Voice of the People, Feb. 03

Michelle ObamaFeminismUnrest, Conflicts and WarCrime, Law and JusticeArts and CultureHillary ClintonDePaul University

A feminist for Michelle Obama

This is in response to "Nation's feminists divided on first lady's overt choices" (News, Jan. 21). The article suggests that many feminists, and by implication mostly white feminists, are disappointed in Michelle Obama.

I am a white, middle-class woman who considers herself a feminist; I teach a course in economics and gender.

I think Michelle Obama is doing an outstanding job. Here's why:

1. Being first lady of the United States is a job. It is probably a more important and challenging job than the vast majority of jobs, including those held by other graduates of Harvard Law School, and I think it utilizes Mrs. Obama's intelligence and many skills.

2. One strand of modern feminism is critical of society for undervaluing caring and related roles traditionally done by women. Mrs. Obama clearly values these roles and asks society to as well.

3. Feminism emphasizes that, like men, women should have options, and those options change over one's life. Perhaps many factors affect Mrs. Obama's choices. The role of president of the United States is incredibly complex. Being the first black president is even more so. Challenging the traditional role of the first lady would have only added to that complexity. Although the children of a sitting president have great opportunities, they also face unusual demands. Mrs. Obama will have many opportunities to continue her legal career or pursue other activities in the future if she chooses.

I have great respect for Michelle Obama, and I am happy to have her represent me as an American, a woman and a feminist.

Margaret Oppenheimer, Vincent DePaul professor of economics, DePaul University, Chicago

Women in combat

As an Army veteran of Vietnam, I am mystified by the political decision to assign women to combat arms units (infantry, artillery, armor).

We do not allow our young women to compete with our young men in basketball, track, swimming, etc., for the obvious reason that they are physically unable to provide serious competition.

Washington now, however, would allow our young women to compete with the young men of other nations — in combat to the death. This is political correctness on steroids, and would be laughable if not for the needless loss of life such a policy would no doubt cause.

James M. Hayes, Chicago

Clinton's words

After watching Hillary Clinton testify before Congress on Benghazi, I can't help but wonder what a valuable secretary of state she would have made for George W. Bush. She would have testified before Congress on the missing Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. When asked where they were, she would have proclaimed, "What difference does it make?"

John Belluomini, Bartlett

Bad neighbors

This is in response to "No jamming at reggae club; Without concert license, Wild Hare sees doubtful future in Lincoln Park" (News, Jan. 22). My beef is not only about the Wild Hare but other situations when the locals oppose things, in this case literally "in their back yards."

I live in the far southwest suburbs, so I have no dog in this race. But it just kills me when people move to a neighborhood, not to mention backing up to the commercial area, and then complain about what comes with this location. They are trying to deny the very thing for which they moved there.

They want to live in the "cool" neighborhood but don't want to be bothered by it. They knew this coming in. The commercial area of Halsted didn't arrive yesterday! Same with Wrigleyville. People moved there to be near the action but complain about what goes along with that.

You can't move to a house that backs up to the railroad tracks and then complain about the noise and horns that come with it. These situations mess with people's livelihoods.

Of course a bar/music venue brings certain problems with it. That's exactly why you don't buy the house that backs up to Halsted if you can't live in harmony with what may open on that street. Personally, I couldn't stand to live behind the Wild Hare, or next to the train tracks. That's why I don't.

Mark A. Couch, Oswego

Tough anthem

At least Beyonce didn't forget the words.

Phil Haglund, Plainfield

Firearms laws

Those who advocate for gun rights point to Chicago as the reason tough laws don't make a difference and create more violence.

Most are outsiders who don't understand the city.

Do they really think getting rid of these laws will decrease the violence? The guns will still be in the hands of those initiating the fight and will just turn Chicago into the Wild West.

There have been too many killings in the city; we don't need more.

Chicago has a gang problem, and we've had it for years.

The previous chief of police was ineffective about doing anything about it, and now the city is so broke that we don't have enough officers on the streets to crack down on these gangs. These laws protect us from worse violence. The last thing we need is these thugs getting their hands on assault weapons to carry out mass killings.

We need stricter enforcement of current laws, more boots on the streets and good tactics to keep our kids out of these gangs.

The National Rifle Association and gun advocates want to put more armed security in schools, which isn't a bad idea, but they also want to arm teachers and administrators.

Who is going to pay for weapons and ammunition?

Who is going to pay to train these people?

Our governments are broke.

Our schools are broke.

Aaron Weisman, Chicago

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