Clinton owed credit for rise in economyAlthough...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Clinton owed credit for rise in economy

Although I have been critical of President Clinton's leadership, particularly in foreign affairs, there is danger in having perceptions, group-think and cannibalistic talk-show demagogues become substitutes for truth.

If we carelessly punish political courage and economic responsibility, politicians will have even less incentive to do the right thing.

Until 30 years ago, Americans gave their presidents respect, courtesy and the benefit of the doubt -- perhaps too much.

Today, the opposite is true. Presidents before Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon weren't always better, but they were treated better by the press and public.

Bill Clinton campaigned on the economy and was elected to fix it. The fact is the economy has experienced a dramatic turnaround. Our growth rate is now better than 4 percent, inflation is about 2.5 percent and unemployment is down to 6 percent.

Even the federal deficit, our biggest bogyman, is actually shrinking because the president managed to get a deficit-reduction plan through Congress.

There are still serious problems -- savings, investment and education -- but the record is clear.

Ultimately, the American people are fair and resist distortion. They realize that it took courage and vision to force the unpopular and politically explosive health-care reform onto center stage.

The North American Free Trade Agreement, abortion counseling, the Brady Bill and national service all represent difficult and divisive issues on which President Clinton has won solid victories.

Moreover, the crime bill is before the Congress. Even the devil deserves his due.

Let us remember that entertainment shouldn't be confused with analysis; opinions are not facts and perception isn't reality.

Roger C. Kostmayer

Baltimore

Abortion fairness

Is it fair to include abortion in the new health care plan when there are citizens who disagree or disapprove of abortion?

When 72 percent of the U.S. public support the right to abortion services, the democratic or fair answer is yes.

Anti-choice politicians want to bypass the majority and exclude abortion from the new health plan.

These politicians do not seek to serve the interests of their constituents but to push their personal or moral feelings on them.

Currently, 75 percent of fee-for-service health insurance and 70 percent of HMOs cover abortion services. Why should our new national health plan be any different?

A fair national health plan is one without partiality, prejudice or favoritism, especially considering that most of the 3.6 million unintended pregnancies each year occur to women below poverty level.

Without abortion coverage, we will only have risky delays due to financial difficulties, increases in the number of illegal abortions and more unwanted children.

Some people may disapprove of contraceptives, abortion or even blood transfusions, but that does not justify taking these health care services from every American.

It is not up to the politicians to decide what is moral, but to uphold what is fair, just and equitable.

Wendy Haw Warren

Baltimore

Protect the flag

Burning and desecrating our nation's symbol, the American flag, as a form of political protest protected by the Constitution under free expression should be rescinded.

The 1989 majority ruling by the Supreme Court does a disservice to all veterans and families who have lost loved ones fighting overseas to protect the principles our flag represents.

William Arwady

Baltimore

Empty nester

Elise Chisolm's empty nest, hollow home column was on the money ("As grandchild leaves, pangs return," July 19).

Recently, I sent my youngest off to a boarding high school and married off our oldest son, so her writing resonated familiar chords in my life.

And she left me with something very positive to reflect upon: "Love and concern for your child is a continuum."

Baltimore is fortunate to have such a talented journalist.

Brenda McNerland

Jacksonville, Fla.

Schmoke is right

Regarding your editorial on Mayor Kurt Schmoke and the Harrison's Pier 5 debacle ("Shortcut to embarrassment," July 29), of course the mayor has knowledge of and respect for "the orderly and formal control process" in handling city affairs.

Historically, however, these processes have closed out the very constituency this mayor is politically and philosophically pledged to include.

Because of his appropriate concern such missteps as the Harrison's episode may occur.

The Evening Sun would be more responsible if it included in its chastisement recognition of the various considerations motivating a resolute African-American mayor.

When the agenda is difficult, latitude in the style of governing must be granted to achieve equitable ends.

Right on, Mayor Schmoke. You will get it right.

It took generations to get it all wrong.

Jo Rogers Sloan

Baltimore

'Heil Hillary' sign brings Capitol cops

My father and I decided for the first time in our lives to actually demonstrate for something that we strongly believed in. As you know, Aug. 3 was the date of the final rally for the Health Care Express.

My father, age 59 and a veteran of the Korean War, and myself are small business owners opposed to both the Clinton plan and the Mitchell plan.

We both took the day off, had a sign made up to express our views, and headed off to the Capitol of the United States of America.

Our sign, which said, "Heil Hillary, Hon!," exposed our feelings exactly and identified us as coming from Baltimore.

Approximately 10 minutes later, five police officers approached my father and I (there were many other activists in our area) and instructed us to leave. We were quite stunned by this and vocally asked the officers about our First Amendment right to free speech.

We were told that if we continued to question their authority, "we would be dealt with" and for our own good we should "move on." Well, as we turned around, there were another five or six police officers instructing us to leave. "Or else."

My question is this:

Is it O.K. to burn an American Flag in public but not to carry a sign expressing my opinion about a matter that I feel is detrimental to our country as a whole?

I was so proud being in Washington, D.C. exercising my right as an American citizen. The mere sight of the Capitol and the Washington Monument gave my father and me goosebumps. Seriously, this is the truth.

I think people should know that if you agree with the present establishment, you are free to roam wherever you please.

If you disagree, you are threatened, followed, harassed, intimidated and told to leave.

Is this the way that American citizens are treated in 1994?

If so, I need to know, because I plan on applying to the Capitol police six months in advance for my permit to the next event.

Michael E. Sneeringer Jr.

Baltimore

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