"The Forgotten New York" was an excellent article that described the wasting away of U.S. manufacturing and subsequently, the American middle class. Unfortunately, this has come in the name of corporate profits by way of cheaper foreign labor. Politicians who continue to spew about the health of the economy, based on unemployment and corporate wealth, should spend some time in upstate New York. Chances are they would run into more than one person who raised a family while working in a factory, before the doors slammed shut. A few leaning silos are reminders of the many family farms that once populated the countryside. It's sad to say, it's history.
The Upside of Down
After putting my daughter with Down syndrome to bed tonight, I read "Screening for All" [December 18] on the expanded testing for Down syndrome. Though you did mention first-trimester testing gives parents a chance to prepare early for the birth of a child with Down syndrome, the other option seemed to be abortion. Another option is adoption, with more Down syndrome children requested by families than are available. Frustrations that come with raising a child with a disability are more than offset by the child's gifts. Children with Down syndrome and similar disabilities teach that what is important in life is not outward appearance but a matter of the heart. In their unhesitating acceptance of differences in others, genuine compassion, joy in small things, and unconditional love, the young adults with Down syndrome who are my daughter's friends demonstrate the essential qualities of being human that our society could do well to emulate.
ANITA REITH STOHS
In "Screening for All," information is given for a new and easier test for detection of Down syndrome in unborn babies. Are we heading more and more toward eliminating people who don't measure up? Life is a precious thing, and we should treasure each person, no matter what, and take away the option of callously denying life because we are not willing to give extra care. I would support the widespread use of this new test if it were given with the intention of preparing parents to search for resources and support for a child who might be needy or different, but certainly not abortion.
JEAN M. HAMMOND
Our Identity Crisis
With increasing problems of ID theft and terrorist threats, it is incredible but hardly surprising the short-sightedness that politicians exhibited in "Will Real ID Cause Chaos at the DMV?" [December 18]. Would our governors issue licenses for surgery without requiring and validating credentials because it is too cumbersome? Longer waits at the Department of Motor Vehicles and higher fees should not be a problem for rational people to apply for and receive a valid driver's license, and for assurances that the person presenting a driver's license is in fact the person to whom the license has been issued, not someone who has stolen another's identity. Let's hope the whining governors do not scuttle a perfectly sensible federal program.
Boca Raton, Fla.
In the post-9/11 world, the United States must take measures to ensure that all government-issued identification cards, whether state or federal, are secured. State driver's licenses represent one of the largest personal identification databases in the country used as proof of identity to cash checks and obtain library cards, for employment, and in rental housing. The sad fact is that there has never been a federal standard or uniformity among states in regard to required documentation to secure a license, or even a uniform look to the license. Until recently, New Jersey didn't require a photo.
LOUIS DE HOLOZER
Forest Hills, N.Y.