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BreakdownBravo, Terry Edmonds of Columbia (Letter to...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Breakdown

Bravo, Terry Edmonds of Columbia (Letter to the Editor, April 23). He has eloquently expressed my increasing concern about the crime and violence that is glorified by the movies, TV and journalists.

Does anyone have a sense of responsibility that a whole generation is growing up with little concern for fellow men because of the breakdown of standards of decency and good taste in the "rock" culture?

We cannot legislate good taste and responsibility. It takes a public outcry to halt the destruction to the fabric of our lives by these outrageous producers.

Florence S. Silverman

Baltimore

Legal Bribes

Your April 22 article, "PACs pour funds into campaigns," only goes to show that PACs are a legal form of bribe that helps strip the voting power from the average taxpayer or voter in this country.

All people are not created equal, thanks to PACs. Can the average person afford to give a few hundred or thousand dollars to those people who are running for election who seem to represent their interest? No.

While the average person may struggle to survive in these recessionary times, their elected federal or state legislative officials are enjoying a pay raise they do not deserve.

It is too bad the public cannot follow the example of private industry and lay off these highly paid servants who seem to have forgotten what they are actually in office for. Could you imagine the financial savings to the taxpayer to install people who will do the same job for less money and fewer "perks" and no outside influence at all from PACs?

If one wishes to truly give the government back to the people, it seems wise not only to establish term limits for all elected officials, but also abolish PACs and all industry lobbyists. Do not let PACs or industry lobbyists help decide what is best for the public. Let the people decide without outside influence.

Daniel E. Withey

Sykesville

Democrats

Suffice it to say that to George S. Friedman (letter, "What Maryland Republicans Deserve," April 11), the bottom line seems to be not lower taxes and a balanced budget but the frills of office and whether they'll get their full pot of gold at the end of their retirement rainbow.

How can we expect people of such a persuasion to see the logic of Del. Ellen Sauerbrey of Baltimore County and other right-thinking people of a conservative bent?

The Republican Party not only deserves a pat on the back, but after 50 years as a registered Democrat, I felt that I could no longer hold up my head as a Maryland Democrat. To regain pride and self-respect, I changed my registration to the Republican Party.

How the people pulling the strings in Annapolis could have the gall to even call themselves Democrats is beyond my comprehension.

As to a forceful blow to the lower-back-side of the Republican Party, a complete purge of the Democratic Party in Maryland would be much more beneficial to the state.

Blanche K. Coda

Baltimore

War a 'Genetic Imperative?' No

An April 21 Opinion * Commentary piece by Robert Burrus, "Could war be a genetic imperative?" argues that war is an instinct in humans akin to hunger or to the sexual drive. War, according to Mr. Burrus, is also biologically advantageous because by natural selection it picks for survival those with the best organizational and command capacities.

Mr. Burrus seems to forget that the casualties of a weapons war are not necessarily weak and the survivors are not necessarily strong. Among the men who survived the Vietnam War, there are many emotional cripples. Because the ravages of war leave eternal scars, survivors may be enervated and unfit to carry on.

Also, paradoxically, the loser of a war can be a survivor like Saddam Hussein. Obviously, war's natural-selection process weeded out scores of Iraqis for the temporary survival of a despot. The pain and horror borne by individuals did not work to the benefit of the species in this instance.

"If war were biologically disadvantageous would not natural selection delete our capacity for it?" asks Mr. Burrus. With the spread of AIDS, sex has become biologically disadvantageous, but I don't see our sexual desire deleted as yet by the process of natural selection. Sexually transmitted diseases through the years have not achieved this feat. And so it is with many things we do.

Although pollution of the earth is a horrible biological disadvantage, our capacity to pollute has not diminished over time.

Humans fight all kinds of wars every day. Hustling through traffic in the morning, competing for jobs, encountering bosses, spouses, children and underlings, humans organize and communicate to survive. When winners and casualties of such daily mundane wars procreate, out of the strong the weak or out of the weak the strong may be born.

Our attraction to news of war is not as irrational as Mr. Burrus would have us believe. We are bored as a society and our leaders will not come up with a worthier collective cause for us than war. Our thirst for news of war cannot be likened to the taste of food pushing us to sustain our existence as a species.

Even those of us who gobbled up hours of television war coverage during the gulf war do not instinctively yearn for our leaders to declare war, although leaders often do so driven more by political expediency than by some ineluctable war instinct.

If we never fight another war we would still organize, lead and communicate. The natural selection process will still be at work, striking us down with floods, diseases and earthquakes.

The only genetic imperative we seem to have is the imperative to abdicate responsibility for a lot of havoc we perpetrate by excusing it as instinct.

Usha Nellore

Bel Air

Democracy in Peru

In response to the editorial comment by Jonathan Power titled "Strongman Shortcuts Are No Substitute for Democracy" (Opinion * Commentary, April 24) it is obvious that Mr. Power doesn't know Peru, and his idea of democracy seems to be one of procedural rigidity, rather than a government by the people, therefore, procedural expediency.

It is true that in a long, well established democracy the process followed leads to an eventual solution of a particular situation, while at the same time all the other or most of the other democratic functions are flowing in harmony with their designed purposes.

But we are talking about a country where, in its nearly 190 years of existence, democracy has been there and gone at several intervals. Constant threats to democracy operate as cancerous ideologies in the universities, as anarchic fruits of discontent in the ranks of organized labor, and as a life-threatening army of delinquents that hide in the mountains and attack sporadically to create fear and intimidation in the people at national levels.

Under these conditions, no democracy is so perfect that a certain amount of police action and curfews would not occur.

While it is true that there is an impression of ambiguity in the Peruvian situation, it is only in the eyes of some observers, but, if you ask a democracy-loving Peruvian living through it, you will find no ambiguity whatsoever, which is also a reflection of the higher degree of literacy existent today.

While I agree with Mr. Power that toward democracy is where the arrow of our age points, I suggest that he consider that in some democracies there are no strong opposing winds to fight, whereas in others, such as Peru, the struggle is hard, exhausting and bitter.

Humberto A. Marruffo

Baltimore

No Choice

In her letter of March 24, Bonnie Rachel Hurwitz describes the use of the term "pro-abortion" instead of "pro-choice" as a "dangerous and misleading misuse of language."

This is a curious assertion, since I consider the same description to be valid for the use of the term "pro-choice," as used in connection with the abortion issue. "Pro-choice" is an ingenious term, for it draws attention away from the most compelling issue -- that of life or death of a developing human being -- and places it instead on the issue of women's rights, for which there is a large and enthusiastic following.

Yet, "pro-abortion" seems completely appropriate in the sense of pro-"abortion-as-an-option." Otherwise, we would have to say that there was no choice.

!Richard A. Coleman Sr.

Randallstown

No Cheap Tax

Your editorial "Cheap Tax," in my opinion, is a lot of baloney, like a lot of your othe editorials on taxes. There is no such thing as a "cheap tax." Do you really believe anybody believes what you say in this matter?

Robert H. Campbell

Annapolis

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