Standing up for poor is good way to honor Martin Luther King
How do we honor Martin Luther King Jr.? Do we remember that he said, "The dispossessed of this nation -- the poor, both white and Negro -- live in a cruelly unjust society"?
Have we a better understanding of the imperatives of nonviolence, that we care for our sisters and brothers as we care for ourselves? Have we learned yet why this man with a doctorate died struggling to gain justice for garbage workers?
In our climate of political acrimony, when politicians cynically exploit our fears and divisiveness, has King's life's work been consigned to the perceptions of failed, misguided policies and rendered irrelevant?
If we don't stand up and take risks for the poor and working people, recognizing that what affects one directly affects all indirectly, he might as well not have lived -- and died.
Karl Smith, Salisbury
Musician shows creativity has no age, range limits
The Sun article by Carl Schoettler about 70-year-old Fells Point klezmer musician-singer-songwriter Jerry Lapides ("Unorthodox klezmer," Jan. 5), was an enjoyable study of an appealing person and an infectious form of folk music.
It's also a reminder that people quietly harbor serious artistic potential during their working years (in Mr. Lapides' case, 30 years as a social worker) and can be encouraged to demonstrate their abilities in retirement.
Indirectly, the article is telling us a wider spectrum of music to tune into always exists -- from Gregorian chants, Bach, pop, opera, blues, jazz, country and folk to our children's and our own spontaneous chants and musicality.
Sadly, it seems inevitable that one day science will offer sterile explanations for the impulse of people to create music. So a future Sun article might read something like this:
"Scientists claim that music is an evolutionary adaptation by humans to an internal clock -- ambient sound frequency synthesis that developed in tiny primitive sea creatures. Human adaptations include bilateral left-right brain memory platforms that can fuse sound intervals and pitch with sentiment."
But any scientific explanation of why Jerry Lapides started doing klezmer in his sixties may fall short because there may be none.
On the other hand, the idea that music is God's gift to all living creatures sounds appealing.
Donald Berger, Baltimore
Lesson from Hillary Clinton is not what girls need
Someone should write an article reflecting on the message our first lady has sent to the women of our country.
This great, educated woman can remain at the side of a husband who has had a continuous history of adultery and infidelity. Hillary Clinton's message has been to turn the other cheek, take it, smile and "stand by your man."
Where is the resilient, independent woman who came into our lives with the strong attitude needed to maintain the changing description of a woman's role.
Has she lost any sense of integrity; have principles escaped her?
Her chosen path has become pathetic and humiliating. Her example undermines how women have risen from obscurity to the equality, control and respect that women deserve.
I don't want my daughter to learn any part of this antiquated female role. I don't want my son to learn this degrading lesson, either.
Cynthia Helmey, Joppa
Strongest action available to punish for perjury
Having followed the proceedings of the U.S. House and Senate, I find that it is imperative that the strongest action available be taken against Mr. Clinton.
He should not be allowed to get away with lying under oath in the deposition in his civil proceeding and in testimony before the grand jury. He will have used his office to get away with perjury, a felony. I do not think that a person who can lie under oath, no matter what the circumstances, should hold the office of president.
The trivializing of his actions, the idea that it is personal and none of our business, diminishes the integrity of citizens who do not conduct themselves in a reckless, amoral life style.
If committing perjury is not an impeachable offense, we as a nation are signaling to the world the death of virtue, truthfulness and justice.
John P. Buchheister Jr., Hampstead
Seeing Hawthorne's lesson about American life today
Please let us hear more from Jamie Stiehm! ("Lessons from the Scarlet Letter," Jan. 7). I appreciate anyone who can see lessons about life in the literary classics.
Rena C. Kelly, Dundalk
'Scarlet Letter' analogy doesn't work for Clinton
Jamie Stiehm ("Lessons from the Scarlet Letter," Jan. 7) has either misread one of my favorite books or has misread the Clinton story.
True, Monica Lewinsky and Hester Prynne are "fallen women" who violate social and moral codes of behavior. But Ms. Lewinsky is no Hester Prynne, shunned by her community. We know too much about the Lewinsky-Clinton affair to see her as sympathetically as we view Hester, whom we meet after the birth of the child.
Bill Clinton as Arthur Dimmesdale doesn't work at all. Dimmesdale is distraught over the sins he's committed (adultery and hypocrisy). Mr. Clinton has so much trouble feigning regret for his sins (adultery and hypocrisy). Ms. Stiehm tells us that Clinton-haters "would like to see [Mr. Clinton] pay the political equivalent of the Puritan penalty for adultery: death." Then she says "the Puritan magistrates were merciful; they allowed Prynne to live" and suggests that the Senate "take a page from Hawthorne and show mercy on the president."
Remember, it was to Hester, not Dimmesdale whom the magistrates showed mercy. Hester lived, and became a valued member of the community in old age. Dimmesdale died as a result of his grief.
Ms. Stiehm's portrayal of Kenneth Starr as Roger Chillingworth, the cuckolded husband, doesn't work, either. Chillingworth's investigation is motivated by a desire for personal revenge. Mr. Starr is doing his job.
If Ms. Stiehm is looking for a literary figure who resembles Mr. Clinton, she should look at Sinclair Lewis' title character in the novel "Elmer Gantry."
Kay Wilson, Bel Air
Cut city's homicide rate by ridding streets of guns
In his Opinion Commentary article, "Zero-tolerance only way to cut homicide rate" (Jan. 12), Councilman Martin O'Malley neglected to mention the greatest cause of homicides -- guns. He must be aware that there is a way to cut the homicide rate that is much more effective than zero tolerance.
If we were to rid the streets of guns, we would have the lowest homicide rate in the nation. Perhaps the councilman would be willing to devote some of his energy toward this strategy.
Doreen Rosenthal, Baltimore
The writer is president of the Mount Royal Improvement Association.
Repay state highway fund before raising gas tax
With reference to Gov. Parris N. Glendening's decision to request an increase in the gasoline tax, I seem to remember that a number of years ago, a large sum of money was borrowed from this fund to run the state during a shortfall.
I wonder if this has ever been repaid? If not, the first order of business with the current excess would seem to be repaying the "loan" to the highway fund.
Tom Landerkin, Parkville
Glendening switched gears on taxes after the election
Before the elections, Gov. Parris N. Glendening waved the carrot of lower state taxes. After the election it is increased taxes.
Voters have short memories.
Marion Friedman, Baltimore
Pub Date: 1/15/99