Bush has no domestic game plan
Anna Quindlen hit the nail on the head in her column "No there there" (May 7). I only question whether what George Bush stands for is an essay question or a fill-in question. The answer in any case is: Nothing.
What Mr. Bush wants has been apparent all along: be president. He brought no further thought to the position than that. He had no personal passions or ruling principles except to get to the top.
He has always acted as though it were his due for his long service in the bowels of government, including eight years in that nonentity of all positions, vice president.
If you would read George Bush, think pampered, over-privileged, whiney, wimpy little boy.
The anecdote about a youthful Bush talking about changing his tennis game, and his mother's response that "George, you have no game," says it all. His mother knew him well. He still has no game. We have a presidency, but there is no president in it.
Germond and Witcover's May 8 column regarding possible abolition of the Electoral College was cause for concern. While no one questions that a pure popular vote is more democratic, the Electoral College was a stroke of political genius.
The fact that a candidate must win a majority of electoral votes has resulted in a stable and enduring two-party system.
Without the Electoral College, the political fabric would fracture, spinning off numerous ideologically based parties. Our two-party system would soon resemble the multi-party confusion of so many parliamentary systems. In a country as complex and diverse as the United States, the two-party system has been an anchor of stability.
Working as a psychologist in a public hospital in the inner city of Detroit in late 1982, I was assigned a 16-year-old client named Shirley R. Shirley was as floridly schizophrenic as any outpatient I have seen since. Yet, because of recent Reagan budget cutbacks, we could no longer even contract for a part-time psychiatrist to give her the antipsychotic medication she so desperately needed.
Shirley lived with her nearly blind and severely diabetic grandmother. In early 1983, her grandmother received a letter stating that her meager Social Security Disability check would be halted because she was "fully employable."
Two weeks later, Shirley received the same letter, which acknowledged that although she was "slightly mentally impaired" (this woman was severely mentally ill) she was "physically healthy and therefore fully employable."
Because of other budget cutbacks, we were unable to obtain a public lawyer for her and her appeal was uncategorically rejected. Within the year, homeless and hopeless, Shirley ended up committing suicide.
Why Black America's rage and, to paraphrase James Baldwin, "the fire this time" in Los Angeles? Because the predatory Social Darwinistic agenda of the past 12 years emanating from the halls of power has led to literally thousands of cases just like that of Shirley in our nation's cities while most of White America chose to look the other way sequestered in the copasetic suburbs.
Picture a herd of powerful white elephants with perennial ill intent cornering a wounded, frightened panther. The panther's only recourse, however desperate and ineffective, would be to fight back. I think this metaphor is particularly appropriate in this political season.
At the start of the 1992 Maryland General Assembly, legislators received an "environmental issues package" from the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. The cover letter stated that they could "expect to hear from us on a much wider range of issues than presented here. Environmentalists will be involved in budget issues."
Everyone cares about the environment, but these groups are cramming it down our throat. It is dictatorship when the state tells us what we can do with our property ("growth management"), what kind of vehicle to buy ("guzzler tax"), etc.
The environmentalists have a "vision" all right: It is nothing less than to destroy industrial civilization.
Time for change
I am a white female, a wife and mother. I am, as are most people, horrified by the Rodney King beating case verdict.
I am also saddened by the rage brought on by the poverty-stricken people who feel hopeless and helpless. We need to stop the madness of racism now. We need to listen to our black leaders, who are working for unity.
Please, let's try to save ourselves and our children. Stop racism. Right now it is on all of our minds. Now is the time we have a chance to change things. Let's have some peace in America.
!Josette Marie Braswell
The savoir-faire of Rep. Maxine Waters, whose district includes the riot-torn areas of South Central Los Angeles, should be emulated by black elected officials across this country.
On a Ted Koppel special May 4, Ms. Waters admonished a group of people at a black town meeting against thinking Mr. Koppel had more power than they. In response to questioner asking Mr. Koppel to use his power to influence President Bush to do something about the turmoil in Los Angeles, Ms. Waters retorted, "I don't ever want to hear you say that one little white man has more power to get things done than you do." Ms. Waters went on to state: "I am powerful, you are powerful and blacks across this country are powerful."
Ms. Waters is exactly right about being powerful, because she is empowered by her predominantly black electorate.
It is very sad that this kind of positive, aggressive attitude is not portrayed by all black state and local elected officials.
Instead, they tend to genuflect to higher elected officials under the delusion that they have to work within the "system." Too many times our black elected officials go with hat in hand, instead of standing upright and protesting in righteous indignation.
Ms. Waters will not let anyone ride her back because she refuses to bend over. Maryland's black elected officials should take note of Representative Waters' savvy.
The writer is a former member of the Maryland General Assembly.
The Rodney King verdict
While I am as disgusted and dismayed as many other Americans are at the injustice of the Rodney King decision, I see one major stride forward that many seem to be overlooking.
In the aftermath of this tragedy, as opposed to the aftermath of the King assassination of 1968, Baltimore has a black mayor riding around the streets of Baltimore asking, "Are WE going to make it?" That's progress!
Dorothea L. Newnam
It's a sad commentary on our society that despite documented proof of a savage beating at the hands of law enforcement personnel, a miscarriage of justice can be tolerated.
As a young black man, I question how the whole process of jury selection was made. I don't condone the violence that has occurred. Indeed, I am deeply disturbed that we as a people have not learned to display our displeasure in a more constructive manner.
The people of L.A. and the rest of our cities have come to an impasse on the issue of race relations and the sometimes unequal process of justice. I hope that something constructive can be gained from this outrage of justice. Maybe it's time to re-evaluate our court proceedings.
Calvin W. Sample Jr.
While tuned to a local radio talk show during the recent riots in Los Angeles, I noted a U.S. congressman who represents this area seemingly defending the actions taken by the rioters with the following line of reasoning: When people are trying to deal with the worst of possible conditions and are constantly frustrated, you cannot really expect them to act responsibly or in a logical and rational manner.
I have to wonder then: Are police officers exempted from this line of logic or are they not also people?