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Eric Cantor's Star Too Bright for Some

Many Virginians, we suspect, read Style's feature story on Eric Cantor feeling that there is little "right" or "hopeful" about his staunchly held Republican positions ("The Great Right Hope," Cover Story, April 27).

While Mr. Cantor is held up as a model of conservative Virginia, lesbian and gay citizens of the commonwealth continue to suffer at the hands of such politicos as Rep. Cantor. On a state level Virginia has enacted the most discriminatory policies since the Jim Crow laws. Nationally, Eric Cantor's voting record in Washington has been determined by the Human Rights Campaign Fund to be the worst possible for issues of concern to sexual minority persons and their families. Mr. Cantor has voted against "hate" crime legislation that includes gays and lesbians and even refused to adopt a written policy that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as it relates to employment in his congressional office. Rep. Cantor and his political positions continue to marginalize and legitimatize the oppression of many Virginia citizens.

Eric Cantor's admitted "black or white" thinking in regards to our nation's and state's complicated issues and challenges brings to mind an old quote which seems especially and sadly relevant: "There is a simple answer to every complex question —which is invariably wrong!"

William B. Clements
Donnie G. Conner
Eric P. Smith
Howard Wells

Your recent cover story on Eric Cantor reveals the major issue that is facing American politics today, fighting between the two major political parties. Rather than representing the interest of the voters that elected him, Mr. Cantor seems more concerned about being in step with the powers that be in the Republican Party. It is this narrow-minded focus and allegiance to Washington bureaucrats that has created divisions within our government, fueled a lack of respect for individuals and opposing viewpoints, and prevented Congress from doing the job for which they were elected and are paid.

Rather "than holding the party line," Mr. Cantor might want to consider the views of the locale electorate and the needs of his district. From the limited exposure given his wife in the article, it appears she may be a more open-minded individual who is better able to represent the local viewpoint.

Gary Hearn

Less than a week after his constituents read your cover story on Eric Cantor's spectacular rise in the Republican hierarchy, the Congressman was in the process of voting to simultaneously give $106 billion in tax cuts to wealthy investors, via dividend and capital gains tax cuts, while cutting $10 billion in Medicaid funding for low income Americans in need of medical care.

By voting in lockstep with George W. Bush's trickledown economic agenda over the last five years, Rep. Cantor has shown that the higher his star rises, the less he seems to care about the struggles of working Central Virginia residents.

Disregarding the fact that half of all bankruptcies are caused by medical illness, Cantor nevertheless voted to lead middle-class and low-income Richmond residents with astronomic medical costs into destitution with the horrific bankruptcy bill.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Mr. Cantor has voted to cut home-heating assistance for the poor and Section 8 housing for low income seniors and failed to fight for HOPE VI, a successful home-building and family self-sufficiency program in the Richmond area that is leading thousands out of poverty and into self-sufficiency and home ownership.

And finally, by clinging on to Tom DeLay, the most corrupt congressman since Newt Gingrich, Mr. Cantor has tainted all the people in the district he represents.

For the sake of all Richmond-area workers and families, let's hope Cantor's star falls as fast as it rose.

Eric Futterman


In "The Great Right Hope," (Cover Story, April 27), we wrote that Congressman Eric Cantor held the third-highest position in the U.S. House of Representatives as its chief deputy majority whip. Rather, he assists the third-highest position in the House — the whip, which is a position under the speaker and the majority leader. Cantor holds the highest appointed position in the House Republican leadership. Style regrets the error.

Note From the Publisher

Welcome to our 4th Annual Music Issue. It's been said that writing about music is as useful as dancing about architecture. I disagree. Music and writing have always seemed a natural match to me. When both are right, there is rhythm, melody and a profound connection between artist and audience. Perhaps that is why our writers so enjoy this chance to introduce you to a few of their favorite local music artists.

Some of these musicians may actually grab hold of that shiny brass rock-star ring. Others may spend their musical lives in obscurity. But they all have one thing in common: As John Lee Hooker sang in his protean hit blues song "Boogie Chillun," "It's in 'em ... and it's gotta come out."

I share that undeniable urge. I played my first gig in 1975, and I expect that my career won't end until they pry my pink paisley Telecaster from my cold, dead hands. Here are a few truths that I've learned along the way:

Technical proficiency is wonderful. But when it comes to rock 'n' roll, the old saw is true: The angels love enthusiasm more than perfection. How else can you explain the undying popularity of "Louie Louie"?

True artists play with the same intensity whether in front of a crowd of three, 300 or 30,000.

You don't really play better while under the influence of (fill in the blank). You just think that you do.

If you want to be a rock star someday, go ahead and start talking/acting/dressing like one right now.

Keep the guest list short and let your friends pay the cover charge. If they're not willing to support you, why should total strangers?

There have always been (and there will always be) posers who lip-sync to "guide tracks" and are marketed to fame and fortune, while talented artists go hungry. That's why Pat Boone's cover versions of Little Richard's songs always outsold the originals. It's a fact. But that doesn't mean you have to like it ... or buy it.

When playing live, if you're not sweating, you're probably not doing it right (props to Woody Allen for the quote).

When the world suddenly catches on to that great unknown band you've loved for years, don't label them a sellout. They have the right to make a living. Yet I'll admit I feel conflicted when I see that cruise line TV commercial with the Iggy Pop soundtrack.

Keep yelling for "Freebird." One of these nights we're going to surprise you and crank it out, 20-minute guitar solo and all.

In addition to being publisher of Style Weekly, Jim Wark plays guitar with Billy Ray Hatley and the Showdogs, The Taters and other local bands.

Letters to the editor may be sent to: letters@styleweekly.com

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