Let's celebrate state's 360th anniversaryOur state is...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Let's celebrate state's 360th anniversary

Our state is celebrating its 360th anniversary, dating from the glorious first landing on March 25, 1634, at what today is St. Mary's County, and the blessing of this land as a haven for those of various religions.

We, the citizens of Maryland, should celebrate this anniversary with parades, pageantry, speeches, poems and other festivities.

We should honor our state's 360th anniversary in another manner also. In honor of the anniversary, let us strive to make our schools the best ever and see to it that our young people have a compassion for the traditional values of hard work, respect and love of our country.

Let us, on this great anniversary, eliminate the drunken driver from our state roads and allow the innocent to live.

Let us eliminate poverty and human suffering and be able to accept differences of opinion among all people.

Let us register and vote and try to be good citizens, not only at election time but all the time.

Let us, on this anniversary, remember our senior citizens, who more than ever need help and care.

Let us take time to work with our young people to eliminate the use of drugs and alcohol.

Yes, we should celebrate with parades and pomp, but we should also strive more than ever to rectify the many problems, small and large, in our state.

This should be a time for all citizens to work and commit themselves to help even in some small way to make Maryland a better state for all people.

This, then, should be the true meaning of Maryland's 360th anniversary: to make a state better than we, the present citizens, have found it, and a state strongly individualistic yet always supportive of the entire United States, the perpetual and sacred Union.

John A. Micklos

Baltimore

Domestic partners

According to local ministers opposed to "domestic partnership" legislation by the City Council, there can be no family when the partners are the same sex because there can be no reproduction.

But using this logic, there could be no family if either a male or female partner were sterile, either.

Since presumably there is no objection to such male and female partners, the "abomination" here apparently is the ministers' own prejudice.

R. Reese

Baltimore

Build character

The handing out of condoms in the schools is a cop-out.

Yes, there are those who will go against the grain. This individual will gamble with his or her future just to prove a point, and then find themselves caught up in a situation they cannot extricate themselves from.

Therein lies our problem as responsible adults. Instead of insisting upon following the rule of proper conduct, we make it easier for those of weak character to become even weaker.

And then this weak individual expects everyone else to bail him out of a problem area he would not have been in had he had some strength of character.

I can relate with their problems of peer pressure, but because of peer pressure all the more reason to develop strength of character that would help them to ward of this misguided demand by their fellow students to go with the flow.

What amazes me is the young people of today have at their disposal more facts about any subject one may care to discuss, and yet they seem to gravitate toward those areas that will have a devastating affect on their lives socially, financially, and physically.

They seem to be unable, even unwilling, to stave off that element that will drag them down to the depths of destruction. Then cry for help when it is too late.

It takes a strong young man or young woman of good moral character to say, "No".

Any idiot can take up drinking, smoking, drugs and unprotected sex. But it takes a real man or woman with strength of character to avoid the obvious pitfalls. If you get your tail in a crack, then it is your responsibility, not mine, to get that tail out of the crack.

John F. Thomas

Catonsville

Off color

Your front-page story by Lyle Denniston March 8 refers to a rewrite of the classic Roy Orbison-William Dees song "Oh, Pretty Woman" by the rap group 2 Live Crew as a "black cultural commentary."

Race and/or color was not a factor in the Supreme Court's decision affecting federal copyright law. Therefore it should not be necessary to give us the racial angle.

If it makes the story more interesting, then give all your readers the same insights. Let us all know if Mark Russell is white or Jewish or English or Italian, rather than merely a "comic parodist." Or, are we all to assume that names not prefaced by racial identifiers are white, Anglo-Saxon males/females?

More importantly, 2 Live Crew's "grotesque encounter with a big hairy woman" could have been a big hairy Russian woman, but we don't know that, do we? Besides, an awful lot of people don't find anything wrong with "big hairy women."

To somehow project 2 Live Crew's parody of a song into "black social commentary" is ridiculous.

Perhaps you should re-think this cultural commentary and racial identifier business.

James Frank

Simpsonville

Single-payer health care is the way to go

As discussion of the Clinton administration's health care reform proposal intensifies, President Clinton has challenged "the others to come forward with their ideas," arguing that if the American public measures his plan against those of the competitors, we will be convinced that his is the best.

In fact, an alternative reform plan does exist that surpasses Mr. Clinton's in cost-savings and universality: the single-payer universal approach to health care reform.

Introduced early in 1993 in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives by Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), this bill, called the (original) "American Health Security Act," continues to gain supporters in the Senate and the House.

The provisions of this plan would eliminate the insurance industry and replace it with a single payer, progressively financed system: a plan with no premiums, co-payments or deductibles; a plan with guaranteed coverage for every resident; and a plan that would save most Americans money.

Under this plan, physicians retain their autonomy in making medical decisions, and patients retain their freedom to choose their own physicians.

A 1993 Congressional Budget Office report found that a single-payer plan will cut U.S. health care expenditures by $319 billion over five years and that implementation of such a plan would be far less costly than that of the managed competition proposed by Mr. Clinton.

As endorsement for this single-payer bill grows in the House, Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-Md., an early supporter, has withdrawn his sponsorship. Thus Maryland joins 19 other states that are without a single-payer sponsor among their elected representatives.

As more components of the Clinton plan are unveiled, it is obvious that this is not reform in the true sense, but an effort to maintain the interfering hand of the insurance industry in the profession of health care delivery.

Members of Universal Health Care Action Network (UHCAN!), a growing national grass roots organization actively supporting single-payer, urge Mr. Mfume to reconsider his position.

We believe that Mr. Mfume, as an active co-sponsor, can more effectively steer the debate toward a system of true reform and one that will most benefit his constituents.

Mary-Dean Quinn

Baltimore

The writer is a member of Maryland UHCAN!

Schools and sports

For too long I have watched city and state officials bend over backward for baseball and football.

Major league sports certainly have their merits and cannot be ignored. But let's get our priorities straight.

What about the schools? They desperately need money and attention. I would love to see Governor William Donald Schaefer fight as hard on behalf of the schoolchildren of Baltimore City as he has for a football team and stadium.

It will be a wonderful day when schools have all the money they need and major league ballplayers have to hold a bake sale to build a stadium.

Regina Franco

Baltimore

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