November elections should not matter in impeachment...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

November elections should not matter in impeachment vote

Your article "Vote may be costly for some" (Dec. 7) implied that Republican members of Congress would suffer a backlash if they voted on the facts of the case against the president, and for this reason, some Republicans are less likely to vote for impeachment if it means imperiling their political careers.

This accusation was not, however, applied to Democratic members of Congress who intend to vote for impeachment.

This article would have been more credible if the writer had given some evidence that this is true. For the majority of voters, the outcome of the Nov. 3 elections have very little to do with the impeachment proceedings. And given the short attention span of the voting public, it will have even less importance in the 2000 elections.

The most important message that came out of that article was the integrity of U.S. Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. of Baltimore County. His carefully thought-out analysis of the evidence against the president and his reasoned conclusion for voting for impeachment was irrefutable. In contrast, Rep. Constance A. Morella's reasoning for leaning against impeachment sounded very shallow.

I applaud Mr. Ehrlich's courage. His constituents should be very proud to be represented by a man who respects the rule of law.

Alice J. Tates

Baltimore

Gingrich as the fall guy for impeachment push

Watching Congress in recent days, I've got to wonder if Newt Gingrich didn't fall on the sword for his puppeteer.

Howard Gelzhiser

Catonsville

Congress' focus on scandal interferes with real work

I have watched this past year as our country has been transfixed upon the spectacle of the Clinton-Lewinsky affair. I am disheartened by what I have seen. Our country is spending too much time, energy and money on a matter that has very little significance to our future.

Most Americans are concerned about education, Social Security and crime and what Washington is going to do about these issues. Citizens should contact their elected representatives in Washington and tell them to get on with the work that we sent them to do.

Ed Hershon

Reisterstown

Starr-like effort was needed for Iran-contra scandal

I read with amusement the letters to the editor ("'If I lied under oath, I would be punished; President Clinton should be, too,' " Dec. 5). The writers expressed outrage over what they saw as a president escaping punishment. One writer even lamented "lying Democrats" and "punished Republicans." Give me a break.

This so-called scandal is nothing more than Kenneth Starr and his sex police doing what these right-wingers would deplore in an instant if it were aimed at one of their own. He has exceeded the authority of his position and invaded a citizen's private life. He has done this in a vain attempt to unconstitutionally remove a sitting president.

If these hand-wringers want a real scandal, they need look no further than to one of their own. No, not Richard Nixon and Watergate. I mean the president who oversaw the illegal sale of arms to a terrorist nation, who thwarted the will of Congress, who lied through his minions to this same Congress, who violated the separation of powers enumerated in the Constitution and who helped arm right-wing insurgents to cause the deaths of countless innocent people.

This president not only escaped accountability for his actions; an airport was named after him. Where was Kenneth Starr when we needed him?

Joe Devereaux

Havre de Grace

Will's column on Pinochet poorly thought-out jumble

Has George Will lost his mind? His commentary (Dec. 10) on allowing General Augusto Pinochet to return to Chile would be offensive if it made any sense. If the headline hadn't given it away, I would have a hard time deducing from the text whether he is opposed to or in favor of prosecuting the general.

Instead of proposing a point and developing an argument in its defense, Mr. Will strings together sentence fragments, empty epithets and non sequiturs until he has hit on all his pet peeves and filled his allotted space. Should we be impressed that he can make reference to Hitler's election, the Dow Jones average and Tiananmen Square in successive paragraphs? Only if it makes sense.

Among the many inconsistencies in logic and misrepresentations history, consider just the fact that Mr. Will wants to respect Chile's "democratic government" when it comes to Mr. Pinochet's amnesty but not when it involved the election of Salvador Allende.

I suspect that if George Will's name had not been attached, you would not have printed such a poorly thought-out, meandering jumble. Surely you can find a better use for this space, a better writer for your commentaries, a better student of history for your paper.

Ian Hurd

Baltimore

Nonstop toll taking welcome in Maryland

I think the article "High-tech toll takers to make area debut" (Dec. 9) stated a good idea, and I'm glad Maryland is getting this technology. I think this will reduce traffic backups. Maryland has the Chesapeake Bay with lots of bridges and tunnels to cross.

When I go to New York, it makes life a lot easier not to stop at tolls.

Gordon Naumburg

Columbia

Higher education needs more religion

Michael Hill gives an incomplete and therefore misleading picture of the religious resources available to many university students ("Religion finds a place on secular campuses," Nov. 30).

James Burchard's recent book, "The Dying of the Light," tells how even those colleges and universities that were founded by churches have slowly reduced religion courses. So if the Johns Hopkins area has a few new spots that are hospitable to religious practice and study, it is better for it, and so are the students who might frequent them.

Most private universities and colleges have continued to offer some opportunities for a religious life on or near campus. State-supported campuses are the most arid environments for religious faith.

The University of Maryland, College Park is a good example. Despite its pretensions of international learning and culture, it offers almost no courses where a student could learn something about the other religions of the world such as Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Confucianism.

In a recent catalog, only a philosophy course, "God and the Cosmos," is listed -- though not offered often -- and there is a course in Dante, in the Italian department, on the beliefs of major religions.

There is much to learn about the doctrines and history of one's own faith and the faiths held by others.

Lou Liljedahl

Silver Spring

Link between abortions, contraception is not proved

In the story "Abortions increase slightly in U.S. after years of decline" (Dec. 4 ), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention implies that the decline in abortions in the United States from 1.4 million in 1990 to 1.2 million in 1995 is partly because of "changes in contraceptive practices, such as the increased use of condoms and the use of long-lasting methods such as Norplant and Depo-Provera."

If contraception really reduces abortion rates, the article fails to explain why abortions rose in many states last year, presumably along with the contraception rate.

We might also ponder the effect that promiscuity and contraception use have had on how we look at life. When we see intercourse as merely hedonistic pleasure rather than a fulfillment of perfect love and procreation in the context of marriage, we divorce the notion of life from the act of intercourse. Unexpected pregnancy becomes an evil intrusion, not a gift.

There must continue to be a growing sentiment in this country that abortion is the killing of a human being, that it is an practice that ought to be removed from any civilized society. If we are content to spend so much time, energy and money touting the benefits of condoms, might we spend just a fraction of it touting the benefits of innocent human life?

Ashley K. Fernandes

Baltimore

Pub Date: 12/14/98

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