Democratic Party Is Alive and Well
I was interested to read the July 10 letter from Dick Fairbanks about his perception that Democrats are shifting to the Republican Party because my experience is directly the opposite.
I spent most of my 55 years as a committed Republican until the party in 1980 turned its back on its own heritage. The party of Teddy Roosevelt has essentially declared war on conservation and the environment. The party of Abraham Lincoln has abandoned the battle for human justice and equality. The Equal Rights Amendment was long a part of the party platform until it was rejected in 1980. Economic conservatism, fiscal integrity and striving for a balanced budget was rejected under Reagan and Bush who created deficits larger than the previous 200 years combined.
Concern for individual privacy from the government and religious freedom for all has been replaced by a crusade to impose the views of one group of zealots on everybody. The hypocrisy of advocating "traditional family values" is promulgated by Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich whose own immediate families hardly are role models.
The prior opposition of the party to the government dole has been replaced by a party which is the champion of continued below-cost grazing fees on our public lands by fat-cat Republican ranchers, continued below-cost timber sales on our public forests for fat-cat Republican timber interests, continued sale of public mining lands and mineral rights for $2.50 per acre to fat-cat Republican mining interests, continued subsidies for "farmers" to fat-cat Republican agricultural interests. Who leads the charge on these issues to protect the fat-cat interests? Bob Dole, the leader of the Senate Republicans who brags that he can block the majority in the House of Representatives and the majority in the U.S. Senate through the constant threat of the filibuster. So much for majority rule and the will of the people.
What strikes me in my associations with younger people these days is how many individuals between roughly 18 and 40 who grew up in Republican homes have shifted to the Democratic Party. The current situation in Virginia, Texas, Minnesota and other states indicates there will be further defections from the right-wing extremism of what the Republican Party unfortunately has become.
David H. Pardoc
I was delighted, but not surprised, to read that high school seniors in Howard County are registering overwhelmingly Democratic.
The presidential election of 1992 was clearly a referendum on America's future. President Clinton campaigned to people our age, of the supposed "Generation X," on the promise that this generation of Americans, my generation, and that of those high school seniors would not become the first generation of Americans whose standard of living would be below the generation before them.
As a result, turnout among young voters (18-30) was higher nationwide than it had been in decades, and the young vote went decidedly Democratic. President Clinton has worked hard to maintain his promise to us by promoting a strong domestic agenda on issues such as national service, economic growth and health care. As a former president of the Young Democrats of Maryland, I am proud to have President Clinton firmly in control of leadership of this great nation.
By contrast, nationally and locally, the Republican Party fails to address the needs of America's generation of young people. Then-President Bush repudiated the young vote, with his famous "I am not a teeny-bopper" response of young voters in November. Locally, the Howard County Republican Party states that the high Democratic registration among high school seniors is attributed to coercion of these registrants by Democratic teachers. As the Howard County Republican Party should know, any coercion of an individual during the voter registration process is illegal. . . .
Rather, I feel that Howard County's high school students have given a loud and clear message on what party represents the best chance on the national, state and local levels to ensure them of a solid future.
By a large margin, they have selected the Democratic Party, and this is a signal that Democrats hear loud and clear, but one that the Republicans seem to feel is unworthy of a response.
Bill Woodcock Jr.
A Case of Racism or Just Overreaction?
"Character assassin wields ugly sword while proclaiming righteous indignation."
Catchy title, huh? I expect that Journalism 101 teaches that the most important part of an article is to get people to read it. Kevin Thomas is an accomplished writer, so I'm sure it's no accident that he ties together a catchy title, a popular Howard County restaurant, racism, O. J. Simpson and interracial marriage in his column of July 10. Since I don't have the benefit of preaching my personal views to thousands of readers on a weekly basis, I too must rely on such tricks to attract attention to my expression of opinion.
Mr. Thomas devoted himself to a scathing attack on The Crab Shanty staff, and in particular to Cliff Hughes regarding an incident where he felt that he was treated insensitively.
He arrived before the restaurant was open for serving to the general public, so he waited until the opening time, but was not seated ahead of other guests arriving at the time of opening. He reports that the hostess "rudely suggested" he get in line behind the other arriving patrons when he protested not being called to be seated first. He asked to see the manager, who arrived "promptly." According to Mr. Thomas, Mr. Hughes "did not apologize," but only "offered erroneous excuses and finally, in a condescending and defensive tone, insisted there was no attempt to discriminate against [him] because he considered [his] money 'as green as anyone else's.' "
The rest of his column engages in a long explanation of why this incident deserves two columns of The Sun's Sunday edition. Concluding the column, Mr. Thomas asserts, "The fact is, the hostess at the Crab Shanty was at best incompetent or at worst intentionally rude," and, "Mr. Hughes' remarks were, quite simply, stupid and served only to compound the problem." Isn't it interesting that Mr. Thomas refers to his opinions as facts?
Let's consider what facts truly exist. Mr. Thomas was not pleased with the order with which people were seated at the Crab Shanty. Mr. Thomas believed he was was not treated appropriately by the staff and management of the Crab Shanty. Mr. Thomas has used his position as a journalist with access to thousands of readers to personally vilify The Crab Shanty and Cliff Hughes, by name. There is no recount of the alleged incident by either Mr. Hughes or any other person present at the time, other than Mr. Thomas. . . .
Why didn't Mr. Thomas complain privately to the ownership of the Crab Shanty about his alleged mistreatment and suspicions of prejudicial treatment? Why didn't Mr. Thomas write a thoughtful article about sensitivity to racial prejudice using his recount of the alleged incident without naming the restaurant or the manager? . . .
Mr. Thomas' actions as self-proclaimed unbiased witness, judge, jury and executioner are reprehensible. They represent exactly the abuses of power and position within the journalistic world which must be stopped. Mr. Thomas' column was totally self-serving. . . .
I have been to The Crab Shanty many times and have spoken with Cliff Hughes on many occasions. The Crab Shanty does serve some of the best seafood in Howard County, and I always see a crowd of people, of many different races, enjoying the food, atmosphere and company of friends. . . .
John C. Engdahl
I am writing in response to Kevin Thomas' column of July 10 accusing the Crab Shanty restaurant in general and manager Cliff Hughes in particular of shoddy management stemming from what he views as a racial incident at the restaurant.
I find it disingenuous of him to assume on a few words that the Crab Shanty is in error. He quotes little of the alleged incident and rather than let the reader make up his/her own mind, he uses it as a rallying point on which to discuss a host of other issues. He runs the gamut from paranoia in an elevator to interracial marriage.
If Mr. Thomas has comments about the state of black/white relations, that is perfectly acceptable. Unfortunately, using the Crab Shanty incident as a springboard to those issues not only hurts the reputation of a fine Ellicott City establishment -- the owners have long been community contributors -- but also is an outright personal attack based on a short, heated exchange.
I believe that this was at best a string of unfortunate assumptions and at worst a figment of Mr. Thomas' imagination. I will continue to patronize the Crab Shanty restaurant and I am sorry that Mr. Thomas will not be there to join me.
Scott P. Seiler
Regarding Kevin Thomas' column, "The Seafood's Good, But I Won't Be Back": Mr. Thomas has the right not to like the hostess and manager at the Crab Shanty. I can't say that I like everyone in the world myself. My concern with his column is its content and why The Sun would give him a forum for his personal problem.
If you review his statements carefully, it becomes apparent this non-racist has been "hiding in the closet." Just because he was told his money is "as green as anyone else's," the situation became racial to him. I have heard this comment many times and it never involved a racial indentity inference.
Once Mr. Thomas gets our attention by mentioning the Crab Shanty, he leaves the scene and wanders off to give his viewpoint on the following: the racially hued prism of whites; the denigration and stereotyping of blacks; white women grabbing their purses on an elevator; blacks who are focused on racial matters; interracial marriage, and even brings in the O. J. Simpson trial. Why didn't he mention Denny's?
What does all this venom have to do with who gets served first or third at the Crab Shanty or anywhere else for that matter?
Robert G. Evans