Letters to the editor, April 28
Hernando TodayStereotyping in car ads needs to stop
Published: April 28, 2012
Published: April 28, 2012
For some time now I have been viewing commercial spots on behalf of a local Toyota dealer and have been increasingly offended by the continuous depiction of a certain stereotype.
I recently learned that I am not alone and that many Italian Americans are becoming increasingly offended by the portrayal of us as "wise guys." I am referring to the Village Toyota ad campaign and TV commercials featuring Italian-American gangster puppets that intimidate prospective customers.
Village Toyota is not the only dealership guilty of this. Jack Daniels Motors in New Jersey was recently cited nationally for using the same package promotion. In fact, a New York Post columnist Phil Mushnick asked, "Could you see any other racial, ethnic, or religious negative stereotypes…used in such a way?"
While I can turn off the TV or change the channel when these commercial spots appear, I am now forced to be reminded of this ad campaign every time I pass Village Toyota's new billboard on U.S. 19 just north of Forest Oaks Boulevard.
What is increasingly offensive is that Village Toyota chooses to incorporate a wholesome looking, all American type bespectacled young boy as the anti-wise guy alternative. What a thing to teach our youth!
As a point of information, honest Italian-Americans have made major contributions in building this country as well as our local community. It would interest your readers to know that:
An Italian-American founded the FBI
At least 25 Italian-Americans have earned the Congressional Medal of Honor, and "The most quotable and most influential person highlighted in countless management seminars is an Italian-American boy from Brooklyn, Vince Lombardi."
On another positive note, the negativity generated by Village Toyota's ad campaigns has motivated me to join the Order of the Sons of Italy in America (Lodge 2502) whose mission statement is: "To serve as the leading organizational voice on behalf of the cultural, social, political and economic issues of importance to Americans of Italian heritage."
I hope this letter inspires other first, second or even third generation Americans from other ancestries to respond to any form of defamation of their heritage.
On behalf of Order of the Sons of Italy in America Lodge 2502
Chairman shows leadership
I want to thank Chairman Wayne Dukes for his conduct of the citizens' comments portion of Tuesday's county commission meeting. What could have turned into a very contentious acrimony was deftly handled by a calm and composed moderator Dukes.
While accusations flew on the very emotional issue regarding Zeus, the more than 60 minutes of citizens commenting drew to a successful conclusion with no "bloodletting" by any individual.
I was impressed that Mr. Dukes had pre-empted the discussion by putting staff into action beforehand. The end result is for an "investigation" of the animal control section to be conducted, appropriately, by the county clerk's office.
While it is possibly a stressful time for our elected officials, it is a great pleasure for me to see a "forum" for citizen interactions developing in that chamber in that setting.
We cannot move America to the greatness we desire until and unless we can air our differences where all can be heard in a structured, civil venue.
Citizen comments within the county commission meetings are providing an excellent opportunity to express ourselves to our government and begin to see a valid response to our concerns.
Thank you, Chairman Dukes, for a meeting well conducted.
Hamilton R. Hanson
A real plan
Some months ago, I sent Republican Sen. Richard Nugent a rough outline of a new tax system. My system was designed to create full or at least very low unemployment.
In my plan, the tax rate for corporations would be on a sliding scale. The more Americans a company employed, the lower their federal income tax would be. The same type of scale would be used for investors. The more money an investor invested in American companies, the lower his or her tax rate would be. The more invested, the lower the tax.
Pretty simple, right? Under my plan companies and investors could eventually pay zero in taxes. I think we all realize that if our unemployment were say 6 percent. The increase in tax revenue would allow Washington to piss away much more. Or, for once, represent the best interests of America and the American people who unwittingly continue to elect them if they stopped stealing from Social Security every year.
They could use the revenue to put Social Security back on track. We could fund, instead of gutting our military, and along with it, America's security. They could come up with an honest assessment of why an aspirin costs $20 or $30 while in the hospital, or why some procedures cost so much.
Gee, the boys and girls in Sen. Nugent's office must have been rolling on the floor in extreme laughter when they read my proposal.
Once they stopped, I'm sure my letter ended up in the trash. The same place our once great nation is about to find itself. Why will you never, ever see a tax plan similar to mine? For the very same reason you'll never see a "Fair Tax, or a "Flat Tax." Because such plans would mean that the wealthy segment of this nation would find themselves in the same tax bracket as the rest of us. And, that would be extremely unfair to them.
After all, they're the job creators. They've created millions and millions of jobs. Unfortunately, very few have been here in America. Trickle Down, yeah, right. For the record, Mr. and Mrs. Obama are in the 20 percent tax bracket. They reported close to $800,000 last year. Gov. Romney is in the 10 percent tax bracket. He won't say how much he made, but I'll bet it was a lot more than the Obama's.
My wife and I made somewhere around $60,000 last year. We're in the 35 percent bracket. I am definitely not a supporter of the Democratic Party, on any level. As an Independent, I do not support either mainstream party. But like most of us, I do not have a realistic choice.
For decades now I've voted third party of for the worst of the two. But let's face it, in present day America, there is no 100 percent clear cut better. This year, I have to cast my vote to hopefully protect our Constitution and in particular, my second Amendment rights. I'm also voting in hopes of keeping this country from becoming another Socialist nation like France.
Oh, and of course, keep my homestead exemption. The truth is very hard to swallow, but here it is. We the invisible people have no representation in government, on any level. We cannot stop the inevitability of total government control and whatever ism they decide to call it. As for years now, all we can do is hope to slow it down. The only question now is this. Which will arrive first, the ism, or the end of what was the greatest social experiment ever created.
Lack of value
Today youngsters spend hours playing video games blowing up and shooting the "Bad Guys." The videos are so realistic they could be used as a training aid for our military. And when I say "youngsters" I am not talking just about teenagers.
Kids as young as six years old are exposed to this violence, described as entertainment. When a child is able to "blow away" the bad guy with his M-16, or use his sniper rifle to kill, the operative word is "kill" he or she is becoming insensitive to life.
How many of these youths do you think wonder "what would it be like to really kill someone? When they kill someone on their TV they get a thrill. Why not? They just killed the bad guy. But are they mature enough to distinguish between the bad guy on their video game and someone else? Perhaps someone who happens to come along they have taken a dislike to?
At these young ages, I think not. No wonder there is a lack of sensitivity and the value of life. I realize the almighty dollar is driving the companies that produce these videos, but I wonder if those who create this trash can sleep at night.