North & McCarthy
Your editorial, "Virginia's Battle Royal" (June 7), was further evidence of the desperation that anti-Oliver North partisans are showing in their attempt to keep the dreaded Mr. North out of the U.S. Senate.
The comparison of him to Sen. Joseph McCarthy shows that, with the campaign barely under way, the bottom of the barrel has already been reached.
Trying to invoke the specter of Senator McCarthy to attack Colonel North, however, is not the great trump card that some people might be inclined to believe it is.
Despite the conventional myth that Senator McCarthy was the reckless smearer of innocents, a careful examination of the situation shows that he was not the irresponsible inquisitor of liberal legend.
The confusion over Senator McCarthy's numbers when he first went public about subversives in the State Department was mainly the work of his opponents.
The senator used different numbers because he was talking about different types of security risks: Those that had been listed by then-Secretary of State James Byrnes in 1946, those that were still in the department, and those that the files indicated to be Communists or pro-Communist.
Senator McCarthy's enemies were also responsible for the release of the names to the public. He had wanted to withhold the names or only mention them in private session, but Senate Democrats successfully demanded that the names be made known in public session.
By accusing him of recklessly bandying about numbers if he didn't divulge the names and accusing him of smearing individuals when the names were made known, Senator McCarthy's opponents were having it both ways at his expense.
While leftists have gotten a lot of mileage out of invoking the cry of "McCarthyism" to intimidate their political opponents, the "reign" of McCarthy was neither a one-sided inquisition nor the worst thing that has happened in American history.
The early Cold War in America was a civil war with anti-Communists being recklessly smeared (tarring with the brush of fascism was a favorite tactic) more than the "victims" of the anti-Red "witch hunts."
It should also be kept in mind that it was the saintly Franklin Roosevelt (with the help of that great civil libertarian, Earl Warren) who put tens of thousands of American citizens into veritable concentration camps, not the "ogre" McCarthy.
The same impossible standard that Senator McCarthy was held to in his anti-Communist campaign (unlike leftist crusaders, he had to be perfect or be seen as a villain ) is now being used against Mr. North.
While many liberals are trying to sweep the scandalous and self-serving behavior of President Clinton and Rep. Dan Rostenkowski under the rug, the "sins" of Mr. North in a good cause (fighting Communism) are being used to vilify him.
Charles E. Wilson Jr.
Your July 1 article on the Ways and Means Committee's health security bill really didn't do justice to what went on in that committee.
Anyone who watched the whole procedure on C-SPAN will tell you that that package was prepared in the Democratic caucus, where, considering the subdued state of the moderate Democrats, I could believe that Mr. Rostenkowski was running the show behind the closed doors.
The Democrats' amendments were already agreed to when they were presented to the full committee. The only representatives who publicly voiced any concerns about this plan were Republicans.
This made the minority party seem completely argumentative to the idea of health care reform. This kind of behavior shows what is wrong with our modern Congress.
The chairman accused a Republican member of scaring the senior citizens. As a senior, I'm sacred of what will happen to my grandchildren's future if this plan is rushed just to get votes for November.
The thought of guaranteeing health care to all seems too ambitious; think what welfare or Medicaid would be like if everyone who qualified were required to participate.
To push this through to keep the Democrats in power is totally irresponsible.
As a Democrat, I'm embarrassed that my representative was so eager to play along. I called him several times, but I have yet to hear from him.
I don't think I'll be a Democrat anymore. Because I've learned as you get older, you get more cautious, but the only ones who haven't learned are the old Democrats in Congress.
Mrs. L. Gray
Doesn't Get It
When is Michael Olesker going to "get it"? His plantation mentality is just plain wrong. It is most insulting to have the compassion of City Council persons compared to Jack Pollack's unbridled "wheelings and dealings" of the 1940s and '50s!
It seems that most of the time when Mr. Olesker writes about African-Americans (lately, quite a large part of his columns), he is either complimenting or criticizing the alleged ability or inability of African-Americans to conform to the Michael Olesker caricature of them!
Judge Joseph Kaplan and Councilpersons Vera Hall, Sheila Dixon, Iris Reeves, Melvin Stukes and Carl Stokes did the right thing.
When they met to consider Jackie McLean's health, they provided the needed additional time for healing. What if her healing had been about a sprained back and time was needed for the physical challenge of standing straight?
Would the outcome have been different for Jeffrey Levitt's wife if a similarly compassionate group had requested additional healing time for her? I can still remember the compassion I felt for that depressed and sad-faced woman in the blue leather coat.
Quite often, the first Sun column I read is that of Michael Olesker because of its talent and its power. But he must "move the mirror" so that others can see (and share ideas, opinions and suggestions) without having to first meet Michael's approval.
Have you noticed that no one refers to welfare in the proper term, -- Aid to Families With Dependent Children?
The reason is that no politician wants to be responsible or linked with any legislation or program responsible for taking services or food from children. It's too much like taking candy from babies. But that's just what most of these welfare reforms will do.
We don't pay mothers. We give mothers money to support their children.
If we are saying that this money is not used for the children, then we need to address that issue.
We don't need to confuse the public by saying that we are supporting mothers, because we are not. We are supporting families. We are giving food stamps, WIC vouchers and medical insurance for the support of the children.
Don't get me wrong, I think that welfare reform is long overdue. I think that we need to re-evaluate the amount and type of help that is available, but a cap is not the way.
But, if it is the only way, will you determine which child eats, which child has a place to sleep?
Will you listen to the hunger cries of the children who will cry themselves to sleep and explain why they no longer fall in the program? Will you be able to say that because their mother had too many children, they are no longer valuable, that they are expendable?
Or will you leave it to the mother to determine which child cries?
I pity anyone who can make that decision, and I cry for any mother who has to make the choice.
AH O. J. Is Innocent
I wish to remind the American people that, according to our legal system of today, O. J. Simpson is innocent of all charges until he is proven guilty in a court of law. He cannot be suspected guilty, he cannot have a trial in any person's heart, he must be proven guilty in a court of law.
His conviction has not been accomplished as of yet. Therefore, no matter what you suspect he may have done, you must presume him innocent right now. If he is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, then you may presume him to be guilty. Not before. At this time, O. J. Simpson is innocent.
What Gay Pride Is About
Andrew G. Webb's Opinion * Commentary commentary, "Gay Pride: Their Own Worst Enemies," June 20, was the most ill-informed collection of opinions I have ever read.
He finds "gay pride" peculiar. "One might as well take pride in being right-handed or blue-eyed," he states. However, one has never been ridiculed, persecuted, discriminated against or violently attacked for being right-handed or blue-eyed.
Besides, people should be proud of all elements that makes them the individuals they are, sexual orientation included.
He demonstrates the depth of his ignorance when he claims "the movement" for gay rights has "no clear defined goals." Fair treatment in housing, equal employment and promotional opportunity, partner rights and freedom from violence and physical abuse are very clear goals.
Mr. Webb berates "gay people" for "harping on victimization." Are we expected to ignore blatant discrimination?
His criticism of gay pride festivals demonstrates again how out of touch Mr. Webb is with the community and its diversity.
Gay pride festivals were never intended to be planned around Stonewall. They have to do with coming together in a spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood at a date and place convenient for ** each local community.
Above all, they are held in a spirit of fun and solidarity, not unlike racial and ethnic festivals of all types held throughout this country. If people dress in native and old world costumes dancing to rhythmic music, is it really so different?
Most despicable of all his slanted opinions is, "If gay people want the press to show them as ordinary people, they must demonstrate the sense of propriety or accept the consequences."
Our problem is we do blend in and become invisible because we are not different then any other group of diverse people.
Yes we have the outrageous and the outspoken also, but we should never try to sacrifice them to make people like Mr. Webb feel more comfortable.
ZTC It's frightening to think that all of this misinformation and incredible lack of understanding will fill a book. The best we could hope for is that no one reads it.
Thomas L. Ditty III