Obama, the "Teflon president," is riddled by scandal, yet no one seems outraged.

The Internal Revenue Service targeted opposition groups. The happenings in Benghazi have never been thoroughly explained. The Justice Department has seized phone records of news reporters and has charged one reporter with criminal activity for seeking information.

In the case of Fox News reporter James Rosen, CBS News said, "For the first time, a presidential administration is treating news reporting like a crime and a reporter like a criminal suspect."

Lois Lerner, the IRS person in charge of processing requests for tax-exemption, appeared at a Congressional hearing and pleaded the Fifth Amendment.

And I find it totally amazing that the Benghazi attack has been all but forgotten. People died.

Obama continues to go unscathed throughout these investigations. No one is shouting for impeachment. What has happened to our freedoms and our right to know?

ROB COYNE

Absecon