Negative image ignores reality of active elders

The Sun's series "Dancing in the Twilight" (Feb. 15-Feb. 20) left a poor taste in my mouth.


Its negative emphasis, focusing on decline, frailty, loneliness and desperation, overshadows the positive side of aging -- the active, involved older adult who has the opportunity to make a contribution to society by working, volunteering, learning, traveling, playing and enjoying his or her latter years in a positive atmosphere.

These articles do a disservice to all of us. They portray a stereotype of old age that is no longer true or acceptable as a model in our society.


The elderly are not all rocking in their chairs contemplating their illnesses. They are exercising, jogging, playing tennis, studying, writing, creating, painting, socializing and taking advantage of life's riches.

Aging is inevitable; illness and decline are not. Aging is not to be feared but embraced as an opportunity to fulfill another chapter offered in the course of life.

Helen Bronstein


The writer is director of the Catonsville Senior Center.

Without a doubt, the series "Dancing in the Twilight" by Ellen Gamerman was the most depressing of its kind I have ever read.

My husband and I both are in our 70s, and we belong to several senior organizations. This article certainly does not represent the majority of our senior friends who are outgoing, happy, energetic and looking forward to each day.

I hope young people who read Ms. Gamerman's article will come to visit the many wonderful senior centers in the Baltimore area so that they may see the more positive side of aging.


Jeanne Keighley


Let's raise a glass to all senior citizens

I would wager that Ellen Gamerman would see a glass of water as half-empty. I have never read more depressing articles about aging ("Dancing in the Twilight," Feb. 15- Feb. 20). If I were 50 years old, I would think about growing older with dread, but I am 75 and I never have.

My husband and I have been happily married for 55 years, and we have friends in the same age group.

Let me tell you about us. We all reside in our own homes and enjoy our children and grandchildren. We like to travel, dine out, dance, read, garden, do crossword puzzles and exercise. Above all, we laugh, especially at ourselves.


We have experienced hardship, disappointment, pain and grief, and are aware that we will continue to do so. But that is a part of life that I believe is not just confined to senior citizens.

I am certain that there are residents of Leisure World who lead fulfilling lives, but true to the media code, Ms. Gamerman chose only to present the downside of aging.

But I raise my "half-full" glass in a toast to all senior citizens, frail or healthy, rich or poor. We have persevered and survived and have memories that have lasted a lifetime.

Martha Kellner Haas


Nothing shocking in another tax hike


I don't see how people could be shocked by what amounts to a tax increase or shocked that they could be forced off their property by the same tax increase ("Shock of reassess- ment draws mixed reaction," Feb. 19).

The democratic government of Maryland has a long history of slowly depriving its citizens of their money (through ever-increasing taxes), their liberties and their property -- just ask a farmer or a waterman.

All I can suggest is that people vote carefully in the coming elections. And remember that the government that takes from your neighbors today will take from you tomorrow.

Russell Reed


Voiding Stokes case upholds his conduct


The courts amaze me ("Stokes gun case voided," Feb. 19). How can they just take away a criminal count?

Dontee Stokes had a gun and shot a person. I am not saying Mr. Stokes wasn't wronged, but let's get real.

To say he has done nothing wrong is to say what he did was right.

Dwain Wolf


Ignoring good news coming from Iraq


I would like to commend David Folkenflik for his column "In Iraq, going for the upbeat" (Feb. 18).

There is much positive information from Iraq, but often one would not know that from reading The Sun.

Why doesn't The Sun be more fair and report a balanced picture of the news?

Joan Cohen


U.N. becomes fig leaf for ruining of Iraq


In one of the more cynical manipulations that are characteristic of the Bush administration, the United Nations has been cajoled into going into Iraq to confirm the obvious fact that elections, which President Bush did not want anyway, are now impractical in the midst of the destruction and chaos that he created there ("Ceding Iraq, keeping troops," Feb. 20).

Thus, the neoconservatives surrounding Mr. Bush have used an organization they clearly despise to justify their future course of action.

Unfortunately for them, however, their handpicked Iraqi Governing Council is showing signs that it might not dance to their tune.

But one wonders what, if anything, can save that tortured country now.

Edward Leslie Ansel

Owings Mills


Reinvest the salaries of CEOs in local jobs

Steve Chapman's lecture on economic cycles notwithstanding ("Nothing to fear from outsourcing," Opinion * Commentary, Feb. 20), not all outsourcing consists of unskilled jobs. High-level computer and manufacturing positions have been outsourced to improve competition in the global marketplace.

I suggest that the huge salaries of top executives be reinvested in their companies. This would improve the bottom line and increase resources for research and development.

Competitive standing would improve, and jobs would be retained in local communities.

Nancy C. Connell

Severna Park


Bailing out schools won't cure their woes

The Baltimore public school crisis highlights only the financial dimension of a clearly dysfunctional educational system that continues to rob most of the city's children of any hope of achieving a reasonable standard of living as adults ("Why debt at schools ballooned unnoticed," Feb. 22).

To merely bail out the system truly would be an irresponsible act and an affront to all of the state's taxpayers as well as to the unfortunate children trapped in the city's public schools.

The governor should acknowledge that the system is "bankrupt" and give each city child a voucher with which to purchase a competitively provided education.

Every Baltimore child would be enriched in a way not otherwise possible, and the city would become one of the best places in America for the poor and middle class to raise their families.

G. Edward Dickey