Some GOP leaders are the descendants of racists of the past
Your editorial "GOP's gaffe" (Dec. 29) was on target.
Anyone who believes that such Southern, backwoods politicians as Mississippi Senators Trent Lott and Thad Cochrane and others of their ilk are not kissing cousins of racist individuals and organizations of the old South has been living on another planet for the last half century.
Those of us who pay attention to man's inhumanity to man, political and otherwise, view their denials as typical behavior of small men of even smaller minds who still dwell in the psychological swampland of racism.
What else should one reasonably expect from men who are, in a real sense, the political godsons of such racist former Mississippi senators as Theodore Bilbo, James Eastland and John Stennis?
Ironically, the collection of Southern gentlemen who dominated leadership positions of the 105th Congress label themselves Republicans.
While their predecessors paraded under the banner of Democrats, they were, in fact, Dixiecrats, who gave aid and comfort to devout racists.
Thirty-five years ago, A. Philip Randolph, founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters Union, offered a prophetic description of that unholy alliance:
"Look for the enemies of Medicare, minimum wage, Social Security, federal aid to education and equal opportunity, and you'll find enemies of Black Americans: the coalition of Dixiecrats and reactionary Republicans, who seek to dominate Congress."
Cliches aside, it does seem that the more things change, the more they remain the same.
George W. Collins Baltimore
I was outraged by your editorial "GOP's gaffe." Your editorial said that the move by the Republican majority to elect Rep. J. C. Watts of Oklahoma to a leadership position was not taken seriously because it was criticized as an affirmative action selection.
Mr. Watts has been an outspoken proponent of the values and ideals that the Republican Party attempts to promote and is deserving of his new leadership position. It is shameful for you and your staff to try to minimize his achievements because you believe that other agendas are at work in the Republican Party. The fact is that the Republican Party recognizes the achievements of its supporters and promotes them because of their efforts.
In Maryland, the Republican Party continues to reach out to all its citizens with the same message of values and ideals. The recent election of Michael Steele as vice chairman of the Maryland Republican Party is an example of the state party giving recognition for advocating that message. It just happens to be that Mr. Steele is an African-American. While you and your staff may disagree with the Republican message, you cannot deny Mr. Steele's efforts to advance it.
On the other hand, the Democratic Party continues to tailor its message for expediency and short-term gain. At what cost?
Allen J. Furth Annapolis
Your editorial "GOP's gaffe" was right on the mark. (Or should I say the far right?) It is beyond belief when such notable Republican politicians as Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia, Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi and Mississippi Gov. Kirk Fordice feign ignorance of the nature of an organization they publicly address. In this case, the group in question was the Council of Conservative Citizens, which has ties to the Ku Klux Klan and other racist organizations.
As you justly state, these prominent officials have ample staffs to investigate groups that request their appearances and support.
These politicians should take off their white hoods so that the American people can see who they truly are.
David Bavaria Baltimore
Olympian can't appreciate plight of poor adult smokers
Olympic gold medalist skater Tara Lipinski spoke out in Baltimore against teenage smoking ("Stay clear of cigarettes, Lipinski urges teen-agers," Dec. 30). She endorsed increasing the tobacco tax so that fewer teen-agers would be able to afford to buy cigarettes.
Well, that tax would apply to poor working adults as well. It doesn't matter to poor little rich girl Tara Lipinski if poor adults are deprived of a simple pleasure if they cannot afford it.
Philip A. Thayer Baltimore
City hepatitis vaccinations have been ignored by Sun
I read with great interest the brief article "Pilot project boosts hepatitis B vaccine" (Dec. 21) highlighting a hepatitis B pilot immunization program in Kansas City, Mo.
The state of Missouri and six cities across the nation are finally putting together programs to immunize school-age children against hepatitis B.
I say "finally" because Baltimore has had a similar program to immunize fourth- and fifth-graders against hepatitis B for the last four years. This program has provided more than 14,000 shots to almost 5,000 schoolchildren, right here in our own city.
I was disappointed, however, that Kansas City received this attention while efforts here in Baltimore have gone unnoticed. Baltimore leads the country in immunization successes with several novel and innovative programs designed to improve compliance. Not only have we worked together with our city schools to bring up levels of immunization coverage to near perfection, but we currently rank second in the nation for immunization compliance in preschool children.
In addition, the Baltimore City Health Department is developing an immunization registry called Baltimore's Immunization Registry Program (BIRP) and is working with the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program to develop an immunization screening program.
I encourage reporting about innovative programs around the country, but readers always want to know how it impacts them locally. Shift the focus, and let people know that when it comes to immunization, Baltimore leads the way.
Dr. Andrew Bernstein Baltimore
The writer is chief of the Baltimore City Health Department's Bureau of Immunization.
Parkville High Knights marched for county, state
Congratulations to the Marching Knights of Parkville High for their participation in this year's Gator Bowl. This outstanding and entertaining marching band proudly represented Baltimore County and the state of Maryland in Jacksonville, Fla., on New Year's Day.
The Knights participated in several Gator Bowl events, including the Gator Bowl Parade and the pregame and halftime performances. The band, consisting of more than 200 talented and dedicated young musicians, has practiced long and hard since July toward making this major event a success.
Steve Stankiewicz Carney
Sun changed for the better with heartwarming stories
After reading daily throughout the year about Clinton-Lewinsky, murders and the sad state of Baltimore, I must congratulate The Sun for its Dec. 30 issue.
Two heartwarming stories, one on the front page, "Long lost to streets, but never forgotten," the second on the front of the Sports section, "He's already a champion."
Both stories were uplifting, especially for the African-American community.
Sidney H. Tanner Baltimore
Clinton has been treated worse than other citizens
In the letter to the editor "We would lower standards by not trying president" (Dec. 29), the writer says, "It would be ludicrous not to bring our president to trial for breaking laws" because "presidents must be held to at least as high a standard as any person in the land."
To make the treatment of any person in the United States equal with what the president has withstood this year, taxpayers would have to devote tens of millions of dollars on an investigation that searches the life of a citizen for some embarrassing lapse of behavior.
The citizen would be called in front of a grand jury to be questioned in mind-boggling detail. Grand jury testimony would not be kept secret, and transcripts would be published on the Internet, where they could be picked up, manipulated, altered, edited and republished in exciting, titillating, short-attention-span bits.
Television, news magazines and newspapers would report every detail.
Edna E. Heatherington Baltimore
To our readers
The Sun welcomes letters from readers. They should be no longer than 200 words and should include the name and address of the writer, along with day and evening telephone numbers.
Send letters to Letters to the Editor, The Sun, P.O. Box 1377, Baltimore 21278-0001. Our fax number for letters is 410-332-6977. The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
All letters are subject to editing.
Pub Date: 1/07/99