Rabin turns to lobbying of U.S. leadersIsraeli...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Rabin turns to lobbying of U.S. leaders

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin indicates that Israel is now a "freedom fighter" against the global spread of Islamic fundamentalism. Downplaying his deportation of Palestinians from their homeland, he wants to sell his ideas to Bill Clinton before Mideast peace talks reconvene.

Israel has been a "freedom fighter" for many years: supporting South Africa with arms during apartheid, selling arms to military governments in Central and South America, to fundamentalist Islamic Iran.

Rabin sounds like our heroic freedom fighters Ronald Reagan, Ollie North, George Bush, John Poindexter, et al. He presents (as did Reagan) the big emotional lie, pandering to our emotions and instincts -- rather than to our reason.

Public relations and lobbying is the tool of the accomplished sociopath. Sociopaths are persuasive and "cool" because they have no right/wrong "brakes" to curb them.

Usually the United States media hooks onto the best public relations ploy. The American people have been fed on half-truths and lies for too long now. Enough is enough. With American money and weapons, Israel is now one of the strongest nuclear powers on earth. Let's get on with the peace talks, recognizing Israel's and Palestine's right to co-exist, and fight terrorism in whatever form -- through the United Nations, etc.

Herbert J. Scism

Essex

Honoring Douglass

As we celebrate Martin Luther King's birthday this month, all Americans also should honor Frederick Douglass, the great black orator, abolitionist, journalist and father of civil rights who was born into slavery in Maryland during the month of February, 1818.

Largely self-educated and self-liberated, Douglass rose against formidable odds to become a great American leader not only in the fight for the abolition of slavery but in the wider cause of human rights.

After the Civil War, Douglass used his unique gifts as writer and orator to fight for equal rights for blacks as zealously as he had fought for emancipation.

He was actively associated with the campaign for equal rights for women and became a champion of free education for "every poor man from Maine to Texas."

In addition, he played an important role in the early black labor movement and was involved in the temperance crusade.

Gary Y. Davis

Baltimore

New direction for NAACP's Baltimore County branch

Being a life member of this grand old organization known as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, I enter into the year 1993 with a bit of skepticism, a bit of optimism and a lot of renewed energy about the prospects of the organization in general and our Baltimore County branch in particular.

The organization has served persons of color well over the years and now needs an overhaul of leadership nationally and locally to assure refocusing. This refocusing is badly needed so that this organization will continue to be a force in the greater community.

I wish to congratulate the newly elected officers of our Baltimore County branch and to wish them success in the coming year. Even though I have great concerns about the number of Baltimore City residents that were elected to the executive board of our branch, I only wish that they have the commitment, the determination, the energy and the steadfastness of purpose for the tasks before them.

I would be remiss if I failed to comment on the events that have taken place over the past year.

Our president, retired Col. James R. Pennington, was forced from his office after 14 years of dedicated service at the helm of our Baltimore County branch.

Several of those years were often stormy and confrontational for the colonel, but there was always an agenda and there was never a dull moment. Many of us did not agree with his style, but those of us who knew him never doubted his sincerity.

Allow me to say loudly, emphatically and unapologetically that TC the colonel's approach to many problems over the years, even though often misunderstood and sometimes purposely recorded incorrectly, were never directed to achieve any other purpose than that of improving the plight of the people of color he represented.

The colonel was not guilty of misconduct in office; he was guilty of being too committed to the cause. He was guilty of exacting too much from volunteers. He was guilty of expecting too much from others. He was guilty of caring for some who did not know how to care for themselves. He was guilty of not realizing that the era of direct confrontation on issues was waning.

And lastly, he was guilty of not realizing that the party was over, and that he had served beyond his time. Often leaders in our communities, politicians and bureaucrats alike, stay in power too long and harm their earned images and destroy their effectiveness. I wish personally to thank the colonel for his unwavering leadership provided to our branch over the last 14 years.

I wish him well, and only hope that the current leadership has taken good notes.

Reflecting on the mission of the NAACP, it is vitally important that the newly elected leadership realize that the organization is not a country club or an elitist organization. It is not a place to come to relax, for there is work to be done. We are and will continue to be a community-based grass roots organization committed to a set of principles.

Our mission shall always be to insure the political, educational, social and economic equality of colored people. Our focus will continue to be on the mundane activities of voter registration, voter education and voter participation. We will continue to be concerned about the equal education of our children, the fair treatment of persons of color in the criminal justice systems, the equal access to and fair promotions in jobs, fairness in housing and in all other public accommodations.

To many of us, these concerns and privileges are all but assured; to others they are continuing struggles.

Harold G. Gordon

Baltimore

School reforms

Two thoughts on education reform for the consideration of the political and public school establishments of Baltimore City as they seek to guide our schools through 1993:

Regarding the frequently stated commitment to "restructuring," just when the restructuring movement is calling for more decision-making authority to be invested at the school level, the reality is that educational decision making is more "top down" and hierarchical than ever.

The idea that superintendents must provide vision and leadership is actually open to question. "What restructuring calls for is collective vision and shared leadership," writes Kenneth A. Tye in "Beyond the Rhetoric of Restructuring," published in the September Phi Delta Kappan.

Regarding any attempt at "comprehensive" change, Linda Davis, the deputy superintendent of the San Francisco United School District, writes that "teaching is a personalized act, and we really need to focus on the children if we really are making decisions around what's good for children.

"Political analysts' heads are in a different place than mine. But I think if we thought more about children, we might make a lot more intelligent decisions."

Jo Ann O. Robinson

Baltimore

Heartfelt thanks

Being a single parent can be very difficult, especially if this includes being financially strapped. During the Christmas season we feel pressured, sad and even inadequate.

This holiday season I have been blessed with several donations from several different charitable organizations: Santa Claus Anonymous, the Calgary Church in Towson and the Adopt a Family for Christmas program. I witnessed firsthand the genuine love, concern and generosity that the citizens of Baltimore have for the less fortunate.

My faith in humankind has been reconfirmed. With heartfelt gratitude let me thank all of you for everything, especially the good will and love that has been expressed and circulated throughout our communities.

I look forward to giving back to the community all that I have received and more.

Elvira Mattson

Towson

A new day

In reply to your letter writer who asks (Dec. 30) where is Hyman Pressman when we need him, may I and many of his longtime friends and admirers answer: That dear man has gone. And a new generation cometh and we might as well forget about what used to be.

Recently I encountered a City Hall official joyfully riding a crowded public elevator. I was quite surprised because his predecessor, to my knowledge, rode a private, secured elevator all the time -- alone with his thoughts and his bodyguards . . .

Comptroller Jacqueline McLean's integrity, honesty and sense of justice has not been tarnished by her zeal in insisting that equal opportunity laws be applied as intended. And this constituent will not require her to write poetry, too.

Politically, a new day has dawned.

David E. Sloan

Baltimore

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