Editor: John Micklos' letter to the editor on Lieutenant Gov. Melvin Steinberg's plight (Sept. 5) does raise questions. The record of accomplishments should equally list the governor who initiated the programs.
Mr. Steinberg's public service record contains some positive results. However, public interest groups can also classify his certain policy performance as poor. The term "ugly," however, is reserved for the current, sad period of relationships between two public servants. Citizens should ask Mr. Steinberg why he took the oath of office after the 1990 election, given the governor's policy positions.
Mr. Steinberg should honor the compact with Gov. William Donald Schaefer and all Marylanders. Mr. Steinberg is part of the Schaefer administration, and to separate the relationship would be a crude political move which citizens of Maryland would remember in 1994. Governor Schaefer's fall in public popularity polls is no reason to support Mr. Steinberg's resignation.
Edwin S. Crawford.
Editor: George P. Will's column, "Why Vote at All? Leave it to More Thoughtful People," concluded that a smaller electorate is usually better informed. Mr. Will's elitist, Hamiltonian perspective clearly demonstrates his lack of confidence in the political sophistication of the "common man."
Who exactly are the more "thoughtful people?" Would the grassroots supporters of Eugene McCarthy in 1968 qualify as "thoughtful people" or would the Democratic bosses who secured the presidential nomination for Hubert Humphrey?
Mr. Humphrey entered the presidential race too late to file in the state primaries. However, he was able to assemble enough delegates to win the Democratic nomination on the first ballot. I am not belittling Mr. Humphrey, but want to illustrate the connection between political frustration and voter apathy -- a term and relationship that Mr. Will does not identify.
Mr. McCarthy received more than 2.9 million votes -- or 38.7 percent of all votes cast -- in the 1968 Democratic primaries. The Democrats adopted several rule changes for 1972 after the fact, but that did not change the sense of political frustration of those who participated in the primaries, since their votes were virtually ignored at the convention.
Defeat alone does not lead to frustration and disenchantment, but the belief that the presidential nominating process is both outdated and unresponsive to the electorate is a different matter.
Editor: The Sept. 7 Reuters map, "The Baltics gain independence," misleads your readers by implying that the history of Estonia begins in 1709 with its annexation into the Russian Empire.
Czar Peter I did conquer the Baltic provinces that year by defeating the Swedes -- and he was able to achieve the dream of his predecessors and open a window to the West. However, Estonians date back long before that time as members of the ancient Finno-Ugric tribes (Finns, Estonians and Hungarians) which first settled on the shores of the northern Baltic at least 500 years before Christ. Some contend that the settlements occurred immediately following the end of the Ice Age.
Over the centuries, Estonia has endured occupation by the Danes, Swedes and Germans also, but its people speak a language belonging to the Ural-Altaic family, not the Indo-European (Teutonic, German, Slavic, Scandinavian) of its occupying neighbors.
Estonia is part of Northern Europe, not Eastern Europe or the Soviet Union.
Editor: How can we expect students to learn proper English if educators like Nancy Grasmick spout the pretentious nonsense quoted in The Sun of Sept. 3?
What exactly is meant by "There has to be a coordination of inter-agency initiatives to support that child who may come from a less than nurturing home environment"?
English is a marvelously direct language, but this convoluted newspeak makes a mockery of it.
Couldn't she have found a simpler way to say we have to help our dangerously neglected children?
R. N. Ellis.
Teach the Cubans New Lessons
Editor: Your editorial about the pullout of Soviet troops from Cuba provoked some interest as to what the American reaction should be. No doubt, there are many of us who are pleased about the turn of events, much of which is in the spirit of "Good! Now they can stew in their own dilemma." On the other hand, this watershed in the fate of the Communist experiment in Cuba can also be a challenge for the United States.
While we may not hold much regard for the Castro regime, the great majority of its citizens are worthy of our assistance. The variety of help, rather than in the one-shot handout approach, can be that which leads to greater economic independence. Why not approach Fidel Castro with an offer to help Cuba if he should agree to modify the political structure to gradually become more democratic over a designated period of time?
There are ways in which we can help the Cuban population without resorting to serious impositions on our budget difficulties. A very important one, which ought to be included in our offer, would be to bring in American educators to institute a good up-to-date system of education, from grade one through community college.
We Americans, contrary to the rhetoric heard around us, have an excellent system of vocational education and the opportunities afforded as early as the middle school years. These are followed by outstanding programs in high schools and community colleges. Some good examples are available right here in Maryland, such as in Anne Arundel County.
The provision of a sound vocational education in association with a good grounding in the academics could be a major step forward for Cuba. I wish someone in our government would put together an offer to Mr. Castro, with promises on their part to gradually put aside their dictatorship, that would include our promise to help them establish a good system of education that brings together occupational preparation and academic grounding that would lead to self-respecting and productive citizens.
Angelo C. Gilli Sr.
Editor: Curing the diseased economic legacy of communism with free-trade "shock therapy" and International Monetary Fund-style austerity is like treating a malignant cancer by injecting the victim with the AIDS virus. Yet this is exactly the prescription being imposed on Boris Yeltsin et al by a host of Western government leaders and quack-doctor economists, with utterly predictable results.
Poland became the first guinea pig for the experiment as soon as its previous Soviet puppet regime fell in 1989. Harvard Wunderkind Jeffrey Sachs and the IMF were called in as advisers. Markets were deregulated, industry was privatized, subsidies were drastically cut.
The miraculous outcome? The country is in much worse shape now than it was even under Communism. Unemployment has skyrocketed, production has nose-dived and living standards have collapsed by a full third. Shipyards and tractor factories have been shut down or sold off and the fastest-growing enterprise in the country is now pornography, while in neighboring Hungary, under a similar regimen, it is casino gambling.
Free-market apologists insist that this mess is just a transition-phase to some golden age of prosperity. But virtually without exception, every underdeveloped country that has submitted to IMF-dictated "deregulation" has ended up a permanent basket case. And those nations whose leaders most loudly demand free trade -- the United States and Britain -- are also the most pitiful examples of "formerly industrialized countries." In contrast, Germany and Japan, backed by their governments' strong commitment to protect industry, promote scientific research and maintain infrastructure vital for real growth, stand as veritable oases of economic health in what is otherwise a vast desert.
If Western political leaders insist on pointing the newly-freed republics in the worst possible direction while snubbing far more viable options, then they will reap the whirlwind of chaos, breakdown and, possibly, even war that their fatally flawed policies have sown.