The Sad Part
I salute Roger Simon on his column June 24 about O. J. Simpson. He hit the nail squarely on the head.
The sad part about this tragic affair is that O. J. will probably get little or nothing in the way of punishment for these killings.
Most of what we read about NCAA sports is disparaging, discouraging and disappointing.
Athletics directors and coaches are portrayed as the creators of an environment where the motto is win at all costs, and athletic success is more important than academic achievement. As I leave my position as director of admissions at Johns Hopkins University to assume an officer level opportunity at Hamilton College, I feel compelled to advise your readers that "it ain't necessarily so."
What the typical college sports fan (or detractor) does not see is the other roles played by the college coach. Adviser. Teacher. Confidant. Role Model. Friend!
Perhaps Bob Scott and the staff he has assembled at Hopkins are unusual. For, to a person, they are the kind of men and women we would like our children to play for and to emulate. They win, and their student/athletes graduate. They learn lessons on teamwork, commitment and setting priorities that will serve them well regardless of where they go or what they do when their playing days ore over.
The underlying principles of college athletics are not forgotten as the newspaper headlines may lead you to think. Talk to your friend or neighbor who played sports as an undergraduate; who do they keep in touch with, who mentored them outside the classroom? Or stop by the Newton White Athletic Center at Johns Hopkins, where several hundred athletes, a small group of coaches and a single man, Bob Scott, will make you feel very good about the role athletics plays at our colleges and universities today.
Richard M. Fuller
The writer is dean of admissions and aid at Hamilton College.
Cloaked in Piety
Anthony Cobb's June 21 letter attacking Cal Thomas' June 15 column makes me wonder if he really understands Mr. Thomas.
Mr. Thomas made no call to impose his or any other's religion by law. Only that we should try again the policies and principles that worked in the past.
The people Mr. Cobb condemns as "cynical" are only Jeffersonian democrats, free enterprise supporters, traditional Christians, etc. They don't believe in big government.
It is today's so-called liberals who want big government, who try to force people to act, feel and think in the approved manner (militant environmentalism, social engineering, etc.) and who are fueled by demagogic exploitation" and "cloaked in piety," to use Mr. Cobb's terms.
Robert Y. Gioia
Silence is Smart?
This is in response to the June 24 commentary by Edward Lee, in which he told of three Asian-American women who were taunted on the District of Columbia Metro.
It saddens me that no one spoke up to defend the women, but I don't believe it was because the other riders were indifferent or were not sufficiently angered by the derogatory remarks to say anything. The silence on that train was perpetrated simply by fear -- fear of possible retaliation by the man whom Mr. Lee described as "heavyset" and "reeking of sweat and alcohol." Who could be certain that this large, probably intoxicated, definitely agitated man would not physically harm anyone on that train, including the three women, if adequately incited?
Mr. Lee's piece, unfortunately, is not merely a commentary on wanton harassment which is experienced by minorities in this country. It is also a commentary on the fear of violent crime which grips us all and suppresses the demonstration of our innate compassion toward our fellow human beings.
In an age of random violence, it is unthinkable to interfere or chastise a strange adult about his or her behavior.
The riders on the Metro did the only sensible thing: they kept silent and continued on their way. It's the smart thing to do.
I'm truly sorry for the three Asian-American friends of EdwarLee.
In this day and age, with all the lunatics carrying guns, is there any wonder no one would speak up?
Be realistic now.
Candidates Owe Details on Welfare Reform
Thanks to The Sun for setting the record straight in its June 16 editorial, "Welfare as We Know It":
"If the nation really chooses to invest in its poorest citizens, much as it invested in the middle classes after World War II, the long-term benefits would repay the costs many times over."
Instead of boasting his welfare reform plan is "something the Bubbas of America and the liberals can get together on," President Clinton should worry about the welfare of poor children, the lack of living wage jobs and the growing number of people who can't feed their families without turning to soup kitchens and food pantries.
In Maryland, with the defeat of Gov. William Donald Schaefer's welfare reform initiative, a new governor, and in all likelihood a good number of new legislators, will have an opportunity to do much better than the Clinton plan for welfare reform.
But we've got to start looking at welfare reform as an investment.
If, we invest the same creativity and energy in welfare reform that went into Camden Yards, then we can surely create a welfare system that works for all of us.
The Clinton plan should challenge Maryland gubernatorial candidates to invest in the lives of its poorest citizens. They can start with realistic strategics to create jobs that pay a living wage.
This is the best incentive to get people off welfare and into the work force.
In Maryland, many thousands of jobs lost during the recession simply aren't coming back. Others have been replaced by low wage or temporary jobs without benefits.
A single mother under President Clinton's plan, "enrolled in a subsidized job or community service work that pays minimum wage," still falls below the poverty line.
We don't need welfare reform to increase the number of food stamp recipients or lengthen the lines outside food pantries and soup kitchens.
President Clinton says his plan is "intended to frame a national debate on welfare reform." Apparently he's decided to exclude welfare customers and working poor people from the debate.
President Clinton's plan should further challenge gubernatorial candidates to listen to welfare customers, true "students" of welfare, and bring them to the table when it's time to start hammering out a welfare reform plan that works.
A statewide coalition of welfare customers in Maryland has been working to "end welfare as we know it," and to make sure our state doesn't sell out its future with a politically expedient version ofwelfare reform.
If Maryland gubernatorial candidates want to meet the challenge of welfare reform, they should use the following litmus test to guide their work.
Real welfare reform should protect the future of all children; reduce poverty, not just welfare rolls, in Maryland by investing and building economic opportunities for people in the communities where they live; and assess and address a family's basic needs, not just the head of a household's employability status.
We need to hear now from the gubernatorial candidates, and others seeking office, how they plan on reforming welfare in Maryland. We need to know if they have the vision to see welfare reform as an investment in our future.
With the right leadership, capable of involving business, government and welfare customers, Maryland can surely do better than President Clinton's welfare reform plan.
With yet another generation of children eating in soup kitchens and growing up poor, we can't afford not to.
The writer is the executive director of the Maryland Food Committee.