The Baltimore Sun

Advocates of change ignore howls from right

The Baltimore Sun's "sound off" feature on Feb. 10 quoted Grover Norquist as saying, "People who want to reinvent new ways of looking at the world every 45 minutes hate the idea that some things are always true, like gravity."

Those of us who aren't afraid of change might respond: "Those who want the world to stay the same hate the idea that human beings can create new possibilities, like overcoming gravity to explore space."

Mr. Norquist, using a well-worn trope of conservative rhetoric, likens his doctrines to natural laws in order to forestall criticism of his core beliefs.

But why did the first six years of the recent Bush administration, during which conservatives implemented their every whim, bring our nation to the brink of collapse? Not simply because of any particular policy decision but because of the fundamental beliefs on which conservatives base their policy decisions.

But is it really true, as conservatives often argue, that government is just a parasite that must be eliminated so that individuals can pursue their personal advantage without impediments? Is it really impossible to change the status quo and make the world better than it has been?

In the last election, a solid majority of Americans replied "no."

We don't have to put up with an unjust economic system; we don't have to put up with a government that refuses to promote the common welfare; we don't have to put up with a deranged society that threatens to destroy life on earth for the sake of power and profit.

We made the world this way, and we can change it. But to do so, we will have to ignore the Norquists among us who, in their heart of hearts, believe that nothing will ever change.

We will have to do things they cannot imagine. And it goes without saying that those things will have to be done against their will.

Let us hope that the Obama administration has the fortitude to re-create the nation despite the howls of conservatives.

William Pastille, Arnold

Terrorists block the path to peace

In the subheading of the editorial "Israeli duel" (Feb. 12) The Baltimore Sun wrote: "Our view: Prospects for peace depend on who gets the nod to form new government."

That's wrong. Peace will only be possible if Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and various other terror groups determine that they will stop shooting rockets into Israel and agree to a two-state solution.

Indeed, on Friday, even as it was still uncertain who would serve as Israel's next prime minister, two Qassam rockets were launched by terrorists from Gaza, one striking the Sderot area and one the Eshkol area in Israel; they were the 40th such rocket attacks since mid-January's cease-fire.

Peace can move forward after the people who launch the rockets stop doing so.

Irwin E. Weiss, Baltimore

Ban a neurotoxin dangerous to kids

The General Assembly should pass Del. James W. Hubbard and state Sen. Mike Lenett's bills to ban a powerful neurotoxin found in many televisions and couches.

The toxic chemical flame retardant known as Deca-BDE threatens children's ability to learn and memorize. Research also links it to behavioral problems such as hyperactivity.

Sony, Apple and Ikea are just a few companies that no longer use Deca as a result of its health risks. However, some companies continue to sell consumers their toxic-laden products.

Maryland has been a leader in reducing our exposure to another neurotoxin - lead.

We should not pick and choose which hazardous chemicals to keep away from our children.

Let's remain consistent and pass the House and Senate bills to ban Deca.

Fielding Huseth, Baltimore

The writer is a policy advocate for the Maryland Public Interest Research Group.

Annexing the capital would add to burden

Maryland already has Baltimore. And the state is struggling to balance its budget or live within its means now.

Can you begin to imagine what a burden adding Washington, D.C., to the state would add to an already overtaxed population and businesses ("Bring D.C. back into Maryland," Commentary, Feb. 11)?

F. P. Cordell, Lutherville

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