George W. Bush: compassionate or just hypocritical?I...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

George W. Bush: compassionate or just hypocritical?

I am interested in whether Texas Gov. George W. Bush used illegal drugs, not because I believe his past use impacts his ability to manage the country today, but because I wish to know if he is simply another "do as I say, not as I do" two-faced politician ("George W. Bush -- Did he or didn't he?" Aug. 25).

The drug war, enormously costly and ineffective, is kept alive by politicians who have so convinced American voters of its necessity that almost every politician touts a failed "get tough" policy.

Mr. Bush's comments suggest that he may have used cocaine but built a career in politics espousing the punishment of people for doing what he may have done.

If Mr. Bush used cocaine or any other illegal drug, it would be fitting -- and consistent with the morality of his leadership -- if he interrupted his run for the presidency to serve the appropriate jail term.

I admire New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who admitted his own college use of marijuana and cocaine, for honestly acknowledging that he was lucky he wasn't caught and for advocating change in our Draconian federal laws on drug use and abuse.

Had either politician been caught using drugs in their youth, and punished under the laws we have today, the lifelong damage that would have been done to their promising careers is obvious.

Thomas E. Dolan, Baltimore

Hypocrisy is never pretty. While Democrats have had their share, the past few years have been particularly bad for Republicans: Representatives Bob Barr, Henry Hyde, Robert Livingston, Dan Burton and Newt Gingrich have revealed themselves to be leaders with feet of clay.

Now Texas Gov. George W. Bush apparently wants immunity from judgment on his possible drug use, while he continues to sit in judgment of others.

Mr. Bush has supported Draconian criminal drug laws that have destroyed the lives of thousands of Texans.

The time has now come for him to say clearly whether drug use and possession are so dangerous as to warrant these punishments.

If he answers "yes" these are dangerous felonies, Mr. Bush should then be asked why there should not be an exploration of his possible drug use and possession many years ago?

If he answers "no," Mr. Bush should be asked why he is now supportive of such disproportionate punishments?

It is time someone asks these questions. It is time Governor Bush answers.

It is time we learned whether he is a compassionate conservative -- or just another hypocritical one.

Stanley L. Rodbell, Columbia

Texas Gov. George W. Bush was not caught using drugs, not charged, not convicted -- and was therefore able to mature normally out of his "youthful indiscretions."

But when he signed into law a severe penalty for possessing under 1 gram of cocaine, he made it impossible for thousands of others to do the same.

If he could mature out of his indiscretions, why does Mr. Bush deny the same chance to others?

Mr. Bush's support for the war on drugs defines his hypocrisy.

Kevin Fansler, Havre de Grace

No response will quell media's feeding frenzy

The media have a purely commercial interest in pursuing past drug and sex episodes of politicians: Dirt sells.

It resolves nothing for a high-profile candidate to respond to such questions honestly.

The media will use his or her admission as a basis to scramble for more dirt.

It will use a denial as a challenge to find something to impeach the denial.

The only way someone campaigning for office can deal with this unrelenting harassment is to insist on not responding to anything irrelevant to his or her current capacity to serve the public.

If the media continues to harass the candidate for a response, I hope the voting public will see this muckraking for what it is.

Grant Sheehan, Westminster

Now, if Bush used drugs with an intern . . .

The Sun's editorial concerning Texas Gov. George W. Bush's possible use of drugs was right about a president's obligation to be an example for all Americans, especially our youth ("George W. Bush -- Did he or didn't he?" Aug. 25).

If Mr. Bush becomes president, he should be driven from office if it is discovered that he shared illegal drugs with an intern -- and lied to the nation for six months about his "inappropriate behavior."

And if he ever looks into the camera, wags his finger at me and scolds those who would accuse him of such behavior, then I'd really be upset.

Frank Harbin, Parkville

City should share income from productions it hosts

The Fells Point community wants the complex that was used as the set for "Homicide" to revert to its prior use. The city says there may not be funds to make this happen ("Residents from a panel for Fells Point pier plan," Aug. 25).

Why can't the city of Baltimore collect royalty fees to help fund the complex's conversion to a community center?

What material benefit does the city receive from the television and movie production companies that work here?

I'd like to see the city participate in their ongoing residual income.

Robert E. Greene, Bel Air

Warm and cuddly cats preferred to columnist

To hate cats is one's prerogative, but to be so insensitive about it in a public newspaper reveals a lack of character and human kindness ("Keeping a tight rein on cats," Aug. 19).

Cats harm no one unless cornered and frightened; they help with the rodent problem and are very cuddly and lovable -- unlike some humans.

Jean Pinsch, Baltimore

The only annoying animal who should be on a leash is Kevin Cowherd.

Mary Bahr, Pikesville

What about reparations for victims of slavery?

A high-powered delegation of U.S. government and Jewish officials went to Germany to negotiate billions of dollars in compensation for Jews forced into slave labor by the Nazis ("Redress sought in Nazi-era labor," Aug. 23).

Millions of Africans were enslaved in America and Europe for hundreds of years and millions more died on the trans-Atlantic journey. No reparations have been paid to anybody.

Many American companies and families made their fortune during the era of slavery. They are not paying compensation to the descendants of slaves.

It is shame that taxpayers' money is being spent on this trip to Germany and African leaders in diaspora are not saying a word.

Mohammed Edozie, Baltimore

Roadside markers bring state's history to life

I enjoyed the article on Maryland's historical markers ("Driven to get state history on road again," Aug. 23). Cecil Boblitz should be commended for restoring these signs so that future generations will have the pleasure of reading them.

For readers interested in learning more about these markers of Maryland History may I suggest the book, "The Complete Guide to Maryland Historical Markers," written by Joe Swisher with photography by Roger Miller.

Mr. Swisher's book contains the text of all current roadside markers, as well as those that have been lost or are missing. Roger Miller's photos of Maryland's landscape are an added bonus.

Mark Schlottman, Aberdeen

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