What Charles Krauthammer, in his Nov. 26 Opinion * Commentary article, sees as "lowering the threshold for what we are prepared to call normal in order to keep the volume of deviance . . . within manageble proportions," I see as society's realization that what we used to think was "normal" is not, and never has been.
The imposed normality of the two-parent, 2.5 child, two-cars-in-the-garage nuclear family only served to hide and deny the problems that lay within the society in which we live.
While he sarcastically attacks the notion that "beneath the bland niceties of middle-class life, racist, misogynistic, homophobic and other corrupt and corrupting insensitivities" are dormant, he makes it very obvious that he has never been the object of any of those prejudices.
As a woman and as an acknowledged lesbian, I can assure him that I have, and find that the society in which we are raised (read: normal middle-class) contributed enormously to that homophobia and sexism.
Isn't it easy for a heterosexual male to suddenly be threatened when people of color, women and gays demand to be recognized for who they are, be treated as equals and take their place at the table in society?
Like many others who are more blatantly racist, sexist and homophobic than he (i.e. Pat Buchanan), Mr. Krauthammer gives away the underlying reason for his opinions -- morality. It is just that so-called morality that has caused so much pain and shame in our society today.
Imposing one set of judgments on all people won't work. Only through mutual respect for other people's lives, values and -- yes -- morals, will society ever be able to address the truly tragic issues like violence, rape, racism, sexism, homophobia and others that plague our society today.
When Mr. Krauthammer asks, "What real difference is there between us?" I think the answer, unfortunately, is a great deal.
When Mr. Krauthammer and those who think like he does realize that the differences between us are things to celebrate -- and the only thing that we all share is our common humanity -- can we move beyond the criticism of "political correctness" and work for what PC really means: respecting each other in all our diversity, without moral judgment.
The writer is co-chair, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
A Role for Pikes
After reading the Nov. 18 Sun article about the possible closing of the Charles Theater, I am more skeptical than ever as to the wisdom of converting the Pikes Theater into a performing arts center.
Why not keep the building as it is, accommodate an audience which already exists, and save money at the same time?
Annette M. Bickel
An editorial headlined "Sensible State School Aid" (Oct. 31) surely missed the mark. Perhaps full details were not available to you. . . .
The past five years has seen the largest increase in state aid to public schools under the APEX plan, and despite this spending, concerns persist about results achieved.
Looks to us as though all previous surveys are correct -- money does not solve the problem. . . .
So much for fiscal impact. With respect to your comments that the plan is good for Baltimore City and targets money for schools in distress, we offer the following data:
Since 1992 state aid to education for Baltimore City has increased from $336 million to $391 million, not counting a $30 million disparity grant.
By comparison, Montgomery County has seen its state aid for education decrease from $158 million to $150 million during the same period. This is a spread of $63 million in just two years or $573 per student.
Current law continues this trend. Note that the city received $3,550 state aid per student while Montgomery County's share is only $1,360.
How far do we have to go to correct the disparity? Why do we need to spend another $427 million to establish accountability? We thought the new performance tests would accomplish this.
Perhaps a little competition would help, such as a voucher/choice system whereby all children below an income level, say within 150 percent of poverty, would receive a voucher of up to one-half of the cost of education to attend the school of their choice.
This would not only accomplish the goal of higher educational achievement but would save the locals and the state $30 million for each 10,000 students (about 1 percent) who choose to transfer.
John D. O'Neill
The writer is president, Maryland Taxpayers Association.
A Better Life
How thrilling that Carl T. Rowan has pointed out (Nov. 24) that there are more whites on the welfare rolls than blacks -- and more white illegitimate children than black.
Maybe now the black leaders will stop crying "black genocide" when Norplant is offered to any female who requests it. Actually, it should be more than offered, it should be required as a precondition of any female benefiting, however indirectly, from any kind of welfare check. Quid pro quo.
When the uneducated poor stop reproducing themselves ad infinitum, we will then be able to get the drug problems, crime, dilapidated schools and our cities under control, leading to a better life for us all.
Now that the National Football League has rejected Baltimore's bid for a team, the city must plan a new strategy.
This strategy should utilize the Baltimore-Washington region's distinguishing characteristic -- its large concentration of lawyers.
A multiple lawsuit strategy would hit the NFL where it is most vulnerable, since the NFL is about 2 for 40 in the courtroom.
Baltimore must quit playing the game by the rules -- the NFL doesn't use them.
Scott A. Conwell
Brady Bill Backers
Passage of the Brady Bill is a stupendous victory for the liberal idiots who pander to punkism, dope sellers and gun-toting law-breakers of every variety.
The aforementioned stellar citizens won't have to wait five days to obtain any weapon they are fond of. Only legitimate gun purchasers are to be penalized by their very legitimacy. This is Brady logic.
The media stink hole of misinformation should also be congratulated for its usual one-sided need to vilify and slander the National Rifle Association as well as everyone else who owns but does not misuse a firearm.
What difference does it make that over 90 percent of personally owned guns are not ever misused? . . .
The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution guarantees that the criminal element cannot be forced to "register" or "declare" ownership of a gun. This was reaffirmed recently by the Supreme Court. Yet there was not one voice raised by the Brady Bunch or anyone else of their illogical ilk. Why?
Whoever might mention that there is such a thing as the Second Amendment would immediately be pilloried as a fool who is being misled by our Bill of Rights. In turn, our pious political representatives (a joke) are quite interested in preserving that part of the Constitution which is important to their existence.
Why would politicians object to an edict that disallows self-incrimination? Should our faithful law-makers discredit an amendment that protects "free" speech even when it is frequently biased, near libelous, laced with self-serving lies and with little or no merit? Certainly not!
Nor should the media be accountable for presentation of bloated opinions as hard facts? Why should the wizards of image and wordage be responsible for the mistakes and miscalculations that they have passed off as doctrine?
After all, they print and show whatever they want. Who cares about truth and statistics when a cause is at stake? God and the media are partners!
Crime and violence plague any society where they are allowed to flourish. "Gun control" is not violence control. It only makes the would-be controller feel good until he realized that the element he seeks to eliminate is still deadly even without his gun.
If simply outlawing an unacceptable item or behavior was infinitely effective, there would be no "drug problem" or "murder problem" or "violence problem."
Certain punishment for existing misdeeds far exceeds the value of constantly creating ever more misdeeds. Laws are the dreams of the lawful -- enforcement remains the nightmare of the lawless.
Ronald L. Dowling