The Crystal Award Broke, Just Like Liberalism
Even the usually hostile press was aghast when on April 13 a bedraggled anti-nuclear activist slipped past Secret Service agents during a speech by President Reagan in Las Vegas at an awards ceremony of the National Association of Broadcasters and smashed a crystal award at the feet of the ex-president.
Shards of crystal exploded violently about the podium, some falling on President Reagan's head. Looking stunned, President Reagan watched as a Secret Service agent instinctively shielded him. Two other agents brusquely hustled the flake (later identified as Paul Springer, founder of the anti-nuclear group "100th Monkey") off stage. Gaining his famous composure and sense of humor, President Reagan quipped, "Was that a Democrat by any chance?"
President Reagan's quip is more apt than he probably intended. A fanatic hippie arrogantly intruding upon an ex-president's speech to commit a meaningless, destructive act to gain attention for a left-wing cause is a perfect paradigm of the political tactics of the liberal intelligentsia in this country.
Having consistently failed for more than 20 years to gain mainstream approval for their slate of leftist pet peeves, America's liberals now regularly resort to colorful publicity stunts, such as smashing crystal statues at the feet of famous octogenarians. Other examples of this dubious political methodology include spiking trees in the Pacific Northwest, sanctimonious charity rock concerts, tossing eggs and vegetables at public officials not sufficiently enthusiastic about perverted sex, and the ever-popular but seldom effective hunger strike.
These tactics are the result of failing to win approval for the
leftist agenda through the standard political process. The landslide electoral defeats of the liberal mouthpieces of the Democratic Party in 1972, 1980, 1984 and 1988 have proven the futility of expecting the American electorate to support candidates so far to the left of the U.S. mainstream. Additionally, the current crises of AIDS, the soaring illegitimate birth rate, the dissolution of the family and family values and the drug abuse epidemic have all finally caused most Americans to turn their backs on the inane, narcissistic and dangerous indulgences of the "progressive" 1960s.
Clearly, the nation has been turning rightward in national politics since that turbulent and destructive decade. The proof in the pudding remains the enormous victories of Presidents Reagan and Bush in the 1980s. Liberals do realize this fact, although they will take great pains and spout convoluted reasoning to avoid admitting it. Hence the need for unconventional tactics, such as Springer's Las Vegas stunt.
The fact that these tactics are often uncivilized, brainless and offensive does not deter the keepers of America's liberal flame. After all, their version of eternal truth and political correctness is the only one that counts; it is only the ignorance and intellectual inability of America's populace to comprehend "progressive" verities which causes most citizens to constantly reject their agenda. Just ask any university professor what he thinks of the Reagan presidency.
The proper perspective in which to put all of this is one of disapproval moderated with understanding. After all, the prevalence of liberal shock tactics indicates a certain level of desperation. These tactics will inevitably do nothing to increase public support for causes such as "100th Monkey," and indeed run the risk of further alienating the mainstream from these fringe groups. So the next time a Berkeley-reject assaults a senior citizen, look upon it as not as an offensive violation of someone's personal rights, but rather as a sign of the political times, one which may metaphorically read, "Merge Right."
Roy F. Unger Jr.
Havre de Grace
As a high school journalist on the school paper, I am outraged that a newspaper would print a story about someone with AIDS without asking the family or even considering the family's feelings and rights to privacy.
The former tennis pro, Arthur Ashe, has kept this part of his personal life just that, personal. He obviously did not want the entire world to know about this tragic and extremely personal part of his life.
Yes, the purpose of the media is to inform the public, but is it at the expense of individuals and their rights?
I am considering this field of study in college, but I don't want to have any part in the media where a hot story that might sell would take precedence over the feelings of an individual.
Mr. Ashe is no longer in the spotlight or even running for a public office, so why should his life and his family's life be turned upside down and invaded? This man has a right to live and die in peace without everyone knowing his private business.
Rebecca K. Hewitt
Accuracy in the Media
Inclusion of Carl Rowan's op-ed article in The Sun on April 20 is a classic example of how little respect you, Carl Rowan in particular and reporters in general have for accuracy and the facts. Do you really believe that they have become irrelevant, that your decreasing (for good reason) readership no longer cares or are you all just lazy slobs?
Mr. Rowan states that if President Bush were to pay his fair share of state (or local) income taxes, the federal treasury would be fatter -- wrong -- if Mr. Bush paid his fair share of taxes, the treasury of either Maine or the District of Columbia would be fatter. In fact, if Mr. Bush paid his $30,000, the federal Treasury would be $9,300 poorer since state taxes are deductible for federal purposes.
Mr. Rowan says the IRS gives Mr. Bush the "closed, see-no-evil eye" -- wrong -- the IRS could care less about Mr. Bush's state income taxes. Its not the IRS' bailiwick, its officers have trouble enough taking care of areas that are rightfully theirs. The blind eye belongs to Maine and/or the District of Columbia.
The only accuracy in Mr. Rowan's column, which he didn't particularly emphasize and which is the only possible reason for the column's existence, is that Mr. Bush's games are a strong inducement to others to run their own scam.
Come on Mr. Rowan, come on Sun, come on reporters in general, get your act together. Give us facts, give us accuracy, spend at least enough time to get the basics straight and stop insulting our intelligence.
Don C. Macaulay
Jesse Jackson as Running Mate
I feel compelled to answer Byron Predika's letter (April 14) downplaying the outrage of Jews regarding Jesse Jackson's public remarks about "Hymietown" by countering with the statement that Jews use the term "schwartze" when referring to blacks. But he neglected to mention Mr. Jackson's public embrace and support of Yasser Arafat and the fact that Mr. Jackson never removed himself from Louis Farrakahn's anti-Semitic circle.
Yes, I'm sure there are many Jews who have publicly used the belittling word "schwartze" to describe blacks. However, the difference is that none of these Jews has been selected as a potential running mate in a presidential campaign. And if they had been, blacks would have been as outraged as the Jews have been about Jerry Brown's choice.
The Jews are not against a black candidate, they are just against Jesse Jackson -- whose qualifications as well as his judgment are highly questionable.
Your April 19 Business section ran an article regarding the problem of poor statistics and their role in the current economic slump.
The article quoted Michael J. Boskin, chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisors, as saying that bad decisions by policy-makers may have caused the latest slump. "Virtually none of us a year in advance saw the economy flattening out in 1991," he said. "Virtually everyone had the economy improving."
Mr. Boskin and Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, also would perhaps like to have their thoroughly faulty analysis of the economy blamed upon statistics, rather than on their failure to pay attention to the anecdotal evidence which was abundant as early as late 1989 (and certainly by early 1990) that something was wrong. The economy was already slowing as measured by the year-to-year trend in GNP.
A downward slope in consumer confidence was a warning signal. Real estate values were dropping. The bank crisis was beginning. Yet the two most senior economists were talking about a soft landing and initially refused to even acknowledge the existence of a credit problem. All this before the intrusion of the gulf crisis.
Mr. Boskin's assertion that virtually everyone was optimistic as to 1991 might be viewed as self-serving since concern was already being expressed about the probability of an economic slowdown. Perhaps he should have listened to the many economists who said for years that the economic statistics being published by the various federal agencies should only be part of the decision-making process.
Even at their best, government statistics are a measurement of what has already happened. They are often out of date and they are subject to major revisions. Yet it is not the statistics which is the problem. It is the lack of touch with reality and perhaps political opportunism which is the current problem.
R. Rex Rehfeld
It is not surprising that some of your readers will disagree with your columnists. It is unusual to see a reader disagreeing with herself in successive paragraphs. Jennifer Weiss' April 20 letter says flatly that one cannot be a feminist and against abortion. She then broadens the feminist agenda to include many other issues.
Now, what are we to call a person who, like columnist Joan Beck, agrees with the stated goals of feminism, as defined by Ms. Weiss, on all issues but abortion? Ms. Weiss can't have it both ways. Either feminism is a single-issue movement or it must include those who agree on some issues and not on others.
The pro-life movement is not so schizophrenic. There is only one issue, preservation of the life of America's unborn children. Members of the pro-life movement might well accept a feminist agenda on other issues, including equal pay for equal work, expanded day care, elimination of all forms of sexual harassment and so on. But if self-declared feminists insist on a pro-abortion litmus test, then they limit the appeal of feminism.
Linda Percy, in the same edition, says the (feminist) goal is saving women's lives. But the incidence of death through ordinary childbirth is extremely low. Breast and uterine cancer, however, are threats to every woman. So why isn't there a big feminist rally for more cancer research? How about a campaign against sexual promiscuity, the primary means of spreading AIDS? And how about a stand against all abortion, which sometimes threatens the mother and is nearly 100-percent fatal for the child? Ms. Percy wants to redefine abortion as the saving of life -- feminist doublespeak at its best.
Ms. Percy also says lawmakers are not going to force women to have children. She is absolutely correct. Any woman who doesn't want children can avoid sex. It is called exercising control over your own body, a stated feminist goal. Other forms of birth control are also highly effective, for those who insist on having their cake and eating it too. But in any case, lawmakers don't force pregnancy on anyone. They simply protect the rights of others, in this case of the rights of unborn children, half of whom are female.
We live in an era of feminist doublespeak. The feminists have chosen to take their stand on one issue, abortion, that ugly method of ending an unwanted pregnancy and with it a human life. If they are so certain they are right, why go through such verbal contortions to call abortion something else? Joan Beck sees through the pro-abortion smoke screen, and so do many others.
John R. Culleton Jr.
I greatly enjoy reading Ellen Goodman's columns.
I must agree that today's poor and unfortunate do seem to consider social welfare programs entitlements. That makes me very uncomfortable, too.
As an individual taxpayer as well as corporate taxpayer, my tax dollars go toward programs originally intended to be stop-gap measures. Statistically it would appear that "welfare mothers" have 1.9 children but anecdotally speaking the average American sees women of all ages continuing to engage in irresponsible sexual activity that results in children they can neither support financially nor emotionally.
Though I am a liberal, "weepy eyed" feminist, I find my everlasting well of patience and altruism sorely taxed. Whether these women are victims of "society" as a whole, poverty, ethnic background, race or overall sexism, I truly believe that every woman (even the 15 year old ones) and man (including 15-year-old boys) has the moral obligation to practice safe, responsible sex and to be solely responsible for the offspring that may result. Reckless sexual activity, regardless of one's marital status, simply punishes everyone, from society at large to the innocent children that result.
Why do these women claim their "right" to give birth to children they cannot reasonably support is greater than my right as a working taxpayer? It is arrogant and selfish of these people to continue to have children they can't support when they can't even support themselves. And that's hardly elitist, classist or racist. This problem cuts across racial lines.
In my opinion, no one is entitled to be supported in any way by the government or any private citizen when they reach adulthood and are able-bodied. Emergencies, job loss or illness certainly entitles people to help, even up to two years.
However, if people engage in sex relations at a time when they can't foreseeably support children, they ought to consider birth control until such time as their circumstances improve, if ever.
The system must change and individuals without resources, as well as those with them, must realize that their ability to bear children and being a parent is not an entitlement. It is not a moral right.
Each child is entitled to a caring, safe, healthy and clean environment. That can't happen when poor women and men indiscriminately have children because they can.
Teri L. Hagberg