Women heroes deserve betterAs this nation celebrates...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Women heroes deserve better

As this nation celebrates the 75th anniversary of women's right to vote, the good old boys in Congress, including Newt Gingrich, reveal their true attitudes toward women by exercising their power to confine the suffrage monument to the dark, gloomy ground floor of the Capitol.

The 1920 statue by artist Adelaide Johnson of Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton remains buried in the crypt while statues of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Martin Luther King Jr. adorn the prestigious rotunda above.

Anthony, Mott and Stanton risked imprisonment, death and financial ruin in the fight to obtain the right to vote for women. By insisting that the suffrage monument remain in the dungeon of the Capitol, Congress is sinking to a new low.

Although the present placement of this statue is despicable, it is not surprising when history is openly inspected.

In 1776, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband, John, in Philadelphia as he gathered with the good old boys of his time to draw up the Declaration of Independence.

She asked him to please consider "the ladies" when drafting the blueprint for a revolutionary new democratic society. He wrote back, telling her he had to laugh at her request. He explained that if he gave women rights, Negro slaves, Indians and indentured apprentices would also want them. He went on to make the age-old argument that society would crumble if anyone other than white men had rights protected by the law.

Ninety years later, in 1866, the 14th Amendment was passed, giving the right to vote to black men. The word "male" was introduced into the Constitution for the first time. It seems the good old boys of that era decided to let other good old boys into the club, but not women of any race. It wasn't until 1920, 54 additional years later, that women received the same privilege. That's 144 years of taxation without representation for women in the world's finest democracy.

Only the good old boys of the present Congress have the power to move the statue of Anthony, Mott and Stanton out of the basement and up to the rotunda level with the statues of #F Washington, Lincoln and King. King's statue, by the way, was placed in its current position after being moved from a previous location near the women's statue.

After 74 years in the crypt, it is time for the suffrage monument and the dedicated women it represents to be assigned a place of honor in the rotunda.

If the good old boys choose instead the status quo, women, thanks to the efforts of Anthony, Mott and Stanton, can and will vote them out of a job.

Elizabeth Larrivee

Ellicott City

Hard life

While it is tempting to allege that during her two-and-a-half-year legal battle to gain admission to The Citadel, Shannon Faulkner lost sight of the heavy demands military training actually exacts, it is important to put her resignation from that institution in context.

At least 30 other entering cadets could not withstand the rigors ++ of "hell week" and also resigned.

Although the arithmetic of the situation -- 100 percent of the female cadets resigned whereas a much smaller percentage of male cadets quit -- makes Ms. Faulkner's decision much more dramatic than those of her fellow cadets, it is testimony to the fact that she could not "cut it" at The Citadel not because she was a woman but because she, like many other humans, could not adjust to the military life.

Rachel Chico

Randallstown

Teacher pensions

A decade ago, legislators made major changes in the retirement system for teachers. As a result, Maryland teachers today receive a pension among the lowest in the nation, according to a U.S. government survey.

In the past, a teacher with 30 years of experience could retire and receive a pension of $21,000 a year, based upon an average final salary of $40,000. Today, that teacher would receive a pension of only $12,000.

Furthermore, those teachers who retired in the old system before changes were made, have an unlimited cost of living adjustment (COLA) compounded annually. Those retiring in the new system are limited to a COLA of three per cent per year and the increase is limited to the first year's payment and is not compounded.

I do not condemn the state leaders for making changes which were necessary to protect the fiscal health of Maryland. I am convinced, however, that the cuts were too severe. Restoration of some retirement benefits is necessary to support Maryland's teachers.

I recommend that the governor and the legislature give to teachers in the new pension system a COLA tied to the cost of living, compounded as in the old system.

This would not raise teachers's pensions sufficiently to remove them from the nation's cellar, but with a decent COLA we can provide some incentive for Maryland teachers to continue to serve our children.

Allen Kershman

Baltimore

Don't blame mom

I am writing in regard to Mary Harris, the lady who was sentenced to one day in jail and several hours of community service because of her son's chronic truancy from school. It is totally unfair and unjustified for this lady to have to go through this because of that lazy boy's truancy. I feel sure that, like any other good mother, she has tried to raise her children properly and puts a certain amount of trust in them when she sends them off to school each day.

If this boy has been so uncontrollable and doesn't seem to have enough honor and respect for his mother and doesn't want to obey, then he should have to spend time in a juvenile detention center equal to the many days he has missed from school. His only activity there should be to study all lessons missed during his truancy.

Such a sentence, in my opinion, should never have fallen on his mother. Jails and prisons are for murderers, rapists, robbers, stalkers, abusers and the like. Why are so many of them put out on parole only to repeat their crimes and keep the public living in fear? Something must be done to change some of these laws.

June L. Hardy

Baltimore

Perpetual care

It is typical of the times that families of those buried in Mt. Auburn Cemetery are shocked at its condition.

Had they been interested at all, they would have visited their graves at least four or five times a year and assisted in keeping their lots in good repair, mowing, planting, etc.

They could adopt a grave or two that has no one left to care for it. The money donated can't mow. They can.

Our little country church graveyard now has regular care, but for more than 100 years it did not. Every family did its share and still does.

It is a joy to visit. There are five generations of us there and along with other old timers we love our dead.

The shame is the living's, not the city's.

J. Griffin

Bel Air

NASCAR fan

Maryland has finally taken a step in the right direction by raising the speed limit on portions of some interstates to 65 mph.

Let's hope the decision to increase speed continues in Essex, the proposed site for the state's first NASCAR speedway.

Believe me, there is no better way to give Maryland an immediate economical boost. NASCAR race fans would come from all over the United States, spending lots of money while watching professional drivers do 180 mph on the proposed two-mile track.

The fact is that NASCAR racing is the most exciting and fastest growing sport in the United States today and I know there are thousands of race fans in Maryland who would love to see this speedway become a reality real soon.

I'm one of them.

Jimmy Hunt

Catonsville

Cal's day

President Clinton should stay home on Sept. 6. This is Cal Ripken Day and Baltimore Orioles Fans Day.

Mr. Clinton's attendance would detract from the spotlight which should rightly be on one man, Cal Ripken.

Think of the impact of Mr. Clinton at the game. Traffic tied up because of security. Security in and out of the game. Security in the ballpark.

TV cameras on Clinton instead of Ripken. Hot dog vendors frisked. Everyone obligated to wear a tie. Newt Gingrich popping up out of the dugout.

Stay home, Mr. President, and watch the game on TV.

He can get his exposure later with a congratulatory phone call to Ripken and an invitation to the White House. Leave Sept. 6 to Ripken and his fans.

B. J. Proskey

Elkridge

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