The Real Reginald Stewart
Editor: I am writing regarding a wonderful letter that was printed in the March 10 edition of The Sunday Sun from Ann Hennessy about Reginald Stewart, former conductor of the Baltimore Symphony and director of the Peabody.
Ms. Hennessy describes him as a tall, distinguished gentleman, reminiscent of her favorite movie stars, but what she failed to mention is that he never wore a hairpiece or dark, horned-rimmed glasses! Alas, the lovely letter regarding my grandfather Reginald Stewart was accompanied by the wrong photo!
Thank you, Ms. Hennessy, for taking the time to express such warm thoughts about a man that I am proud to have in my heritage.
Baltimore. Editor: It's bad enough that you and the other media still nostalgically hype the Sixties as some sort of golden age, but when you publish and interview with that unrepentant, discredited miscreant, Timothy Leary (Feb. 24), you have gone too far. What possible excuse could you have for giving Leary a forum for his advocacy of using crack and other highly dangerous drugs at all, let alone in a section typically read by kids?
As for the Sixties, maybe it's time we recognized them for what they really were rather than what they are romanticized to be on "Family Ties" and other such fare: a dark period of social disintegration, mediocrity and violence unparalleled in American history. We're still suffering from the Sixties' legacy of lowered moral, educational and musical standards, but today's kids are making a real comeback. Shouldn't we adults do everything we can to help them make the right decisions rather than encourage them to repeat the tragic mistakes of the past?
Editor: Words from Western District's Maj. Eugene Tanzymore: "People will tolerate a murder in a back alley, a body with a bullet in the head. But they won't tolerate two people dead in the middle of the day from automatic weapons."
I don't know which is worse -- that an officer of a major police force believes people will tolerate such atrocities or that people actually will tolerate such atrocities.
Heaven help us here at home, while we try to bring peace and stability in the Middle East.
Editor: Your Perspective section quotes an unnamed State Department official stating about Israel, "They were . . . not a strategic ally during the past six months." The item concluded with the observation that "Israel ought to be on notice that it might not always be considered the best of strategic allies."
President Bush should remind this official that if it were not for Israel's destruction of Iraq's capacity to build a nuclear threat to the entire Middle East, our armed forces might still be fighting over there in a far more dangerous situation.
As a father of a son who served in Vietnam as well as in the Middle East, I, for one, consider Israel to be a strategic ally.
I believe Colin Powell and Norman Schwartzkopf would agree.
Sylvan M. Caplan.
Reasons for High Stamp Costs
Editor: I wish to point out to you several inaccuracies in Ray Jenkins' column on the reasons for the high cost of stamps.
The column indicated we bargain for pensions. Our pensions are not negotiated but determined by the Civil Service Retirement System. When he referred to the average salary, he forgot to mention that encompasses not only all craft employees, but postmasters, managers and supervisors.
What happens with local and state employees has no bearing on what postal employees should be getting and negotiating.
The column mentioned the first contract with the National Postal Mail Handlers Union was arbitrated. The truth of the matter is that the contract was negotiated and the only issue going to arbitration was whether the COLA will be given to the new hires.
With our contract, an arbitration panel will make the decision for the economic package and any other issues. The binding arbitration was brought about because Congress could not agree to allow letter carriers to withhold their services in the event there was a breakdown in negotiations.
We realize the tremendous growth in the private message services. But if we are allowed to provide the best mail service to the American public, those other methods of delivery and communicating will be left in the dust.
The worst thing that could happen to the Postal Service would be any form of privatization and deregulating. Just remember what happened when the telephone service was deregulated. The cost skyrocketed.
The writer is president of the Oriole Branch No. 176 of the National Association of Letter Carriers.
A Just Peace
Editor: I found The Sunday Sun article by Religion Editor Frank P. L. Somerville ("Clerics at odds on conflict cite 'just-war' theory") both interesting and enlightening.
An even more important moral question than the justness of the current war and its possible extensions is the fairness of the following peace. The justness of the war and its extension are of course important, but they are also moot. Nothing we can say or do will effect them, they are effectively over. The peace is yet to come, and if it gets a bad start, it will be only a preparation for the next war.
If peace is to succeed, it must be perceived as fair, both now and later; otherwise it will contain the seeds of its own destruction. The peace will have to be accepted by everyone in the region, and it will have to include everyone in the region. Including Lebanon and Israel.
The conflicts within Israel and Lebanon cannot be left to fester, or they will destroy the peace. Because they involve those who are regarded as Arabs by the Arabs as a whole, linkage may not be gainsaid or denied, however objectionable it may be to some. There will be no lasting peace unless the conflicts are settled to the satisfaction of all concerned.
The task will not be easy, but Lebanon may be inching in the right direction. Israel has great expertise in many fields besides war. If some way can be found to exchange this expertise for guarantees of national existence and monetary assistance, the Palestinian problem may be solvable.
Finding some win-win solutions for Israel and Lebanon should be possible, but far from easy. Getting everyone concerned to feel that they have enough win to give settling some scores will be the hardest part. War crimes trials and reparations may be a luxury we cannot afford, if they inhibit acceptance of the peace.
Reparations that cannot be paid in a reasonable time are especially pernicious because they will eventually fall on those who are now children, who were innocent bystanders, and will not feel fairly treated.
The heavy reparations following World War I were instrumental in the rise of Nazism and World War II. The lesson was taken to heart, and following World War II, we gave economic aid to our defeated enemies.
Let the discussion roll, for we too have to accept the peace for it to endure.
Havre de Grace.